• A Poisoned Romance that will Keep You Reading!
The Ballad of Never After Book Cover The Ballad of Never After
Once Upon a Broken Heart
Stephanie Garber
YA/Fairy Tale Retelling
September 13, 2022

Stephanie Garber's The Ballad of Never After is 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 am going to start this review by sharing a little background on this book and series. The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber is the sequel to Once Upon a Broken Heart. When I read OUABH, I had no idea they were a spinoff series from Garber’s beloved Caraval series which I own but have never read (*ducks*)

In fact, I still haven’t read them (but they’re high in my TBR!) and I didn’t even realize until I read this book that it might make slightly better sense with that context.

All this to say that you can absolutely read about Jacks and Evangeline without having read the previous series, but you might want to anyway. (And if you do, don’t spoil it for me! 😉 )

OUABH tells the story of Evangeline, who is crushed when her lover chooses to marry someone else, so she makes a deal in hopes of improving her outcome.

What she ends up with is a heap of trouble, lots of people she can’t trust and her world being flipped upside down. In the process of upending her life, she becomes entangled with Jacks, who may or may not like her but definitely has his own ambitions that play highly in his decisionmaking.

The Ballad of Never After picks up where the first book left us and sweeps us away into a realm where nothing is as it seems and everything can change with the toss of an apple. Jacks is the antithesis of a traditional book boyfriend. He’s definitely morally grey, but also, is he? It’s nearly impossible to say through the entirety of the story. What is certain is the goosebumps I got while reading lines like this:

He watched her the way you weren’t supposed to watch someone when they knew that you were looking—bold and unabashed and utterly inappropriate.

The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber

While this book is YA, the chemistry is palpable between these two, enough that you could set the place on fire. Garber has created on-page sparks that will keep you rooting for more, while wondering at every turn in this poisoned fairy tale, if you can trust yourself as the reader!

Evangeline is strong, driven and brave, she is also typical of young heroines in that she makes some decisions that will make you want to throw the book. She has the potential for an incredible life – at her fingertips – but the question is who will be standing at her side when she does? Jacks has schemes and plans, motives and directives that aren’t completely revealed; will they be worth it all in the end? What will happen in the next book?

I don’t know, but if cliffhangers make you violent, this may not be the book for you. For me, it’s worth the delayed gratification – and every version of this book that I have seen has an incredible cover. (S/O to Fairy Loot for making me subscribe to secure their editions!)

To get started now with OUABH, click here.