Title: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1)
Author: Janella Angeles
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Wednesday Books
No. of Pages: Hardcover, 447 pgs.
Publication Date: August 25, 2020
Date Read: August 8, 2020
B+N | BAM | IndieBound | Indigo | Powell’s
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 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 forces 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.
Thanks so much to Wednesday Books for having me on this blog tour! Where Dreams Descend was one of my highly anticipated debut releases of this year. And in the midst of 2020 and COVID, it was a highlight!
Where Dreams Descend follows Kallia, a female magician in a world where females are only showgirls and assistants. Raised in a house in the woods, isolated from the world, she longs to see and visit the city she sees over the tops of the trees. To prove to them that a female magician could be the best. But Jack, the man over the house and the club within, tells her that they’re not ready for her and that it isn’t safe. But an accident happens and Kallia realizes that it’s the house and Jack that aren’t safe. The secrets kept and the lie told. So she escapes to Glorian where she follows the flyers that lead to her a magic competition. One where the winner gets to headline for the Conquering Circus. Kallia knows that it’ll be hard for her as the only female in a profession dominated by men, but when mysterious things start happening to the other magicians, she realizes that the city may not be as safe as she thought. With her assistant, Aaros, and one of the judges, Daron Demarco, behind her, she pushes through and continues. But more mysterious, dangerous things and ominous notes are left behind. There are more secrets at bay. And those secrets might have dangerous consequences for all involved.
One of the things I loved about this book was how strong of a character Kallia was. She was headstrong and determined to prove that she was the best. That she was just as good, and better, than the men in the competition. And it showed. Everything she did made a statement. As the men in the competition acquired their magic, it was obvious that they couldn’t compete with natural born magic. I also loved that she was super human. Sometimes, I feel like authors can make their main characters too rigid. They don’t show emotion very well, they’re not scared of anything, they don’t care for others or have a hard time showing emotions. They are all or nothing. Kallia, I feel was the opposite. She had a complex range of emotions and actions that made her more ‘human’ and it was so easy to relate. Because humans are complex. Why shouldn’t the characters in the books we read be complex as well? And Angeles NAILED it.
I also really loved the secondary characters that we got to meet in this book. The Conquering Circus troupe, Aaros, and Demarco were amazing support/secondary characters and they were also given so much time and some development in this book. They truly loved and were behind Kallia in every way. Truly, they were friends. The greatest. I did like that Demarco, as one of the more main characters, we were given some more info into how he got to be in the position he was and some of his thought processes. I’m really looking forward to reading the second book and getting more of all these characters.
The magic system and how it kind of led into the history of the town was WONDERFUL. I loved the backstory and info we were given on the four families that owned the town and that that history was woven into how the two was separated and created. It was fun to see that there were a few things foreshadowed if you paid close enough attention. The magic system was really interesting with the categories broken down into acquired or born. That was held a greater value than another. Also, the split between the gender roles playing into respect on the magician’s stage was super relevant. (And again, I’m glad for such a strong character in Kallia to break down those barriers and fight for the respect she deserved with such a great support system behind her).
I am absolutely STUNNED with this book. It was so incredibly well-written. It grabs your attention from the first page and I was hooked. I tried to not post spoilers, but I do have to mention that there is a cliff-hanger that I’m still not over. I am eagerly anticipating book two. Angeles, in this book has written about magic and has written magic. This is absolutely one debut you don’t want to miss.
Janella Angeles is a Filipino-American author who got her start in writing through consuming glorious amounts of fan fiction at a young age–which eventually led to penning a few of her one, and later on, creating original stories from her imagination. A lifelong lover of book, 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.
Janella Angeles steals the 2020 show with her fiercely imagined debut starring larger than life characters, a dangerous world alive with magic, and a dizzying dose of grab-a-fainting-couch-and-swoon-away romance!— Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author is The Gilded Wolves
Where Dreams Descend is a glamorous dark gem of a tale, sparkling with romance, magic, and intrigue. Readers will be captivated by prima donna Kallia as the mystery is slowly unmasked. Bravissima!— Julie C. Dao, author of Forest of a Thousand Lanterns
Lavish and opulent in a way that feels warmly familiar yet demands your attention. There are secrets upon secrets, a girl who’s boldly ambitious, and truly riveting stage magic. I didn’t want the show to stop.— Emily A. Duncan, New York Times bestselling author of Wicked Saints
Vibrant imagery, jaw-dropping set pieces, sizzling romantic tension, and unstoppable heroine Kallia bring this ambitious debut novel to spectacular life. Fans of Caraval and The Night Circus will be delighted!— Claire Legrand, New York Times bestselling author of Furyborn
[A] spellbinding melody of a book, and the true magic is how Angeles puts all the best parts of an enrapturing theatrical performance onto paper and ink. From the gripping twists in the first pages all the way to the final, heartbreaking crescendo, Where Dreams Descend will surge you to your feet in a standing ovation.— Sara Raasch, New York Times bestselling author of the Snow Like Ashes trilogy