Cover Image: Where Dreams Descend

Where Dreams Descend

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Member Reviews

I was so intrigued by the blurb of this book. And while there is a lot that I did like about this book, there was enough that I didn't like as well. I felt that the pacing was kinda weird. Sometimes the book would fly by and other times I felt like I was stuck on the same page for days. This is a character driven book, and I wish there was more world building.
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It's fun, it's daring, it's dark.  For fans of Caraval and The Night Circus...  it has that magical showmanship quality.  Semi-love triangle dances with manipulation, secrets, the universe of magicians, dark pasts and intriguing, riveting, high tension story-telling hooks you from the beginning. I really enjoyed the exciting cast of characters and the mysterious atmosphere of the story.  It fell short of 5 stars for me as I felt the world building was a little weak.  Overall, this completely scratched my circus itch and i cant wait to see how everything is resolved in the next book.
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This book was not for me. There is definitely an audience for this book. People who like a more poetic writing style and a heavily character-driven story will probably love this.

And I mean, character-driven is fine for me normally, but I didn't really care about the characters so, that didn't help me any. I feel like for something that hinged so heavily on character disappearances, they should have been characters we cared about. I'm not sold on the romance either, it felt creepy and forced.

I did like the "down with the patriarchy" vibes and I loved Aaros and the Conquerors. I would have loved more backstory about literally anything. I think this is a case of the author trying not to give away too many clues or foreshadow too much and just reigning it in too far and not giving you enough. And the breadcrumbs we did get, either led to nowhere or I got lost along the way because I had fuck all idea what was happening for 85% of this book. Which is weird because it felt super repetitive and like nothing was ever really happening.

Honestly, if not for reading this as a backlist ARC that I need to review, I would have DNF'd it. I do not plan to read the sequel. I will consider reading more Angeles in the future.

I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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I loved this book! The story, the writing, the characters, everything about this book is lush and lovely. It is a brilliant debut and I can't wait to read more by Janella Angeles!
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me a free e-arc of this book for review!

Not gonna lie to you but I've been attracted by this book because of its gorgeous cover and because it made me think of Caraval which is a beloved trilogy of mine. I've also been seeing this hyped up a lot during summer and then the hype died down, unfortunately. 

This debut is an amazing fantasy story surrounding magicians competing against each other. When I heard the synopsis, I immediately thought of The Night Circus. However, both are very different. 

Where Dreams Descends follows Kallia who's always trained and learned how to be a showgirl for Jack's fancy nightclub. Jack's her master and we're introduced to him very earlier as this mysterious dark being who has been teaching her a lot of tricks. He's also spent his time helping her use her magic abilities. However, Kallia always dreamed of going to this magical city lost in the woods, and when the day comes... when the opportunity arises, she receives an invitation to this competition held at Glorian, the mystical city that she's dreamed of. 

I absolutely loved the atmospheric writing, the world-building and the characters. I really loved the magic system, it was unique and very entertaining. I adored the precious friendship between Kallia & Aaros. He's such an amazing friend. His humor was everything. The slow-burn enemies-to-lovers romance in this story is thrilling. There's so much tension between Kallia and her love interest, I loved every second of it. Another thing that I loved is Kallia's character. She's such a strong and fierce woman who doesn't shy away because men told her too. In fact, the competition is only for male magicians but she doesn't care. She wants to be in it and she will do anything to show them that she's worth it. I was rooting for her all along. Kallia was a true queen, she never gave up under the harsh criticism that men kept throwing at her. She was slaying through and through. The competition was so entertaining. However, I wished we could see the others who participated. I also would've loved a more in-depth world-building excluding Glorian, who's the only city we've got to learn so far.  I hope we will get answers in the next follow-up! 

This was a wonderful debut, I'm so excited for the sequel! If you loved Caraval or The Night Circus because of their atmospheric writing, you should totally pick up this book!

Rating: 4,5/5
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Loved, Loved, Loved this story! I loved that this book brought danger & mystery as well as romance. Cannot wait to read the second book! Plus... the cover is absolutely stunning!
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I did not finish this one. I gave it a hundred pages and I was not invested in any of the stakes or characters.
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Even as a three-star book, I really enjoyed the concepts of the story. I just don't know if the execution really worked for me. 

Pros: 
- Kallia was a really interesting main character and was probably the best part of the whole book. Her character was well developed and seeing her persevere through everything was amazing. She was the number one reason I kept reading. 
- I loved the details about the Conquering Circus! 
- Jack was actually very intriguing (although I would've loved to learn more about him; he felt too flat when he should be a stand out character) 
- I loved the mystery that was created for Glorian and the woods around the Hellfire House. 
- Aaros was the best side character and I loved having him in scenes. I would've loved to see more of him.

