Author: Janella Angeles
Publisher: Wednesday Books
First Published: 07 April 2020
“Don’t you know the basics of show business? Everything is war on a stage many people want to claim.”
I will start by saying that I was given an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review. These opinions are my own. Thank you so much Meghan Harrington and team at Wednesday Books for sending a copy my way. I am very thankful for be part of this Blog Tour.
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.
Magical competitions and circus are two of my favourite things to see in a fantasy novel. So I had to get my hands on a copy of Where Dreams Descend and I’m happy to say this doesn’t disappoint.
Where Dreams Descend is a debt fantasy that follows female magician, Kallia, as she enters a competition where the winner will be the new headlining act of the Conquering Circus. She dreams of being more than just a showgirl. Kallia needs to win or risks losing her newfound freedom. She has escaped from outlaw club, the Hellfire House, and teacher Jack.
This narrative is told in multiple perspectives by Kallia, Jack and Demarco. However, most of the story is told about Kallia’s perspective, which makes sense as Kallia is the main focus.
I was pleasantly surprised at the feminist undertones. Kallia is the only female in the competition. She is constantly faced with ridicule. The judges and the other competitors belittle her performances and are quick to blame her when magicians start going missing. Despite this, Kallia faces every challenge head-on and does not let it bother her. I’m in awe of her strength and how she never backed away from her goal.
I adore the friendship between Kallia and her assistant Aaros. It’s refreshing to see a platonic relationship between a male and female character in young adult fiction. It’s the kind of friendship where do you don’t need to explain yourself and the other person will be there for you no questions asked.
I love that the magic system is based on the magic and magicians that we see in our world. It’s a natural exaggeration. I adore the showmanship and the performance elements which plays into the Moulin Rouge vibe.
I’m intrigued by the history of Glorian. There are four founding families — The Alastors, The Fravardis, The Vierras and The Ranzas — each is represented by the symbol from the card suites. Also, none of the townspeople can recall what happened to them. The creepy, cursed town has a Hotel California feel. Once you get in, enjoy your stay because you sure not leaving anytime soon.
I found the story slow to start as it does take a little bit to get into the swing of the magical competition. Also, I wished that it played more into the overall moody and gothic tone.
The mystery of Glorian had me guessing until the very end. I cannot wait for the sequel because wow that ending! I have so many questions and we have to wait a year to find out what happens! Perfect for fans of circus in books and those who loved Caraval.