WHERE DREAMS DESCEND, by Janella Angeles, Wednesday Books, Aug. 25, 2020, $18.99 (ages 14 and up)
Magicians take center stage in Janella Angeles’ Where Dreams Descend.
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
—Synopsis provided by Wednesday Books
Where Dreams Descend is an exhausting read, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Author Janella Angeles has mastered the art of pacing. She expertly builds tension to the breaking point and then starts all over again. This cycle takes more out of you as a reader than you would think, creating the need to close the cover, stretch, walk away, and then come running back.
Janella’s book is being heralded as a Phantom of the Opera reimagining, but that feels like a bit of a stretch. It’s clear from the beginning that Where Dreams Descend is Janella, and that she is 100 percent invested.
And Kallia is the type of character that readers will want to 100 percent invest in. She’s smart. She’s strong. She thinks on her feet. And she cares little for societal norms.
Where Dreams Descend is the first book in the planned Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology. And while I’m sure there’s much more to the planned story arch, part of me really wishes this had been a standalone novel. After building toward the final climax for so long, the ending instead falls a little flat. I probably will feel differently when the next book comes out, but until then, I’m left wishing for something a little bit more.
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