Cons:
- Daron was a lackluster love interest; I didn't really understand the connection between Kallia and him. 
- The story moved SO slowly. Something action-packed would happen and then the story would drag on until the next thing, but with nothing being solved, I was more frustrated by anything. I understand that there needs to be some things left hanging because of a sequel, but it felt like I read this whole book and didn't learn a thing. 
- The plot of the magicians disappearing was just meh. I didn't care about any of them (don't remember one of their names) and it was always forgotten about until something else happen. I never felt like there was any imminent danger happening throughout the story. 

I did enjoy this book, but it took me forever (over a month) to finish because of the cons. Although, I will keep an eye out for the sequel for sure!
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Poetic and intriguing. However something is missing somewhere and I’m not sure exactly what it is. Everything on paper -ha- sounds fab. Circus? Yes please! Sadly I’m setting it aside for now.  Maybe it’s me. Maybe it’s the book.
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Loved the magic, writing, characters, and setup of this world, can't wait for the second book!

Thanks a lot to NG and the publisher for this copy.
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Set in the backdrop of a world where magic can be anything from commonplace to deliriously entertaining, this novel pits magicians against each other in battles of wit, illusion, physical feats, and matters of the heart. The danger in taking the stage is overshadowed by the fill to bewilder, and I cannot wait to see what happens in the finale act of this duology.
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I don't think it was fair on either the author or readers to compare this novel to the Night Circus. Very few books if any are likely to measure up to that comparison and Where dreams descend is not similar to Night Circus in any way. Basically its just 'OK' - the world building, characters and writing are just OK and similar to many other YA fantasy especially with regards to the romance aspect and the love triangle.

 Overall it was entertaining enough in terms of the plot and the descriptions of the setting were interesting but ultimately I was underwhelmed. I didn't really connect with either the writing or the characters although I did like the character of the Master and I found him intriguing. The other main characters however were insipid and I wasn't drawn to them. 

In conclusion I was disappointed as I wanted to love this but thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read and review this book
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Kallia is the star showgirl at a secret nightclub, but no one knows what she looks like hidden behind her mask. When she escapes to the city Glorian, she enters a competition for magicians. She is the only female magician in the competition. Kallia catches the eye of Demarco, a retired magician with a dark past who is judging the competition. Things spin out of control when contestants go missing and everyone gets closed down in the city.

The magic in this world was different from typical fantasy novels. The magicians were born with their talent, which was a performative magic with illusions and transformations. Some had more skill than others, but the magic would wear out the magician after the performance. This kind of magic seemed more real, because it reminded me of watching magicians or illusionists perform on a stage or on TV, rather than the fantastic magic in other fantasy novels.

This story was exciting and unpredictable. The competition was largely a mystery to the magicians, with their props given to them right as they had to perform. They couldn’t prepare for the act ahead of time, so the performances were a surprise for the judges and the reader. There were some hints about the characters’ mysterious pasts given throughout the story. I still had some questions at the end of the story, so I’m looking forward to learning the rest in the next book.

This is a great, magical story!

Thank you Wednesday Books for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Loved everything about this book and will impatiently awaiting book 2. I hope it comes out soon I can’t wait to find out what happens next.
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Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles is beautifully written. I am so glad that I got the exclusive edition from Owlcrate because I love it. The characters are very well done in this book. I would like to start with them.

First we have Kallia. Kallia is the star of the show. Literally. She has a great personality. I loved her right away. She has been trapped inside of Hellfire House her whole life dreaming of escape. I found that Kallia is super relatable because she feels stuck. All she wants in life is to move forward but she is terrified of the past that she is leaving behind. I felt like this was something that all readers could relate too. Next you have Daron Demarco. Daron is a young and very powerful magician. Daron is on a mission to find his missing sister. I think his story is one that is quite interesting. These two make up our point of view characters and I found them quite interesting.

Then I feel like if you are a fan of Caraval like I am, then you are going to love Jack. Also known as The Master. We get these small mysterious glimpses that keep you guessing. It made me really excited to know what will happen in book two with Jack. I really want more of him. Jack is a character that is always on Kallia's mind and we aren't sure why he has had Kallia holed up in hellfire house for so long.

My only negatives for the book is I wish there was a bit more world building. I would like to understand this world that I have gotten myself into a bit better. Especially the magic system. It doesn't seem to be a huge part of the story, but it is there. I also was not a fan about how the story began. The first two chapters really made me want to give up all together. I can definitely say from experience push through if you can because this book is a little treasure. I can't wait for more.
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This book is about a magical competition in a dark, corrupted city. Our main character Kallia escapes the clutches of her master/instructor, Jack, and flees to this city to participate in a (confusing and poorly described) magical competition. Like a bad ghost documentary ~~something in the city doesn't like them~~ and magicians keep getting picked off like daisies. Meanwhile, Kallia engages in a drawn-out flirtation with one of the judges, a "retired" magician who has some secrets of his own.

