Cover Image: Where Dreams Descend

Where Dreams Descend

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Member Reviews

Coming into this story, I really thought this was a standalone for some reason, so upon finishing this, I was shocked and confused to realize that wasn't the case and I had reframe my entire read which wasn't a bad thing as it made me realize that I enjoyed it more than I would have if it was a standalone. 

<b>Where Dreams Descend</b> is written beautifully. It’s magical and flows smoothly. The atmospheric writing allows one to truly get immersed into the magic of the story. 

Kallia, is a female magician breaking into the man’s world of magic. The strength and grace she has while doing this is wonderful. She is not afraid to challenge the status quo on bit and frequently had such quick retorts for comments or actions that were meant to bring her down. No matter how many times the men tried to knock her down, her confidence never wavered. She knew what she could do and was determined to show everyone up and really let them know what she was capable of. Kallia is a stunning character. 

The romance in this novel is slow-burn which was perfect. I love slow-burn romances and this one had me gripped. It was perfect as this whole novel in general had a slow-burn pace to it and I feel like anything else easily could have ruined the atmospheric vibe it had. 

The mystery in this book had me questioning so much. I really had no idea what was going on, in fact, I still don’t. Left on a cliffhanger, I’m eagerly awaiting the next release to see what happens and how the rest of the story unfolds.
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I have always been a fan of the circus, not the animals which were sad, but the magic, the artistry and the family that seemed to exist. This books examines all of those aspects as the characters vie for the top spot, even if it costs them their lives. The story is as dynamic as the circus and the high flying action keeps the reader on the edge of their seat!
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I really enjoyed this book. The amount of magic that was in the book was unbelievable. This book really made me feel like I was on the side lines through every hurtle they went through.
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My Highly Caffeinated Thought: A richly compelling tale of magic and desire which pushes the boundaries of what women in this world can truly do. 

WHERE DREAMS DESCEND is one of those books that will stay with you long after you close the cover and anxiously await the sequel. The layers built into the story by the author make it downright addictive. 

What I loved the most about this book is how woven into this elaborate narrative of magic, competitions, and mysterious happenings, Kallia is grounded in her need to prove herself. She will be a female magician and wow them all, even if the cost could be greater than she even knows. There is a strong feminist message hidden between the lines of the entertaining events. In addition, there is such a wonderful balance of grandiose moments with personal ones. The author truly thinks of the whole of the story while she allows her characters to grow and become who they are meant to be.

Angeles gifts her readers with eloquent prose, thrilling theatrical performances, and an ending that made this reader gasp. I truly cannot wait for the next book to come out. I have not had this desire since I finished CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber.
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Where Dreams Descend gave me echoes of Shadowland by Peter Straub.  The magicians competition as a central theme was excellent.  As the characters act out their parts in the competition, we will see how their competitors fail, then just disappear.  The MC has strength and talent but can she defeat the magic behind the contest to become the best of the best?  This is a duology so I will have to wait to find how this journey will end.
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When I had heard this book being compared to Caraval I immediately needed to read it. While it’s not exactly what I was looking for it was exactly what I needed. This is a must read for sure.
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Disclaimer: I’m only 25% through this magnificent book and really liking whatever is happening right now and looking forward to some jaw dropping moments that I sense are coming 😉. I'd put up this on my blog too because of a blog tour. 

From the first page, the author captivates you and draws you into her dark and glitzy world of magic and illusions. The writing is reminiscent of The Night Circus and The Gilded Wolves with the world building being absolutely lush and beautiful.

It has multiple point of views- our ambitious, badass, butt kicking protagonist Kallia, who wants to showcase her magical prowess to the world; our rakish illusionist with too many secrets up his sleeves who wants to protect Kallia from the world outside, Jack and finally Demarco, the brooding judge with his dripping sass, who I can’t wait to know more about. *sigh*

As the initial pages draw you in, at a very languid pace like the caress of a lovers finger gently trailing up your arms, with some electrifying sexual tension, Angeles flips the dynamic and the scene becomes absolutely fast paced and chaotic and she maintains this throughout (till where I’ve read).

The story is brimming with intrigue and there are all these elements of gender inequality and heavy sexism, comparable with present times, but we see Kallia handling it all with dignity and her endless resilience.

There’s some confusion for me at the moment, which is expected 🙈, and the writing comes of as quite embellished at times, but I can’t wait to finish this fab fantasy!

“You’re too ambitious for your own good Kallia.”

“And what’s so terrible about that? What do I have to be ambitious about here.”

