**2.5-stars rounded up**
Where Dreams Descend is sadly my Serpent & Dove of 2020.
A book that everyone else seems to be loving and I’m over here like…
As with S&D, I really didn’t start to enjoy this until around the 80% point. Unlike S&D however, I am not sure if I will even care to pick up the sequel when it releases.
I’m sad about it. I had such high hopes for this, but unfortunately this story just didn’t work for me.
The story begins with our protagonist, Kallia, working as a performer in a club, The Hellfire House, owned by the mysterious, Jack.
She has larger plans for herself, however, and sets her sights on a magical competition set to be held in the nearby city of Glorian.
In order to enter, something a woman wouldn’t normally do, she must first break free of Jack and Hellfire House.
Making her way through the cursed woods alone, Kallia does make it to the city and promptly meets a young man, Aaros, who immediately becomes her best friend, confidant and stage assistant. He also became, in my opinion, the best character in the book.
As with any competition, there must be judges. Enter romantic interest, Daron DeMarco, a retired stage magician himself, who becomes enchanted with Kallia and her power.
There are other competitors as well, but of course, Kallia far exceeds them all, both in performance powers and overall everything else.
Once the magical competition begins, it becomes clear, something is off in the city of Glorian.
Other competitors go missing, or are severely injured and Kallia begins to be haunted in her rooms.
In spite of the chaos, the show must go on and Kallia is determined to win. DeMarco watches anxiously from the sidelines as she continually tries to one up her competition.
While this Dark Magical Fantasy has a lot of elements that should have worked for me, it just didn’t. It felt disjointed and like nothing was really happening, even though on page, plenty was.
I know that makes no sense, but it was like the dramatic plot points didn’t really matter. It was nothing I cared about or felt compelled to know more about.
Kallia was one of the most arrogant characters I have ever read. I understand she was ambitious and needed to be portrayed as strong, but it’s hard to have an arc showing any growth when the character already claims to know it all.
Not only was she eons above any of the other contestants, she was also more skilled than anyone else in the world.
Okay, enough about that. I think it is fairly clear how I feel about Kallia.
On a brighter note, DeMarco and Aaros were both saving graces for me. DeMarco was quite interesting. I loved his quiet humility and learning more about his backstory.
Some of the dark moments interested me as well. There were some sections involving mirrors, or the characters being magically trapped within the town, that I found compelling; I wish there had been more of that.
As mentioned above, around the 80% point, I started to feel like the flow was a lot stronger and I liked where the relationship between Kallia and DeMarco was going.
Unfortunately, enjoying only 20% of a book, isn’t enough for me to be able to give it a higher rating.
I do think that the story left off in a great place. I’m not sure if I will pick the sequel up or not, but I will definitely keep it in mind for when the time comes.
Thank you so much to the publisher, Wednesday Books, for providing me with a copy of this to read and review. Although this didn’t work for me, I am definitely in the minority!
((The World to Me)):