Sep 9, 2022

TBONA BLOG TOUR: ARC Review--The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber


The fiercely-anticipated sequel to the #1 New York Times bestseller Once Upon a Broken Heart, starring Evangeline Fox and the Prince of Hearts on a new journey of magic, mystery, and heartbreak.

Not every love is meant to be.

After Jacks, the Prince of Hearts, betrays her, Evangeline Fox swears she'll never trust him again. Now that she’s discovered her own magic, Evangeline believes she can use it to restore the chance at happily ever after that Jacks stole away.

But when a new terrifying curse is revealed, Evangeline finds herself entering into a tenuous partnership with the Prince of Hearts again. Only this time, the rules have changed. Jacks isn’t the only force Evangeline needs to be wary of. In fact, he might be the only one she can trust, despite her desire to despise him.

Instead of a love spell wreaking havoc on Evangeline’s life, a murderous spell has been cast. To break it, Evangeline and Jacks will have to do battle with old friends, new foes, and a magic that plays with heads and hearts. Evangeline has always trusted her heart, but this time she’s not sure she can. . . .


I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. I was in no way compensated for this review.

Some stories are utterly magical, ones that will sweep you away and forgetting reality all around you for those hours you spend in between the pages. Stephanie Garber's books have always done that and The Ballad of Never After is no different! Yet the intensity of this story will be far greater than any of her readers will expect!

I'm absolutely blown away once again by Stephanie Garber! You would think by now I know what to expect, but alas I love being taken by surprise again and again! This book was absolutely riveting; it takes spellbound to a whole new level and I am only sad that it is over once again.

Evangeline now knows that Apollo lives, somewhat. He's being kept in a sleeping state and she must do what she can to reverse the curse that is upon him so that he can be well again. But when one fateful kiss awakens Apollo, it seems to have ignited a new curse, for now he is trying to hunt Evangeline down and kill her. The story is very reminiscent of The Ballad of the Archer and the Fox, as star-crossed lovers are cursed to have to be apart or else one will kill the other.

Jacks once again returns and claims that if Evangeline helps him to find the missing stones that will open the Valory Arch, they can find the cure that will remove the curse from Apollo and her and they could live their happily ever after. Reluctant to trust Jacks after everything that he has done, Evangeline realizes she has no choice. If her happily ever after with Apollo is to ever come into fruition she must do as Jacks says, though she knows he has ulterior motives once more.

While in this story, we do not get the familiar faces of Caraval, we do get characters from Once Upon a Broken Heart! I don't want to dive into all of them...but yes, we do get some return appearances and it left my mind reeling with the possibilities! That is what I have loved so much about this spinoff series, all the possibilities of happily ever afters, of sorrows, of romance, or even possible ends! As Evangeline has always known, "every story has the potential for infinite endings."

As Jacks and Evangeline travel the Magnificent North searching for the stones, they are being hunted by the cursed Apollo and coming to terms with the feelings brewing between them. Jacks continues to be the man of mystery, so much so that he is putting Legend to shame on that front. Jacks keeps his secret close, but every once in awhile, something slips free and it always had me reeling with the possibilities. There were an array of small tender moments between Jacks and Evangeline that brought out the romantic in me. There was swooning to be had and oh how I wish there was more of those tiny moments. Or at the very least a Jacks' point of view! I would honestly re-read the entire world series all over again if it came from his mind! Jacks is a character with many stories to tell and I want all of them!

Garber has the most magical way with words for every chapter and every page had me swept up in the moment. Reality truly ceased to exist for those hours I was enclosed in the pages of the story. We readers always talk about when books grab us and never let go...these books do that for me. Every time I pick up the book to journey back into this world is like a trip I never want to end! The world is so mesmerizing that my heart truly breaks a little every time I reach the end. A reader will always find that one special book, series, or author that truly captures them in the best possible way and Garber has done that for me again and again.

Throughout the course of the story, I noted a few times that "ballads never end happily" and what with the book's title that had me in emotion turmoil. Will Evangeline and Jacks find some sort of "happily ever after" or are their true endings meant to end elsewhere? We do learn what Jacks intends to do with the Valory Arch and we do learn where Evangeline's destiny lies...the possibilities are endless!

The ending here left my heart spinning! I am feeling the turmoil of Legendary all over again! Though Garber has always said every story has four parts and I believe we've reached three of those parts here in The Ballad of Never After. This is a world that truly grips you by the heartstrings and doesn't let go.

Overall Rating 5/5 stars

The Ballad of Never After releases September 13, 2022



Stephanie Garber is the #1 New York Times and internationally bestselling author of the Caraval series and Once Upon a Broken Heart. Her books have been translated into more than thirty languages. 

Instagram: @stephanie_garber


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