Where Dreams Descend
Kingdom of Cards #1
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Publication Date: August 25th 2020
Format: Owlcrate 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
Where Dreams Descend is the startling and romantic first book in Janella Angeles’ debut Kingdom of Cards fantasy duology where magic is both celebrated and feared, and no heart is left unscathed.
Abuse, Manipulation, Gaslighting, Sexism, Blood, Stalking
”What more could you want that isn’t already here?”
More. More than a stage she owned only for a night. More than a mask without a name.
Disclaimer: I am not a Moulin Rouge fan. I’ve never seen Phantom of the Opera, let’s put that out there first and foremost. However, I really liked this book. I don’t think you have to go into this read knowing anything about the above two, despite the comparisons.
The writing in this book is just… vivid for a lack of a better term. I felt the magic in the air, shimmering all around me. I was immersed, I was there, it was tangible. As for the world itself… I was fine with it? I could clearly visualize the layout of where the characters were, but magic and rules? That was where I got kind of confused… which I’ll talk about a bit later.
”For in the world of magic, a woman’s place lies in the quiet shadows of labor magic, the encouraged path. The safer one. Because the ones who dare most often disappear.”
I will say, this is very much a character driven book. And as for the characters, they were great. Ambitious girls who want more, who know their worth and who won’t let anyone tell them they are less than. Long story short, we really like Kallia. In a male driven occupation, she rose to the occasion and demanded they give her a place and when they tried to deny her, she took her place. I do wish she wasn’t as perfect as she was, but I still couldn’t help but root and back her up 100%. Between being gaslit and lied to, she deserves her spotlight.
Even the side characters grabbed my attention: those who make me flip flop on whether we can trust them, the cinnamon rolls, the loyal side kick, the female solidarity!!! Canary and her crew are great, but especially Canary who was just as talented as Kallia but didn’t get her chance… we just love to see women supporting women.
Now, the romance did make me a bit nervous, because love triangles make me anxious, right? But, without spoilers… I wouldn’t classify this as a love triangle? With Kallia recognizing the toxic environment she was in and is clearly trying to get away from it… I appreciate it.
But… there is an enemies to lovers thing happening and??? yes?? I liked them, the push and pull, the barbed words and failed apologies, the unwanted chemistry. I will say though, I do wish the love interest was more fleshed out- I liked his potential, but he didn’t fully deliver. However, the friendships here is what really grabbed my heart, especially between Kallia and Aaros.
Like I alluded to in the beginning of this review, I was very confused by the mystery and conflicts— but what makes it worse is that it ends on a cliffhanger and nothing was explained? I know this is only the beginning, but things could have been fleshed out more. Even the competition that was being held, I… didn’t feel the stakes for kind because of spoiler-y reasons: Kallia is (again) kind of perfect. even when she over exerts herself or is being stalked and everything else, there was no doubt in my mind that she would dominate in the competition. It was very blatant that every other competitor was a bit… incompetent (and again, I get it) but… it affected the stakes. Look, I enjoyed the read, the promise of the sequel/finale is nice and I will be here to see how this all unfolds, I promise.
JANELLA ANGELES is a Filipino-American author who got her start in writing through consuming glorious amounts of fanfiction at a young age—which eventually led to penning a few of her own, and later on, creating original stories from her imagination. A lifelong lover of books, she’s lucky enough to be working in the business of publishing them on top of writing them. She currently resides in Massachusetts, where she’s most likely to be found listening to musicals on repeat and daydreaming too much for her own good. Where Dreams Descend is her first book.