The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber
Hodder & Staughton, hb, £16.99
Reviewed by Mikaela Silk
Evangeline’s life has been fully unravelled and turned upside down. The man she thought she was going to marry is now a vampire. The step-sister she thought she could trust is a malicious sorceress. Her new husband, Prince Apollo, is in a spell-induced coma. Her lesson from this? Never ever trust Jacks, the Prince of Broken Hearts. His heart is not broken; it simply doesn’t exist.
Jacks has promised to wake Apollo if Evangeline will open the Vallory Arch for him, said to be filled with either the greatest treasure or the greatest weapon. Judging from previous experience with Jacks, a weapon seems most likely. With this in mind, and her new-found magic at her fingertips, Evangeline is determined to find another way. If only the Fates weren’t quite so good at manipulating events to get their own way…
This book has a bit more of an obvious structure and end goal than ‘Once a Broken Heart’, although just as much mystery. As the second book in this series, I was hoping more of these mysteries would be solved and was disappointed to find this was not the case. However, these new mysteries did help to pull me along through the narrative at a faster pace than I might otherwise have read.
I was sad to see that Evangeline seemed as much a puppet in this book as she was in the previous one. In contrast, the character of Jacks is explored in a lot more detail and the hints of his backstory really worked to give a greater depth to his character. These little distractions from the main plot made up some of my favourite parts of the book.