Book Review: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1)

where dream descendTitle: Where Dreams Descend

Author: Janella Angeles

Pub. Date: August 25, 2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.5

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

This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley for providing a free copy of the book in exchange for an honest review.

screaming gifs Page 3 | WiffleGif

More! More! More!

I need book 2.

So, I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to feel reading this book. I’d heard some mixed reviews, and my friend didn’t love it as much as she expected. With that being said, I was a tad hesitant, but kept an open mind. I’m a huge Moulin Rouge fan so this book appealed to that part of me. It also felt a little Phantom-esque and I’m also a sucker for that. And the whole time I was reading the book, I couldn’t figure out what other thing I was being reminded of. Well, I think I figured it out. Escaping from Houdini. I don’t know why it took me hours to realize that, that book is what I was thinking of, but it was.

So, really, if you’re a fan of any of those stories, settings, plots, then you’re probably not going to be disappointed.

I’m only disappointed that I have to now WAIT for book 2, and Where Dreams Descend doesn’t even come out until August. Why is the world so cruel?

I loved this book. I loved the atmosphere, the characters, the slow build plot. I binge read this book in like 5 hours because I couldn’t put it down.

The atmosphere of this book has the chaotic energy of Moulin Rouge, with the dark mystery of Phantom. It’s like this perfect blend of wonder and magic that has the story coming to life on the page. You’re sucked in, and suddenly you are there, at Spectaculore. The whole magician competition element is what reminded me of Escaping from Houdini – and the fact that both have mystery elements. There’s the whole dark undertone of it all, and anytime mirrors come into play…I’ve seen enough horror movies with mirrors trapping people and souls, that I just have a bad feeling, but I’m here for it, because I really want to know what happens next.

As for the characters, I think I’m honestly partial to Jack. He’s intriguing and while we basically know next to nothing about him, he seems to really care about Kallia. I don’t know, but I’m totally here for their dynamic, as imbalanced as it appears. I’m super curious to see what gets revealed. I have suspicions that I refuse to voice, but really want to know if I’m right. I really loved his moments, and how restrained and detached he comes across. I’m really thinking that’s a mask, and not who he truly is, but I guess I’m going to have to wait and see.

Kallia feels like Rapunzel, and I’m here for it. A total badass, not willing to take shit, but still a little naïve as to how the world works. Kallia is her own person, she defies the norms, and everything she does, it’s to prove to herself she can. If someone says she can’t do something, since in this world – women are kind of considered like second class citizens, to be seen and not heard – she defies them and does whatever they said she can’t do, loudly. She’s amazing and her balance between strong and vulnerable is so good. Honestly her whole emotional range makes you feel everything. Especially at the end where things start happening at a lightning pace.

I also loved her bonds with people – primarily Aaros. Their dynamic is so good, so enjoyable. For being pretty naïve, she had him pegged right off, and their friendship was so perfect. I don’t know if I can express enough how good it was, without spoilers, but he was just there for her, and cared, and I loved how he calls her “boss”. She entered into his life, and he just went with it. I can’t wait for the second book, so I can have more of him. Besides Jack, he’s my favorite character.

Oh, Demarcos. I’m always down for a rivals to lovers, which is kind of what their relationship was, tumultuous. I didn’t expect the twist at the end, and I’m really curious to see how that all gets explained. I feel like there’s still a lot we don’t know about him, but I have a theory. I just don’t know how it ties into everything else going on. I didn’t hate Demarcos and I really liked how cute he and Kallia are when they’re together, but I don’t know. I think I’m solidly Team Jack, so he doesn’t stand a chance.

I enjoyed the slow buildup of the plot. Glorian is this mysterious place, surrounded by a mysterious wood. There almost seems to be this glazed, willful ignorance to the past, the history of the city. Clearly something happened, but what? So many moving game pieces, but what’s the game? I was never bored reading this book. All the questions, all the unknowns, Kallia trying to navigate what is essentially, a boy’s club, while running from her past…I found myself pleasantly confused in the best way possible. I kept reading because I wanted to know. I needed to know. Then you get to the end, those last couple scenes and so much is happening, some questions are answered, but a bunch of new ones need to be asked. The Epilogue hooks you and really makes you hate that book 2 isn’t already out, because again, I have questions and I want answers!

I think this is one of those books, that as it sits with you, the more you realize how great it is. I’m sitting here writing this review and just thinking about the book. I mean, obviously, but I’m running through scenes in my head, thinking of potential outcomes, potential answers. All while sitting here, utterly in love with this book. I’m definitely going to preorder and will be doing that sometime today. I also have a really strong urge to watch Moulin Rouge, but I would kill to have a show/movie adaptation of this book.

If you’ve been on the fence about this book, get off it, and get to reading…or pre-ordering so you can read it the second it comes out in August. You’re not going to want to miss this book. Where Dreams Descend comes out August 25, 2020 so make sure it’s on your TBRs!

8 thoughts on “Book Review: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1)

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