Booktrovert Reader Podcast

The Ballad of Never After Recap and Review

October 26, 2023 Charity the Booktrovert Reader Season 2 Episode 34
Booktrovert Reader Podcast
The Ballad of Never After Recap and Review
Booktrovert Reader Podcast
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Show Notes Transcript

Can't remember what happened in the last book of The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber? Look no more as I do a recap of this enchanting book before reading The Curse of True Love.

Join me for a special podcast episode dedicated to 'The Ballad of Never After' as I dive into Once Upon a Broken Heart enthralling series. We'll journey through the second book of the series, highlighting the most memorable moments and diving into the unanswered questions that linger. Whether you're a long-time fan or new to this enchanting world, this episode offers an in-depth look at The Ballad of Never After highlights and a comprehensive review of the captivating tale. Don't miss this chance to revisit the magic of 'The Ballad of Never After.'

Episode Mentioned:
Once Upon a Broken Heart Book With Melissa

Book Review:
The Ballad of Never After
Once Upon a Broken Heart

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The Ballad of Never After Recap and Review



 2s Hello readers. This is your host charity, the Booktrovert Reader Podcast. In this episode, I am doing a kind of a recap of a very popular series by Stephanie Garber, which is Once Upon a Broken Heart. I am recapping book two, The Ballad of Never After I fell in love with this book. The first book was great. The second book was amazing. I cannot believe the ending, and I'm so glad that I read this book weeks before the book comes out. The third book. So the third book, the third book is coming out on October 24th, and I'm so excited I have that book on pre-order, so I should be getting that book a few days out, and this episode will be live afterward. You know, if it's been a while since you read the second book, this is the podcast episode for you. Just because you can actually kind of get an idea what happened in the last book. So you can go into the third book knowing what's happening and what's happening. And so you're not like kind of asking, like what? What happened? What? Okay. So I'm excited to get into this, to dive into it. There's a lot of things that happen in this book, and I cannot wait to share it with you. Just so you know, this will have spoilers in from the book of The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber. I it will happen throughout. I'm just I'm doing a major recap of the second book. So if you haven't read this book, please, please, please go and read it first. Then come back to this episode also too. I'll put a link below of me going over the first book in the series with Melissa, another bookstore grammar that I meant. We did a big, full book review of the first book. Now we're at the second book. I'm excited to do the recap. So where we left off, we come back to Evangeline. This is when she just found out that Apollo is not dead, but he's actually just in a deep sleep, and she's doing everything she can to figure out what happened to him, you know, and to bring him back. But the problem is, is that nobody knows how to bring him back from this deep sleep. She's also trying to hide the fact that he's in this deep sleep, that he's alive and not really dead, because everyone thinks that Evangeline is the princess, is mourning his death still, and they don't want to create unrest. And plus, he's extremely vulnerable to be killed in that deep sleep. So she's trying to keep it quiet and not to let anyone know anything about it. So we're also left off, where Jax is still trying to convince Evangeline to open up the Valerie Arch, and she's adamantly refusing to do that regardless. You know Jax, like, well, you'll get rid of me if you decide to open it anyways. And she's like, no, heck no, I'm not going to do that for you. She's even going to to Lala, which is she's another fate. And she's even saying, no, I can't, I can't help you. I don't know how to help you to bring Apollo back from this deep slumber. So some of my favorite memories from the first book to the second book, the vampires. I did not expect the vampires to show up in a book like this. This is like a fairy tale type of book. And when the vampires decided to show up, I was kind of shocked about that, just because it was just such an a different element that popped up out of nowhere. I was very curious as to why that showed up, and it definitely made its appearance in the second book. The tension between Evangeline and Jax is a torturous one. If you remember from Jax, Jax is a cursed fate. If he kisses anyone but his true love, they will die. Evangeline made a deal with him a long time ago. I think she has like this one kiss left over from the deal that she made with Jax a long time ago. That's still unresolved. And now I'm thinking about it. I'm like, what about that last kiss? I wonder if that's going to play a part in the third book. Anyways, the tension between Jax and Evangeline is a long, drawn out one slow burn, one that is. Definitely a recurring theme in the second one because. Because