Once Upon A Broken Heart – Book Series Review

Fair warning, there will be SPOILERS ahead. If you plan on reading these books and/or don’t want to get into major details about the story, please come back to this once you’ve read the trilogy.

Still here? Then let’s get into it!

Once Upon a Broken Heart by Stephanie Garber is a fantasy series that follows Evangeline Fox and her quest for true love. After bargaining with an immortal Fate in order to save her first love, Evangeline is obliged to give three kisses of the Fate’s choosing which will no doubt end in trickery and disaster. Jacks, the infamous Prince of Hearts, has far more plans for Evangeline than their original bargain. For a more in depth summary, you can find it here on Goodreads. Followed by The Ballad of Never After and A Curse for True Love, this series features beautiful and mysterious original fairy tales, the magical world of the Magnificent North, as well as an Enemies to Lovers romance. 

But enough about the summary. I’m assuming if you’re still here, you’re waiting to get into the details about what makes this series so incredible. For me, these books were five stars across the board with my favorite being The Ballad of Never After, but we’ll get into all of that. Let’s start with the characters.

It’s only fair to start with the MC, Evangeline. Evangeline starts the series being very naive about the world and the meaning of love. She seeks Jacks’ help because she believes her first love, Luc, has been cursed. She’s willing to sacrifice everything, and despite Jacks’ warnings about working with a Fate like himself, she does it anyway. This already shows that Evangaline is a very caring person and her sacrifices make you root for her and love her right away. Were there times I wanted to shake her because of her naivety? Absolutely, but I also believe that’s kind of the point. We grow with her as she learns the hard ways of the world and just how cruel the intentions of others can be. She learns how complicated love really is, and that not all love is easy. She learns that it’s something to fight for continually, not just until you’ve reached your Happily Ever After. 

Even as the villains of this story and the circumstances continue to break her, she never loses her caring heart. That’s what I love most about her. She’s selfless and kind, almost to a fault, and she’s able to bring out the better nature of others simply by being herself. As the series progresses, Evangeline gets stronger and more resolute. A lot of this comes with help from Jacks, as she needs to develop a thick skin in order to deal with the nefarious and alluring Prince of Hearts. 

If you’ve read my previous blog post, you know how much I love morally grey characters and an Enemies to Lovers romance. This is part of the reason why I love Jacks so much and why he’s my favorite character. In this world, Fates are known to make untrustworthy bargains and take pride in playing with people’s lives. They don’t feel the same kind of emotions that humans do, at least not on the same level. But compared to other Fates, Jacks is known to be crueler and more deceitful than most. I suppose I would be too if I was cursed to kill everyone I kissed, never finding true love and forever being heartbroken. 

What I love most about Jacks is the way his character develops throughout the story. He stays true to his cruel nature, even when the reader thinks he’s making progress, which just shows that it’ll take something major for him to truly change the way he views the world and the power of love. He’s witty, cunning, and intelligent. Oh, and he’s constantly saving Evangeline even though he swears it’s because of his plans and not because he cares for her. Which leads me to the romance…

This is very clearly an Enemies to Lovers story. Despite their immediate attraction, it’s very clear that Evangeline and Jacks can’t stand each other. Their morals don’t align, they have different goals, and they’re basically thrown together in a twist of fate that derails the very world around them. Every single time Evangeline gets closer to trusting Jacks and letting her guard down, he proves to her why she shouldn’t. It isn’t until Evangeline’s initial death at the end of book 2 that Jacks realizes how much he loves her and can’t live without her. He’s willing to give her up completely as long as she’s alive. 

These two challenge each other in every way, which is personally my favorite type of romance to read. This is also a VERY slow burn, which drove me crazy. Honestly, it was the best way to tell the story because the end result was even more satisfying because of it. When Evangeline’s memory is stolen by Apollo, it’s clear how much it affects both her and Jacks. That pull for Jacks is still there, despite her not knowing who he is for the first half of A Curse for True Love. Meanwhile, Jacks is willing to destroy his heart in order to make sure he never harms Evangeline, his caring and devoted “Little Fox”. (Don’t even get me started on the nickname. It’s practically swoon-worthy.)

Despite the slow burn driving me crazy (in a good way), the pacing of the romance and of the story in general was really well done. It didn’t feel rushed, and the love between Evangeline and Jacks grew very authentically. By the time Eva risks her life for true love by kissing Jacks, it felt like the entire series was built up to that moment. It was the highly anticipated moment that was well worth the wait. So worth the wait, in fact, that I had to read it three times.

Sometimes when the romance is this good, it makes me care a little less about the plot, but that definitely wasn’t the case with this trilogy. There weren’t any lulls in the story. One of the reasons I loved the second book the most was because of how much happened in it. It built up the stakes, made the romance even more intense, and left the readers wondering whether or not love is indeed the most powerful thing. I also cared about all of the characters, including the lovable and complicated (not to mention a bit terrifying) supporting characters like LaLa and Chaos. If anything, I still want to know more about them. I can’t help but hope that Garber will dive into this world again. I feel like it’s too good to leave behind the way it was, despite my love of how everything was wrapped up!

I was constantly on the edge of my seat, cheering whenever we got an EvaJacks moment, shouting at the heart stopping plot twists, and wanting to throw the book whenever Apollo or Aurora dared to poison the pages with their presence.

A special thank you to Stephanie Garber for bringing this beautiful story to readers everywhere!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top