Book Review: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Title: Where Dreams Descend
Series: Kingdom of Cards #1
Author: Janella Angeles
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Tropes: Magicians, Love Triangle, Competition
Edition/Pages: Hardcover, 464 Pages
Goodreads page

I received an ARC copy of this from Wednesday Books via Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review


A ruined city invites magicians to face off in a game of magical feats. The winner will become the next headliner of the famous Conquering Circus. But the contestants find themselves threatened by unseen dangers. And each act becomes more dangerous than the one before.

Kallia is a powerful showgirl and magician determined to win. Jack is keeper of Hellfire House and determined to get Kallia back. And Demarco is the powerful ex-magician turned judge with a dark, mysterious past.


➸ POV: 3rd Person, Multi-POV

➸ Kallia: ‘The Star’, Magician, Abandoned as a child, Taken in and grew up in Hellfire House, Trapped, Wants to escape to nearby town

➸ Jack: ‘The Master’, Owner of Hellfire House, Magician, Taught Kallia magic

➸ Daron Demarco: ‘The Magician’, 18, Judge for Conquering Circus, Stopped performing magic 2 years ago, Family is the Patrons/Keepers of The Gate

Content Warnings: Sexism, Misogyny, Abusive & Manipulative behavior, Captivity, Death/Disappearance of loved ones

My Thoughts

This book is a little difficult for me to review because this first 90% of this was a 5 star read! But I’m so confused by this ending… I feel like I have more questions than when this book began! 

First off – Janella Angeles’ writing blew me away. I was so immersed in this world. Everything about this was so atmospheric and magical. I felt like I was pulled into this world and held captive there every time I picked this up. I will read literally anything this author writes from here on out. 

This book was really action packed. From the very beginning, the plot starts moving and never really slow down. I loved all the different perspectives throughout this book – it created so much natural tension getting insight from other characters. I was so intrigued by every single character. You could tell that every character, no matter how small, was fully developed.

I loved Kallia in all her unlikeable glory. She was so stubborn and difficult and I loved it. I loved how she embraced her femininity while still fighting for what she wanted. We need more female characters who aren’t boxed into a specific archetype – and Kallia (and all the side characters) were that. I loved layered, flawed characters and she was the perfect example in my opinion.

Controversial opinion – but I love me a love triangle. And this one is pique. With all the secrets and unanswered questions, I honestly cannot tell who is the bad guy (or end game). I intrigued by both Jack and Demarco for very different reasons and I can’t wait to get my hands on book 2 to see how this all plays out!

My 2 minor complaints are kind of connected – I don’t totally understand the magic. And I think I don’t quite understand it because I don’t quite understand the world. Which made the ending extremely confusing. Because like… what happened? Who was in the mirror? Am I supposed to know these people? 

However! I could see this being a book I revisit after finishing the duology and increase my rating to a 5 star. I think I just wanted at least a couple of questions answered by the end of this! 

Overall this book was magical, captivating, and had me hanging on every single word. Janella Angeles is definitely an author I will be looking out for – her writing is flawless and I’m desperate for more. I honestly have no idea how I’m going to make it until the sequel is released next year – I need answers! If you want a really atmospheric fantasy with strong female characters, definitely check this out!!

Links to Purchase
(Not affiliate links)

Physical Copy
Audio Copy


9 thoughts on “Book Review: Where Dreams Descend (Kingdom of Cards #1) by Janella Angeles

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