if you remember in the first book, one of the princesses that sent Evangeline up to the north was his one Jax, one true love. Donatella flat out rejected this guy. Jax. Now for sure if he kisses anybody, it will definitely kill that that person. Evangeline and Jax during this whole throughout are kind of strongly attracted to one another, but they are also at the same time like fighting one another. Because at the end of the first book, Jax really betrayed Evangeline to trick her into opening the arch. And she's like, no, I'm not going to do it. So now we are in this, this time where I think there's a lot of feelings coming from both ends, but they're both, like at each other's throats just because of betrayal and who Jax is. Jax is going to do whatever he can to do to accomplish his task. And Evangeline, she's a sunny side up. She's always believing in the best in people, which always causes her to get into situations that is not best for her. I didn't like it so much in the first book, but in the second book I like Jax calling Evangeline Little Fox. It's kind of ballad of, you know, the archer in the Fox is playing a huge part in the second book, just because of things that I will be going over soon. I love that, and then of course, page 374, which said the end like as if that is the end, 1s which I'm going to go over as well, because that was a big plot twist for me. And I loved it at the end, and I'm all for it. The dynamic and the tension that's between Jax and Evangeline, like, I don't know, I'm always been that person that he he would make those subtle touches to Evangeline. You know, it's noticeable, but she questions if he really did touch her or was by accident. And there's a lot of encounters where there was a lot more physical touch in this scenario. So it's like bringing this angst that I'm like, oh my gosh, please just get together for crying out loud. You're meant to be. Okay, so the character evolution. So there's some characters that were really behind the scenes that got put back. And then there's some people that are popping up, but they're kind of brought back in the shadows, and it makes me wonder if we're going to be seeing them again as well. Now. They're also the kind of give a touch based on the the whole thing that Jax is after is the Valerie Arch. And with the Valerie Arch, only one person can open the arch. The arch, which is a prophesy which is a rose haired girl, can be the only one to open it, and it's supposed to hold on to a special treasure or or something like that. It seems like Jax is going after it's it's interesting because there's a mystery behind it. We don't know if there is. When you're starting the book, you don't know what this arch contains and why are people after it? We did get a brief glimpse of Marisol, which is the stepsister who is technically a witch in the storyline of the first book, but we only see her once in the whole story, and then she just kind of disappears. So I'm kind of wondering if she's going to make her appearance in the third book or this whole theory of this whole second book happened because of her, because she seems to be always in a form of jealousy, in a fit of jealousy. So I'm just saying. So we got Lala, who is a the curse of the unwed bride. She is constantly being left at the altar on the day of her wedding, so she puts up a front and Evangeline was the one who told Lala that Apollo is really alive, but you know he's under a curse. Can you help him? And she's like, no, I can't. But as the story goes forward, this is the spoiler. So if you don't want any spoilers, this is your own fault at this point, as I was saying. So Lala is the one who gave Apollo the Mirror curse and the Archer and the Fox curse. She was responsible for that because there is. She wants Evangeline to open the arch too, but we don't know why. Though it wasn't really revealed as to why she wanted Evangeline to open the arch, but there was a point in time where Lala did get to talk to Evangeline and told her, like, look, I know my my methods were awful, but my intentions were good because there's a reason behind why I want to open this arch. And I think it has to do with the fact that the reason why she became a cursed fate in the first place was because she fell in love with somebody that was taken away from her, and I think she's trying to get that back. I'm kind of curious as to what she thought she can gain from opening the Valerie Arch. We got Luke Lucien, which is Evangeline, his first love. The reason why she got into the situation with Jax in the first place was Lucien. Now, I don't know how he technically ended up in the position in the first place, but he became Apollo's heir to that kingdom. Nobody knows it. He's recognized as Prince Lucien. But you know, Lucas turned into a vampire. He was sick. He turned into a vampire. And, you know, he's come back into evangelise life. I think he plays more of a part in the story than that is letting on. But he's only playing small parts. He's we're only seeing small parts that he's participating in. And I think in the third book, we're going to figure out how involved Lucien was in the book and in the series. You know, I find it very interesting that he was showing