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The Eagle's Cry

The Student News Site of Bethpage High School

The Eagle's Cry

The Student News Site of Bethpage High School

The Eagle's Cry

Idle Talk: Steph Garber

Idle Talk: Steph Garber

If you were to ask me what the best birthday present to receive is, my answer may take you by surprise. An author publishing a book may not mean anything to someone, but to me, that is revolutionary. 

On October 24, 2023, New York Times best-selling author Stephanie Garber released her sixth novel, A Curse For True Love. This was the third and final book in part of her Once Upon A Broken Heart series which is a spin-off of her Caravel trilogy. 

In Caravel, readers follow protagonist Scarlett Dragna, a girl fascinated by a performance that occurs once a year in which the audience participates in the show. However, she has never been invited until now. But, when she finally visits Caravel, she realizes her sister, Tella, was kidnapped and the show revolves around her now. Whoever finds Tella first wins. If Scarlett does not find Tella, her sister will forever disappear. The only trick is: it’s only a game, so don’t get too swept away. 

In the next two installments, Garber continues the story of Caravel and introduces new characters.

One of these characters is Jacks, also known as the Prince of Hearts, a Fate (demi-gods who used to once rule the world centuries ago that were banished into a deck of cards by a witch.) He is introduced as a malicious and cruel non-human whose kiss will kill all but one— his true love.

His story continues in Garber’s spin-off series, Once Upon A Broken Heart, in which readers will meet Evangeline Fox, a girl with a broken heart who seeks the Prince of Hearts for help. 

Jacks and Evangeline’s dynamic lasts through all three books: Once Upon A Broken Heart, The Ballad of Never After, and A Curse For True Love. 

It took me less than a week in August of this year to read the five books Garber published throughout her career, and the anticipation and impatient mind of my own could not have waited any longer for the final installment to release. 

When it turned out readers could divulge the final part of Jacks and Eva’s story on the day of my birthday, I knew my plans were booked on October 24th.

In less than 24 hours I consumed, laughed, cried, and grieved the entire book. 

Now, my final thoughts:

Although if you stalk my Goodreads you could find a solid five stars underneath the book review, the book wasn’t all that perfect. I think it felt like an obligation to rate such a highly anticipated book from one of my favorite series a perfect rating. Maybe it was just the feeling of finishing it and receiving exactly what I wanted, but the way we got to the end was just not great.

I believe there were many plot holes and unanswered questions—which could be answered in future spin-offs of Caravel—that left an unsatisfying taste in my mouth. So much so, it made me think about Garber’s prior final installment of Caravel—Finale—and how she ended that series. 

It finally occurred to me that Garber struggles with creating an ending to her series’. Her world-building and character developments are great and all, but it seems she ends off all of her books with satisfying the readers, but the way she does it leaves too much room for questions.

Overall, even though these books may not be perfect, they still hold a special place in my heart and I think literature doesn’t always have to be “perfect” but rather keep a connection with the reader and Stephanie Garber does just that.

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About the Contributor
Aleena Hussain
Aleena is a junior at Bethpage High School. This is her first year at The Eagle’s Cry. She loves to read, attend concerts, bake, and has a podcast with her friend. Aleena is an editor and writer on Bethpage High School’s Literary Magazine and also is a part of the school’s varsity badminton team. Her favorite thing in the world is her three cats. 

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