The Ballad of Never After (Once Upon a Broken Heart, #2)

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The ballad of never after (once upon a broken heart 2)
Age Range
13+
Release Date
September 13, 2022
ISBN
978-1250268426
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Stephanie Garber's The Ballad of Never After is the fiercely-anticipated sequel to the #1 New York Timesbestseller 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. .

Editor reviews

4 reviews
Overall rating
 
4.9
Plot
 
5.0(4)
Characters
 
5.0(4)
Writing Style
 
4.8(4)
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A(0)
Ballad of Never After Review
Overall rating
 
4.7
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
This review is under the assumption that a third book is coming -- if it is not, then this might really change.

First, what an adventure. I tore through this book so fast. While the first book gave us the story of the Valory Arches and the North - this one gave us so much more. I loved learning about the Great Houses and the Ballad of the Archer and the Fox. This just built upon an already interesting world to provide even more unique stories. Everything moved so fast for me, and I really was swept up in this magical world. It's really hard to talk about a lot of the events because of so many spoilers and this is a book you do not want spoiled for yourself. I really enjoyed the writing a lot more in this one. The use of descriptions were more minimal which helped me in my opinion. Her previous books were very descriptive and so many similes used -- if you liked that, then you might not enjoy this book as much. But for me, it worked. Then the ending. I just can't even because again, this cannot be the last book.

While I loved Evangeline's naivety in this first book, this one was a little hard. Mostly it was because of her feelings towards Jacks. Throughout the whole book she convinces herself that Jacks doesn't care for her while not once even second guessing why his heart is beating. She even mentions how Donatella got his heart beating again and that was a sign. So to me, this sign is clearly there but Evangeline just misses it? I'm glad that there was barely any Marisol but more Chaos. The vampire thing grew on me and by the end of the book, I didn't hate that there was vampires in it. And again, this cannot be the last book in the story.

Overall, The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber was an amazing installment, as long as there will be a third book! It's really hard to talk about the ending because, no spoilers. But I'm really hoping there is a third book. I would absolutely appreciate it. I need Evangeline to grow just a little more into her character. I need to learn more about the history and what happens next after discovering what's in the Valory Arch. I do feel like there is so much more story to tell that this cannot be the end. If you've loved this series up until now, please read this book but also prepare your heart!
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I need the next book yesterday!
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What I Liked: In this sequel to Once Upon a Broken Heart, we find Evangeline determined to not fall for the Prince of Hearts, Jacks. However, that is easier said than done when he is the only one who comes to her rescue over and over when her new husband, Apollo, wakes from his sleeping curse under a new deadly curse to find and kill her.
As they keep getting thrown together Evangeline learns more about Jacks. With the forced proximity he starts to be more real to her and their slow-burn interactions are sure to keep you turning pages! The first book at times lacked the depth of character development but was wonderful at establishing this fantastical world of possibility. This book delves into the characters and their motives as we learn more about the past that formed the fates into the cursed immortal beings they are today.
For anyone dying to learn a secret will understand why Evangeline is compelled to find the stones needed to open the Valory Arch and know for once and for all what is behind the arch that has been locked for all these years. The slow-burn forbidden romance between Evangeline and Jacks and the danger she faces from Apollo will keep you hooked to the explosive end.
Final Verdict: Jacks and Evangeline’s journey is rocky and oh so page-turning delicious! They care for each other more than either is ready to admit. This leads to a tragic event that sets up the events for the third book in such an explosive surprise ending that you will need the third book yesterday to find out what will happen! This is definitely a book that you will enjoy reading again and again.

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shocking and explosive sequel
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
THE BALLAD OF NEVER AFTER is an explosive and enthralling YA fantasy sequel. Picking up after the first book ended, Evangeline has learned from her mistakes, and while she wants to see the good in everyone, she holds a lot more skepticism than she used to - particularly with regards to the cold-hearted Fate, Jacks. Evangeline is determined to stay away from him and the thing he seems determined to use her for - the opening of the Valory Arch. While due to a curse, no one knows what would happen if she does so, there seem to be quite a few people who feel strongly about whether it should be opened or not.

