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“A Curse For True Love” Review

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“A Curse for True Love” cover. Designed by Erin Fitzsimmons

A Curse For True Love by Stephanie Garber is the third and final book in her Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy, preceded by Once Upon a Broken Heart (2021) and The Ballad of Never After (2022). 

Synopsis

The Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy focuses on Evangeline Fox, a citizen of Valenda. Though both her mother and father have passed away, she continues to live her life filled with wonder and love. She even has a love of her own. Though not perfect, her life is happy.

That is, until she finds out the love of her life is engaged to her stepsister. Though Evangeline is hurt, she also clings to the hope that there is some other hand organizing these actions. On the day of the wedding, she desperately turns to The Prince of Hearts, the Fate– god– of Heartbreak, who kills every girl he kisses. She reasons that he will understand her emotions. But this turns out to be a mistake.

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Though he stops the wedding, he asks for three kisses in return, where he chooses when and with whom they will happen. She thinks this is harmless, but quickly learns that the Prince of Hearts has ulterior motives. Evangeline now finds herself in the midst of a dangerous game, built on fairy tales, love, and something, perhaps, more sinister. 

Thoughts

This book was very enjoyable. With the cliffhanger of the previous book, it was very fun to see where the story went and how some of the choices in previous books influenced the plot of this one. 

The world itself is rich and magical to read about. This trilogy takes place in the same world as the Caraval series. The fantasy elements of this setting are so whimsical, and it feels like such a dream. Aside from this, it also emanates some very cozy vibes, making this the perfect fall/winter read.

One of the most unique things about this series in particular is the use of story. A prevalent item in this series is The Story Curse, which warps different tales in different ways. Garber’s approach to this, not just in the plot itself, but in the book as a whole leads to a very unique reading experience, and one that is very enjoyable. One example of this is the multiple epilogues included in the three different special editions of the book. Though these are not canon, they show what may be, and advance the theme of stories having multiple endings that is prevalent in this book. This shows the care with which Garber crafted these books, and the thought put into having the books themselves reflect the world. 

What might just be the best part of this series are the characters themselves. Each is complex and interesting. The main character, Evangeline, is an amazing heroine, clever and caring. However, she can also be selfish and awkward at times, and not in the usual ways. The characters all had flaws and made mistakes. They made you care about them (in both nice and not-so-nice ways), and they developed in very real ways. 

The plot itself felt somewhat predictable. From the beginning, you could see which way the scales were tipping. There are certain things that felt obvious from the moment they were explained. Nonetheless, this felt like a fantastic way to end the series. Though the ending felt a bit rushed, it was natural as well. The anticipation buildup was very good, and the twist at the end made perfect sense. I may have liked to see some of the other characters involved, but it all felt continuous. 

There were a few questions left unanswered surrounding some of the political and magical aspects of the book, but it seemed as if Stephanie Garber was not done with this world. This book series does take place within the same world as her previous works, so this wouldn’t be a very surprising turn of events. 

A Curse for True Love by Stephanie Garber is a phenomenal read. I would recommend the Once Upon a Broken Heart trilogy to those who enjoy romance, fantasy, some morally gray characters, and adventure. 

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Adelaide Kota, Features Editor
Sophomore, she/her "I prefer my misery to come at me in stages, so I can acclimate on the way."— George Cubbins Have fun!

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