Book: Where Dreams Descend
Author: Janella Angeles
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Release Date: August 25, 2020
Rating: (3 / 5)
So this month, I decided to review a book a little differently. I joined a buddy read with a few fellow Instagram book reviewers and we read the book together and chatted about the book a couple of times this month. I have to say, it was much more fun to review a book this way. I honestly think we should do it more often.
Here’s the synopsis for the book.
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.
Review: Where Dreams Descend
As you can see from the ranking above, I gave “Where Dreams Descend” three stars. I agreed with the group’s assessment on the ranking. Here’s why.
The story was confusing. A whole group of us had so many questions at the halfway point and at the end. None of our questions were answered at any point.
Sure, we had some crazy conspiracy theories at the midway point, trying to figure out who was the bad guy and what was really going on. Was the villain really the villain or do we have this all wrong? What’s up with this strange town? Why does no one know anything beyond 50 years ago? What happened 50 years ago? What was this fire? Where in the world did Kallia come from? What’s her backstory and Jack’s? What is up with these mirrors? What’s with the cards? What’s with the houses? What about this fire they talk about?
NONE OF THE QUESTIONS WERE ANSWERED.
Granted, by the time we got to the end, we were even more confused than we were at the midway point. So in other words, it wasn’t just me. ALL OF US were confused!!!
Granted, I kind of liked our conspiracy theories we came up with. It made us want to race to the end to see if we were right. Sad to say, none of us were right. Instead, we were going, “HUH?” In other words, you will NEVER guess how this book will end.
But that’s not why we ranked it 3 stars.
The author created some very strong characters. I loved Kallia from the very beginning. I loved Aaros, too. Kallia and Aaros made the perfect partners in crime. I also loved the love story that developed between Kallia and DeMarco. These characters made you feel either a strong love or distaste for them. Even when you can’t quite figure out if someone is innately good or bad, you feel something for that character.
Creating strong characters is Janella Angeles’s strong point. But like all authors, writers have a strong suit and a weakness. For Angeles, her weakness lies in the plot. It is all over the place. Then when we get to the end, the plot is just lost on everybody.
But here’s the thing, this concept is great. The whole concept is intriguing and interesting, but it became too much and too many plot lines that nothing was answered at the end. It just sort of fizzled out and we’re all left going, “HUH?”
There will be a book two, and I need that book like last week, so I can figure out if all of our questions would be answered. Is everything resolved and fixed in book two?
This debut from Janella Angeles (a Filipino-American, for those interested in reading more books from Asian American writers) has great potential as a series. I love the whole concept, but it needs work to sort of streamline all of us out of its confusion. To build what Angeles has built, you have to truly master piecing it all together so it becomes that masterpiece. It’s like Erin Morgenstern’s “The Starless Sea.” The book is brilliant, but you have to be a genius to do what Morgenstern was able to do by tying up all of those loose ends. It also took her eight years to write that book.
Trust me, writing is not an easy process. Also, something I learned from other authors is that we all tend to be masters of one part of the writing process, and have a serious weakness in other parts. You can be strong at developing characters, but be weak at plot lines…or even spelling. I swear I saw an author put you’re in a post instead of your. That kind of drove me batty.
Writers are not perfect. This is an art that has to be continuously worked on and perfected. We have to work on our weaknesses in order to make them our strengths. I could also say that we should do that in all facets of life, especially in our jobs.
I’m looking forward to the next book just to see if any of the questions are answered and the plot lines resolved.[DISCLOSURE: I received a copy of this title from the publisher in exchange for a review. This post contains affiliate links.]
You can pick up your copy at any of these Perfectionist Wannabe preferred retailers.