She continues to visit Apollo as he exists in the cursed state, hoping that she can find a way to release him from it. However, soon, a darker and more dangerous curse takes hold, and now, Evangeline's only chance for survival is the opening of the arch. Together with Jacks, who is becoming harder for her to hate, she must search for the missing stones to complete the arch so that it can be opened. Their quest is fraught with danger, curses, and unexpected revelations.

What I loved: This sequel was even better than the first, pulling the reader right into this magical and mystical world of curses, stories, and half-truths. The plot takes off quickly and pulls the reader into Evangeline's story. There is a great mysterious atmosphere that hangs over the whole story with questions about the Valory Arch, the Fates and their roles in the past, and what Jacks is truly thinking. Evangeline is surrounded by half-truths and fairytales that mask the past, with those who know the truths of it all unable and/or unwilling to tell her more. The reader must simply experience it alongside her.

Evangeline is not the girl she was when she first sought out Jacks. She is really coming into her own in this book, with personal revelations throughout. Although she knows that Jacks is not to be trusted, Evangeline is learning to trust her gut and her own intuition, approaching those around her with good faith and giving the benefit of the doubt while also carrying some hefty skepticism. The Fates are immortal and seemingly cold-hearted, while they are often ironically driven by a desire for love. Their frequent betrayals should leave Evangeline jaded, but she holds onto her hope and kindness, even in the face of their cruelty - though she is not as naive as she used to be.

There are some great themes around forgiveness, love/romance and its many (sometimes unhealthy) forms, mistakes, the power of choice, regret, vengeance, and home. Love is central to the plot for nearly all the main characters. Evangeline became wrapped up in this over what she believed was her chance at love, but she is learning that love is not so simple - there are no straight paths to love or fated romances and love is something that has to be worked on every day. The Fates, Jacks and LaLa are both compelled around love as well, and their curses force them to love and lose constantly, feelings that have no doubt taken a toll. As their coldness and cruelty plays out with a backdrop of love, Evangeline learns from their actions and inactions. The reader also begins to see the way Jacks is, in some ways, on a more primitive path than Evangeline, still growing and learning. He also has the opportunity to confront his misgivings and understand some harder truths.

The book includes some explosive twists and shocking turns. While there were some smaller ones that seemed obvious as the book unfolded, there were still others that were completely incendiary, throwing the characters and readers for a loop. The end of the book left me gasping and speechless - there are not enough words to describe all the feelings of shock, awe, upset, heartbreak, and so much more.

Final verdict: An evocative and explosive sequel, THE BALLAD OF NEVER AFTER features compelling characters and thought-provoking themes in an absolutely riveting and unputdownable YA fantasy. Highly recommend picking this one up!
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Not every love is meant to be
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
Illustrations/Photos (if applicable)
 
N/A
What I Liked:
The Ballad of Never After the tale is the continuation of the Once Upon a Broken Heart series set in the same world as the author Cararval Series. Book two is more solid and accessible to fall into the story than book one; I felt book one was a jumble of several novels, and this one focuses more on the quest of finding the valroy stones and what is hidden inside the valroy arch. Stephanie Garber knows how to grow her characters into strong, likable heroes or heroines, and Evangeline matures while remaining innocent and connecting to the readers of her story. Jack is my favorite fate. He is multi-faceted, cruel, but delicious, and he carries the level as he endures a wide range of emotional turmoil throughout the story.
Final Verdict:
The ending is one I had to re-read a few times to grasp how evil and brilliant it is. Is this the end of the story hard to say? Did I think the ending was brilliant by far? Of course, it was, and I did not see it coming, which always makes me smile. The Ballad of Never After is an extraordinary tale delivered by a genuinely talented author.
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