by Janella Angeles
Publication: October 5, 2021
Series: Kingdom of Cards #2
**Please proceed with caution. There may be spoilers for book 1 Where Dreams Descend.**
**I received a copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**
When Night Breaks (2021) immediately picks up after the events of the first book. Kallia finds herself in a different world alongside Jack. Still reeling from his betrayal, Kallia is reluctant to work with him, but in this Glorian-like city, there are few people she can trust.
This was a difficult review to write, and I’ve been holding onto it for a while. I finished reading the book last year, but I had so many mixed feelings about it. When I finished Where Dreams Descend, I was excited about the sequel because it ended with a cliffhanger and a new world. I immediately delved into When Night Breaks but found the story less engaging and even repetitive at times.
The world-building, like in the first book, is superb. Angeles’s vivid descriptions painted for me a city similar to Las Vegas with its bright lights and people who never sleep. This world was even more dangerous than Glorian and infinitely creepier. I would love for Angeles to return to this world…and for more Jack.
While the world-building is a highlight of the novel, Kallia and Jack kept me anchored to the story. The trials Kallia undergoes in the first book are nothing compared to what she must overcome here. She’s smart. She’s stubborn. She’s strong. She’s a survivor. She’s also increasingly frustrating in her interactions with Jack, especially because he tries to make amends. Her feelings for him are true to her character, and I can’t exactly fault her for that, but I wanted to conk her over the head a few times. I willingly admit I am completely biased toward Jack, so my sympathies run toward him.
Jack is a morally grey character with a soft spot for Kallia. There is more Jack in this book and greater insight into his story, but he’s also hardly present. Considering their current predicament, they did not interact as much as I hoped they would. It was their relationship I was hoping would be fleshed out, but I was disappointed when it was not explored thoroughly–at least not in the way I wanted it to be. Additionally, I wanted him to have an ending he deserved, and it did not happen. Again, I’m also completely biased when it comes to Jack. (I’m trying to be transparent as possible. Ha!)
Overall, I love the unique world Angeles created, and I loved Jack even more. His relationship with Kallia doesn’t get the resolution I crossed my fingers for. Despite this outcome, I still hoped for closure, and I didn’t quite get that either, which is likely why the ending left me feeling hollow. I’ve concluded that I have a love-hate relationship with the duology. When Night Breaks puts Where Dreams Descend into better perspective. I much prefer the first book but the second book does provide some answers, even if it’s not the ones I wanted. I may reread Where Dreams Descend in whole again but might not be able to do the same for When Night Breaks