up in a lot of key pivotal times in the story. Like they went to a ball at slaughterhouse and he was there. He showed up to the castles there. He was there, and there was a time where her life was threatened. He showed up again to go back to chaos, to get Apollo to save Selene. So I'm kind of curious that I'm, you know, how much Luke has involved with the whole story, and I think he might be involved. Chaos, for example. So we got chaos. Okay, now the big plot twist that happened was that chaos was actually Caster Marywood, which caster is the son of the Vallas? It turns out there's this big plot line of understanding Jack's past. What I understand and could remember, you know, this is the part I wish I could remember a little bit more about the details of books is that there is the Marywood three, there was caster, there was Lyriq, and there was the Archer. Okay. So there was this point where Aurora was part of that group and she was supposed to marry vengeance. Slaughter would, but she didn't want to. So she ran away. And I think in a passion of vengeance, vengeance went to kill the whole Marywood family to save Caster's life. Because I think he was stabbed. And was on the brink of death, but they saved him by turning him into vampire. He was very self destructive, killing members of the vengeance family or vengeance and family and things like that in the state of revenge. And to prevent him from doing that, they put a helmet over his face so he wouldn't feed on any more people. So I found it very interesting that Castor was alive this whole time. You know, Jax knew about it, everything. So it's very interesting. Chaos or Castor does have an a vested interest in the Valerie Arch, because it is a way for him to be able to take that, that helmet off. And if you remember about that helmet, he's going to have this thirst that he'll never be able to quench. So him being able to do that would be able to quench that thirst. So of course we got Jax. He's got gold hair instead of blue. He's more involved in the story now that that I simply love. And he has this touch her or you die a lot of times and he's always saving Evangeline from the brink of death. But at the same time, he's always putting up these walls to prevent her from getting close. So I'm I'm just. I think he's just protecting himself because he knows that technically, because he's already kissed his one true love, that she is not his one true love, and he's just going to kill her if he were to pursue those feelings. So I think him being a butthole throughout the whole story is his way of saying that I love you, but I'm going to protect you no matter what. It's it's so heartbreaking because, you know, they have a strong attraction for one another and you know that they have really great chemistry in this book. But because of his past being rejected by his one true love and things like that is so heart wrenching. So I am kind of wondering how the third book is going to address him, the one true love kiss have him doing that. So. So we also find out that he was part of the Mary Wood group and that he was an archer. As well. Archer in the Fox moment. So I'm kind of curious about who was this Fox who did he went out of his way to kill because of that. So I'm very interested in seeing more backstory on that, or if it's in the care of all series, I want to read it. So the theme that happens is that it's kind of said a few times is that in ballads there is no happy endings. Yes. This book did not technically end on a happy ending. It ended in a cliffhanger and I'm so upset. But I'm so excited to find out the next book and the archer in the Fox is, of course, a big theme, so Apollo is very. If you remember, he was the first. He was cursed to fall in love with Evangeline. And right before right before the end of the first book, the curse was broken. But he was also put in a deep sleep. And then when he. Then there was this curse that was put on him about the mirror curse, which anything that happens to Apollo happens to Evangeline. So if he gets cut, she gets cut. So there was this danger of if someone kills Apollo, it's going to kill Evangeline. And then, of course, the Archer and the Fox curse was put on Apollo as well. So what that means was that he will not rest until he kills his fox, which is Evangeline. That was the main theme of the whole story of her. Evangeline. Just always running away, avoiding Apollo to be killed. And then also, there were so many situations where Apollo gets hurt and Evangeline does as well. So. And then Jax is constantly like trying to save her from that situation without having to kill Apollo, because if he kills Apollo, then he kills Evangeline. With this curse being put on Apollo, it forced Evangeline to go, okay, if there's a backdoor way to break this curse off of Apollo, which is technically her husband, she's like, okay, I'll go and open the Valerie Arch. Well, she did discover the arch. She was able to do it with her blood, and she has, like, magic in her blood. But she realized that there's four stones that she has to get. And she learns that from chaos. The stones are luck, truth, mirth, and youth. She found out that the all four stones have magic capabilities. When they're