When books are often compared to established pieces of media, they hold the promise of being as good as them, and Janella Angeles did not disappoint when her Kingdom of Cards duology met with expectations that came with its comparison to renowned stage musicals such as Moulin Rouge and Phantom of the Opera.
I always find it hard to get aquainted to a new world and system of magic as most books have been similar in ways that they're hard to separate one from the other, but Janella's expert hands in writing this duology have made her books distinctive enough through its complex characters tangled in this intricate web of mystery and deceit, which closely reminded me of Christopher Nolan's characters from The Prestige. More so, the descriptive stage performances that made me feel like I'm seeing them through the eyes of her characters' audience were so impressive that I had to pause reading some of those parts out of nostalgia and remembrance from the personal experience of performing on stage in my high school and university years. It felt like every word pulled me into the fictional world of Glorian and that I belonged as one of its spectators too.
I guess what also makes this duology a genius craft by Janella is its subtle nods to Phantom of the Opera's dark and sensual tone, and how elements from it were used as central figures to the duology: the mirrors, the chandelier, the manipulative, romantic anti-hero; they're all right there in its context and I love how she pulled these elements from a known classic and twisted them as her own to fit into her imaginative, fantasy novels.
All in all, the Kingdom of Cards duology by Janella Angeles delivered with a dazzling, show-stopping, and spellbinding story that shouldn't be missed by readers. Highly recommended for all!
Thank you to Netgalley and Wednesday Books for the complimentary e-ARC of When Night Breaks in exchange for an honest review.
Where Dreams Descend: 5/5
When Night Breaks: 5/5