7 August 2020

ARC Review // Where Dreams Descend

Author: Janella Angeles
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Published: 25th August 2020
Pages: 464 [Kindle edition]

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.

By now it should be easier to explain how much I loved a story. I mean, after writing so many reviews, putting down my thoughts on paper should be a piece of cake. Nevertheless, every time a book steals my heart as Where Dreams Descend did, I find myself wordless. No word is perfect enough to put together a sentence that describes how much a book messed up my emotions.

Storytelling: From the first moment I saw Where Dreams Descend, I had a feeling that I would fall in love with it. With a sprinkle of The Phantom of the Opera and a drizzle of Moulin Rouge, Where Dreams Descend is a bewitchingly nightmarish tale. Janelle Angeles crafted a marvellous and captivating story, with beautiful passages, and divided into acts -- one more mysterious, spellbinding, and enigmatic than the previous one.

The plot of Where Dreams Descend starts slow, with all these questions arising and no answers. Then, the story picks up (this does not mean there are no more secrets to be unveiled) and an alluring and intricate world unfolds before the reader's eyes. Janelle Angeles's writing is simply enticing and it will trap you in Glorian, a city covered in ice, ruin, and danger and filled with pulsing dark magic. Where Dreams Descend ends with a cliffhanger that will make you wish the second book would be out already!

Characters: My sweet and powerful Kallia. So daring and fearless. ❤️ I adored how Kallia challenged the patriarchal norms and made her way into the competition -- not only as the only female magician but also as the most powerful magician. She was the better contestant by far, and she knew it! Kallia was not afraid of showing it. No matter what the men responsible for the competition did to push her out of it, Kallia would resist and put on a bewitching show. Sometimes you must wonder how fragile the male ego can be to not allow women to join a magician competition. However, behind all the fearlessness and tenacity, there were cracks in Kallia. Living a life o lies left marks on her. I liked how confident Kallia was of herself and her magic, but also had this fragile side that made me want to tell her that it is okay to break down -- everyone breaks down and that does not make them damaged or unworthy.

Demarco had his own demons too (and there was something about the ENDING that needs to be better explained in the sequel). He was shattered by loss and willing to do what he could to protect Kallia -- even if that meant being manipulative. I enjoyed how naturally the relationship between Kallia and Demarco developed -- at the beginning, they were not very fond of each other. Dusted with magic and heartbreak, this relationship was beautifully written.

World Building: Glorian is a city of secrets. It is haunted by a cryptic past and surrounded by a cursed forest. After a long period of isolation, Glorian opens its doors to the Conquering Circus and a magician competition. Of course, when there is so much darkness hidden in a decaying city nothing is bound to end well -- especially for the magicians involved in the competition. What I loved the most about the world building was that Glorian was not just a setting. The city felt alive! This city almost felt like a character, with its wishes and magic. The magic system is quite interesting: some are born with magic while others can learn how to use it (I must confess I did not understand how those without magic learn how to wield it). The magic is used to create illusions -- even if some illusions are more "illusionary" than others.

Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher/author for providing me with a review copy in exchange for an honest review.

Are you excited about Where Dreams Descend? Are you excited to plunge into this nightmarish world of magic and secrets?

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  1. I understand the struggle of reviewing a book which truly touched you. It’s almost like any words you write will feel like they won’t do the book justice. You should feel happy, your review has me adding this to my TBR to have the chance to experience this book and see if captures my heart quite like it did yours.

    1. I'm so happy to find someone who understands how difficult can it be to review a book you loved. Awww, I hope Where Dreams Descend does capture your heart as it captured mine. 💛

      Happy readings, Becky! 😊