Giving star rating according to the point I'd reached for now. Longer review to come.
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I ended up DNFing this book.
It was so slow and I just couldn't get into it. I tried a few times, but I just couldn't get more than 16% into it.
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I wanted to enjoy this book and the premise was interesting enough. However, the pacing was quite slow and the characters just ended up lacking for me. I found myself putting it down often and having trouble picking it back up.
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Thank you Netgalley and the publisher for giving me an e-arc of the book. 

I really wanted to like this book but I ended up DNFing it, The starting of the book was sucked me in and was really intriguing, However, the plot became extremely slow after a few chapters and was really hard to get through. I really tried to push myself to keep reading but I just couldn't.
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Absolutely Stunning! Any Caraval lovers will adore this book without question. 
The world building and magical system were constructed wonderfully 
You can just feel how much this author loves her book through the way her character grows and develops and how the plot unravels
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I went into this with such high hopes but walked away disappointed. The pacing was painfully show, the characters were not likable, and the storyline was dull. I found myself quickly not caring what was happening in this and chose to sat the book down without finishing.
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I found this book really hard to read. The chapters were either overly long or too short. I found the world building to be either nonexistent or too dense to really understand. The concept was amazing but the plot took too long to work itself out and set up. I found it hard to really understand or care about the characters. This may be an editing issue but I found this book very easy to put down. I really wanted to like it but sadly it just did not work for me.
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I really wanted to LOVE this book - but I've been stuck about halfway through it for weeks now. I guess it's time to give up and admit defeat. The characters were confusing, the storyline a bit flat. I kept waiting for something SPECTACULAR to happen, but it never did. Maybe I didn't give it enough time, but halfway through - something should have happened by now.
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anella Angeles admires sensational and theatrical storytelling, so it’s no wonder that her debut novel “Where Dreams Descend” (out Aug. 25) draws inspiration from the films “The Phantom of the Opera” and “Moulin Rouge!” as well as Erin Morgenstern’s fantasy novel “The Night Circus.” These tragic yet beautiful love stories told through vibrant visual lenses left big impressions on a young Angeles, a developing storyteller herself. The soundtracks that often played throughout her childhood home wove their way into her craft in more ways than one. Bold, daring and heartfelt are just some of the words to describe Angeles’ novel about a showgirl-turned-magician in an enchanted world determined to see her fail.

The first kernel of this story came to Angeles when she wondered, “What if Christine [from ‘Phantom of the Opera’] — a beautiful, talented ingénue who is timid and afraid — instead owned her talent and owned the stage?” The confident Kallia burst from Angeles’ desire to see a more active heroine come to terms with her dark past. “In a world where men rule the stage of magic, it’s been a public secret that any woman who dares rarely makes it into the spotlight,” Angeles writes in the prologue. Kallia enters the “Spectaculore” magic competition with public opinion already stacked against her, but as the contest proceeds to further rounds and her fellow contestants begin mysteriously vanishing, the townspeople are eager to make her a scapegoat.

The deliciously dark and fantastical atmosphere of “Where Dreams Descend” is reminiscent of that in “The Night Circus,” another novel that hinges on a life-altering magic competition. But another source of inspiration for the Spectaculore was the reality TV show “Wizard Wars,” where expert magicians use random props to create original routines. While watching it, Angeles didn’t consciously notice that most of the contestants were men until the first woman magician took the stage, and in a mind-blowing realization, she thought, “Where have you been?”

When most people think of magicians, they think of Harry Houdini, David Copperfield or the duo Penn & Teller. According to The Takeaway, which reported on the lack of female magicians in February 2020, there are very few female magicians. Only 7.5% of the members of the Society of American Magicians, the world’s oldest magic organization, are women. There are so few that female performers are often mistaken for assistants. Angeles decided to carry over that climate in her novel. She posits that the more visible you are, the more you have power and credibility. Kallia uses sensational magic tricks and bright outfits to emphasize the power she wields as a magician so she can’t possibly be ignored.

The way magic operates in “Where Dreams Descend” is a reflection of the creative process. In the novel, there is a divide between people who are born with their talent and people who can train to siphon magic from the air. This magic system mirrors Angeles’ fascination with how some artists are naturally gifted, and others have to go to school to painstakingly study their craft. “It’s an interesting concept to translate into magic,” Angeles says. “A lot of characters still have misconceptions. Kallia has innate ability but it’s still hard work, and it takes a toll on her even though she loves to do it.”