As other reviewers have pointed out, there are plenty of questions presented by the story, but nothing is actually answered. Why was Jack keeping Kallia caged up and what connection does he have to this city? Furthermore, what's the deal with this city? And what really happened to this magician - Demarco's assistant? Don't get too invested in any of those mysteries, because you'll have to wait until 2021 when they'll be answered. If they'll be answered.

I don't read many YA series, so maybe I'm unused to the formula - but HOW is it okay with readers that they're asked to invest money and time into what is essentially an incomplete story? Series of all lengths are fine, but each book needs to be it's own thing, and ideally, it should be able to stand on its own. Where Dreams Descend is - at best - half of a story. This whole "let's make one book into two because authors and publishers like money" thing makes my blood boil.
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Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy for review. 

I assumed I would love this as soon as I heard Phantom of the Opera, and oh my gosh did I ever love this! The setting and the writing were so atmospheric. I was thoroughly hooked by chapter 2. The setting was fantastic. We follow Kallia, a former showgirl, as she flees her master to take part in a magic competition. The town itself felt like a whole other character. It felt dangerous, a little unsettling and shrouded in mystery. 

The characters were all wonderfully flawed. I really enjoyed the dynamic between Kallia and her master (who I can't wait to learn more about). Marco became more interesting as the story went on. He, like all the other characters, wears many masks and hides many lies. The competition part was honestly fine. I did enjoy the way it showcased the different ways the magic takes form in this world, it just didn't feel as important as I thought it would. 

The pace did start out a bit slow, but I enjoyed the build up. The way the characters and magic built up to the cliff hanger was really well done. This cliff hanger is low key killing me. Overall I absolutely adore this world and these characters. If you like Phantom of the Opera, and Caraval I would definitely give this book a shot.
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This book did not live up to my expectations, unfortunately. I didn't think the initial world/magic system setup was great. Honestly, at the end of the book I felt like I hadn't really learned anything. I had all the same information that I had at the beginning of the book and I was so confused as to what was going on.

I liked Kallia as a character, but I didn't feel like her backstory matched how she acted. She supposedly grew up super sheltered with Jack (and his dad), but when she gets to the city, she acts super street smart. I just would have expected her to be a little more naive.

I really liked the overall concept of this book. The performances and the circus were both really great elements that I was excited to read about, but everything else was just too confusing. I probably won't continue with the series.

Overall Rating: 3
Language: Mild
Violence: Moderate
Smoking/Drinking: Mild
Sexual Content: Mild

Note: I received this book free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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I wanted to love this book. I TRIED to love this book. I honestly thought I would fly through WHERE DREAMS DESCEND. The description is everything I love about YA Fantasy Books. Somehow its' months later and I still haven't made it past Act II (approx 50 pages in) and I'm not connecting with the plot or the characters. I'm not driven to pick up the book and read more. This makes me so sad!
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In this mysterious and magical debut by Janelle Angeles, we follow our main character Kallia, a feminine, strong and powerful magician who will not let other people define who she is. The story follows Kallia has she enters a magician contest despite the unapproval of the master, Jack, of where she resides; the hellfire house. Upon arrival to the strange and mysterious city of Glorian where secrets are everywhere, the story unravels quickly to many twists and turns. The city is not what she thought it would be and the people aren’t as welcoming has she might have hoped. Kallia’s journey is an important one. everyday she fights for gender equality and for recognition as the powerful magician she is. Despite angering many with her determination to win the ”Spectaculore” contest, Kallia does not let anything stop her, she shows no fear.

While reading, we meet many intriguing characters who bring many mysteries and questions with them, especially, Daron. An ex-magician who doesn’t perform anymore who is now judge of the competition and who the town likes to share many rumours as to why he doesn’t perform anymore. A forbidden romance arises between Daron and Kallia but neither of them dares to make the first step, too many secrets and mysteries are keeping them apart.

What is Daron’s secret? What is the town’s secret? Why was Jack so against Kallia’s entering the competition? Will he figure out she left the house of hellfire for Glorian? Who will win the competition? Will Kallia make it through?

If a magical and whimsical setting about a mysterious town and forbidden romance is something that interest you then you should definitely give this one a shot. Janelle Angeles’ debut did not disappoint. I will be anxiously waiting for the sequel, When the Night Breaks, which is expected to come out early June 2021!
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