• ★★-2

Review: Where Dreams Descend by Janella Angeles (Spoiler-Free)

~ Thank you to NetGalley and Wednesday Books for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for this release and sending me an early copy in exchange for an honest review ~

DNF @ 74% I'm so sad that I didn't love this one. I really, really wanted to. Since I heard the synopsis, I'd been dying to get my hands on a copy, and when I was approved for an ARC I was elated! And then, when it showed up in my OwlCrate in this gorgeous edition, I thought it was meant to be. Clearly, that was not the case. This book didn't work for me for a lot of reasons, but it wasn't an entirely negative experience. While I realized that the positives weren't enough to get me to want to continue, they should still be recognized. Pros - Aaros is a KING and was legitimately the only character I liked and felt like could possibly be a real human being, which is funny considering he's a side character, but oh well - one of the pros is the "prose" ha! but really, the writing in here when it came to description was solid (the dialogue on the other hand... we'll come back to that) - the beginning setting of this book was so cool. I loved the greenhouse and the dance studio aspect, the mirrors breaking, and Jack in general. However, Kallia quickly leaves to a new location and set of events, which I found to be... lacking Cons - the dialogue. I feel kind of bad saying this, but the dialogue and the way in which characters interact in this book is so cringeworthy it really ruined any hopes of me enjoying most scenes. I could feel the author trying to appeal to a certain audience, and unfortunately I feel like that audience was Wattpad readers (no shade to Wattpad readers, but that's really not the vibe I'm trying to find in the books I read) [the one that literally made me decide to stop reading this book is when a judge suggestively asks what Daron and Kallia had been doing alone together and THIS is what happens in response: "Without a word, he neared Judge Bouquet, calmly and sure-footed, as though he were walking up to shake his hand. The judge barely had enough time to wipe his sneer off before Demarco's fist cracked against the old man's jaw, sending him to the floor." IM SORRY WHAT NOW? Is that not the most random Wattpad-y response you have ever seen?? Also, don't forget the scene just continues like that didn't just happen after that! So fun! So realistic and normal!] - the pacing is so incredibly slow my god. The plot is very, very simple, which can work in some cases, but here... no. Nothing new started happening in the book until literally ¾ of the way through And now, drumroll please............ The Worst Offense: The Infuriating Repetition! I cannot TELL you how many times I was told that Demarco (aka Daron- why does he have two names??) was struck by his past. Over half of this book is repetitive scenes used to get Demarco to have a negative reaction to magic because of the accident in the past. I got 74% of the way through this book and STILL have never been shown what that is. It's quite hard to literally care at all about his random magic aversion when it's shoved down our throats BUT ONLY THROUGH SHEER TELLING AND LITERALLY ZERO SHOWING. After like the fifth incident of this I no longer had any hope of ever being able to stand him. The same kind of applies to Kallia sadly... but to a lesser extent. Of course being a female magician in this male dominated field is very hard and unfair and I genuinely like the idea of exploring that in this book. However, the way it was handled here... boy oh boy was it not what I was hoping for. Kallia takes it to an extent of assuming any and all males are constantly intimidated by and/or are attracted to her. There is not one moment where she doesn't think the world revolves around her. I truly do wish I could have resonated with her more, because I get the struggle she would feel in this world, but the way she handles it WOW I could not stand it. Overall, I'm really disappointed with what happened here. If you want to read this story but without the insufferable nature that I personally found within it, definitely check out Caraval by Stephanie Garber.

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