“Where Dreams Descend” was actually Angeles’ “rebound” novel after her first novel on submission failed to gain any traction with editors. The Boston-based author had signed with her literary agent in 2016 with a young adult pirate fantasy. Although that manuscript taught her the importance of revision, critique and building a community of writer friends, that story was sadly not her ticket to becoming a published author. But within a few months, she posted a #NovelAesthetic mood board to Twitter with red and black photos of theater stages, cards and mirrors — the motifs from the “Twisted tale of [her] heart ft daring showgirls & dueling magicians.” That tweet piqued the interest of many, including Angeles’ now-editor.

Writing “Harry Potter” fan fiction was some of Angeles’ first attempts at writing in earnest. She credits it as “the best writing teacher,” because she learned how to find her voice, establish discipline with her writing process and navigate internet trolls. “There’s something very addictive about this type of storytelling,” Angeles says. “When you read it, you can feel the joy of the writer. They love these characters and this world so much and they put their spin on it.” Fanfiction, retellings and re-imaginings also allow readers to acknowledge the original work’s shortcomings (or even overt problems), and explore how a different author might have approached those issues differently.

When Angeles thinks of “Phantom,” she first remembers her love of the music and the story, and it’s easy to forget the controlling nature of the Phantom’s relationship with Christine. “You’re so overcome from the passion of the cast singing, people put blinders on,” she says. “I wanted to explore a Phantom that gets called out. Does he even feel bad about the things he has done emotionally? Is there regret on the Phantom’s part?” In Angeles’ own novel, Kallia has complicated feelings about her former instructor, Jack. When she discovers a dark secret he kept hidden from her, she has trouble reconciling Jack’s past actions with the person who helped her hone her magic skills over the years.

Angeles feels that Raoul never earned his spot as Christine’s default love interest in “Phantom,” so when she wanted to create romantic tension for Kallia with the adversarial Spectaculore judge Daron, Angeles looked elsewhere for inspiration. Kallia’s show-stopping stardom is a natural parallel to Satine’s in “Moulin Rouge!”, but unlike Satine’s love interest Christian – Daron has to earn Kallia’s trust after they get off on the wrong foot. At times, Kallia’s connection with Daron also echoes the star-crossed love between Celia and Marco in “The Night Circus.”

“I always loved romance novels, where the narrative structures explore the love interest’s voice," Angeles says. "You can see how they react to the other person walking in the room and what secrets they hold.” So in “Where Dreams Descend,” readers also get glimpses into Jack’s and Daron’s own conflicting feelings about this talented ingénue.

After pouring so much of herself and her grief into the pirate fantasy novel that didn’t get picked up by a publisher, Angeles lost the joy of writing and almost thought she didn’t have any other stories left in her. Eventually, she knew the only way she could get out of the cycle of self-doubt was to write herself out of that darkness. By writing Kallia, a character who persistently chases her dreams even though the path is rocky and unknown, Angeles found she was empowered to handle her own obstacles to achieving her dreams of becoming a published author. “Being able to channel her in my writing was so healing,” she says. “Now, I’m glad this story is my debut. It feels like it was meant to be.”
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After reading Caraval a couple years ago, I am a bit wary of magician type books because I didn't like Caraval as much as everyone else seems to. Luckily, Where Dreams Descend surprised me and I really enjoyed it. From the beginning, my intrigue about the characters (Kallia, Jack, Demarco) and where the plot was going made me sit up in my chair and listen with anticipation. I finished it in only a few days because I just had to keep listening to hear what would happen next. The way it ended too, wow, I have to know what will happen in the next book. The audiobook is really well done with narrators I've heard and enjoyed before (Imani Jade Powers & Steve West) and the beautiful descriptions and character moments will keep you turning the pages or keeping you listening and finding things to do all-around your house so you can listen longer and be absorbed in the magical world.
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I really enjoyed this book! I got some Phantom of the Opera vibes and it was so hard to put down. I loved Caraval when I read it, so if you also liked that series I think you will enjoy this book as well. Where Dreams Descend was so dark, fun, and an overall great read.
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Unfortunately this was a DNF for me. While I appreciated the plot I found the writing to be very slow and couldn’t find myself getting into the plot or investing in the characters.
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I loved this so much! The book was so well written from the plot to the characters to the setting. I loved this magic system as well. I fell like I’ve never read anything quite like it.
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I wanted to love this, it sounded so fun. Unfortunately, I found the writing so overdramatic that I couldn't look past it. The characters also didn't appeal to me. I finally decided this book wasn't for me. I won't be posting any negative reviews since I couldn't bring myself to finish it. I really hope this book finds its intended readers who love it.
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