Wednesday, September 2, 2020

Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles: Magic, Mystery, and Manipulation

Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles
Published: August 25th, 2020

Publisher: Wednesday Books

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

# of pages: 464

My rating: 4 stars

Acquired this book: From Netgalley in exchange for honest consideration

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Buy: Amazon Canada || Amazon US || Indigo

In a city covered in ice and ruin, a group of magicians face off in a daring game of magical feats to find the next headliner of the Conquering Circus, only to find themselves under the threat of an unseen danger striking behind the scenes.


As each act becomes more and more risky and the number of missing magicians piles up, three are forced to reckon with their secrets before the darkness comes for them next.


The Star: Kallia, a powerful showgirl out to prove she’s the best no matter the cost


The Master: Jack, the enigmatic keeper of the club, and more than one lie told


The Magician: Demarco, the brooding judge with a dark past he can no longer hide




What a ride this book was! Beautiful writing, incredible imagery, a captivating premise, enchanting characters, and plenty of magic and intrigue. 


In a world of magic - some born, some learned - Kallia is a powerful magic-wielder working as a showgirl in a magical club. Jack is the host - or the master - of the club, and he keeps Kallia close. The chemistry between Kallia and Jack was sizzling, but we were left to wonder about the relationship and their history. The club and Jack himself swirled with mystery, magic, and manipulation; the first few chapters of the book were lush and set the tone nicely. 


Kallia wants more from life than to repeat the same show every night in the master’s club. She wants to use her magic in a bigger, bolder way, and she wants to see what life is like beyond the gates that have become a prison for her. When she makes her escape to join a magic competition, her life changes in many ways and, for the first time ever, she’s free to do what she wants. There are obstacles to overcome, though: the competition is being judged by what’s essentially a good ol’ boys club - no girls allowed. Kallia constantly has to prove herself, even though she’s clearly the most talented magician any of them has ever seen. But she’s a girl - gasp! - so she must be fragile and weak, or intent on seduction because what else are girls good for? The only one who sees her as something more is Daron Demarco, a famous magician who left the magic scene two years ago after a tragic accident. There’s a lot of animosity between these two that slowly turns to an alliance, then friendship, then something more. 


What kept me from fully loving this book was the fact I found it a bit hard to keep up at times. There was so much happening, so much mystery, so many secrets, and also so many characters. Other than Demarco, I couldn’t keep any of the judges straight, and I had trouble keeping the circus performers straight too. I also feel like there were too many questions left unanswered. I read that this is slated to be a duology, but it would have been nice to have a few more loose ends tied up, especially because I know I’ll have forgotten a lot of things by the time the second book comes out.


Where Dreams Descend is a strong start to what’s sure to be an incredible, memorable duology.

Have you read Where Dreams Descend? What are some of your favourite books that involve magic?

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