all put together, they. They have this, like these intense magical force that's. And and some people said or some people that she have Evangeline has gone to said that this creates destructive power. And Jax would say, no, it's not the truth and all this stuff. So there's a lot of like unanswered questions as to these stones. So we found out that chaos has the one of the stones, which is the stone of luck. He's gotten that from a previous key. And what that means was, is there was actually another girl that that was almost very similar to Evangeline that was prophesied to like, oh, let me open the door like her, open the doors. Exactly how Evangeline has gone through it, but a lot sooner. But when she got the stone for luck to chaos, she unfortunately died getting the stones. So it's interesting how there is a repeat of the situation until someone fulfilled that prophecy and open the Valerie Arch. Now Evangeline had to go find the other three stones, so the other three stones were actually found throughout different places. Truth was actually found in Glendora slaughter Wood's grave. I don't know how Glendora actually got the stone, maybe was said, but she actually had to, like, go in the crypt, you know, open the tomb and get the stone from there. That's where Luke the vampire actually showed up to help her. So that's why I find it very interesting. Like I said, that he was showing up in key pivotal times of her looking for those stones. And her trying to survive. Right? So mirth was found in the merry Wood manner. So if you're familiar with the story, Evangeline had to be rushed to Mary Wood Manor by Jaques. Jaques had avoided that place for so long, but it was willing to take her there because she, Apollo, I guess, was captured and was being whipped, and because of him being whipped, she was too, with Jaques taking her to Marywood Manor. It protected the curses from happening, so it actually helped her block that curse that was that mirror curse and help her to heal and recover this mysterious lost power was in this manner. And it turned out that it was the mirth Stone, the very last stone she needed to find in the manor. It was powering the whole manor, so she was able to take that. And then, of course, a plot twist was. Of course, this book has plenty of plot twist. The stone used before she found them are stone. She found the stone youth. But that actually happened in a very in a moral way that conflicted with Evangeline morals. There was Petra. She was actually considered another key. She had the rose gold hair, same as Evangeline. But what she did was she kept the stone youth because chaos took the other stone from her. So she's like, I want to keep my youth and everything like that. And she held on to the stone. But to get that stone, Evangeline had to kill her because Petra was trying to kill the other one to kill Evangeline. So that was against Evangeline morals, because she's never really killed. Even though it was in self defense, she still felt really bad about it. For that happening. To take a little break, some of the favorite quotes of this book, you know, just to understand the dynamic of Jackson, Evangeline was don't pretend you never hurt me in order to manipulate me. You just said that if I didn't agree to open the Valerie Arch, I really start to hate you. I hurt every one little fox. But you have to be alive to hate me. His eyes iced over. I do not want you dead. And I'll kill anyone who tries. He stalks from the room. And then page 298 293. It says. She looked up and unreadable eyes as he lowered her into the bed. Do you still think of me as just a tool? Jax frowned. I try not to think of you at all. So I love you. Just see the the push and pull between Jackson and Evangeline happening quite a bit in this book, and I am loving every moment of it. So some of the mysteries and unanswered questions I have about this book is so, so many at the very end. Paulo's curse is obviously lifted the second time around, right? He he was able to steal Evangeline memories to the point where she had no idea who Jack was and all that stuff. She has no idea how she ended up there. I'm like, first off, how did he get those powers in the first place to wipe all those memories like that? And then what's his intention for making her forget everything and then coming back to her when she forgot everything and says, hey, you know, I'm your husband and everything is okay. I'm just like, what's his motivations? Another one is I get Lola's intentions was to open the Valerie Arch, but it was to save her one true love. But what exactly in it is really what she was going after? And why does she have to resort to intense measures to get Evangeline to open the arch? When I think in in reality, I think if Lala went to Evangeline, she could have convinced her because they were friends to open it. But she went a very drastic route. So when the arch was open, the surprising thing was it wasn't like a treasure or anything special, but it was actually the Mary Wood family asleep in that arch, and chaos was actually trying to be reunited with his family. So I want to know, like, why did they put themselves in a deep slumber and lock themselves in? And one place said they were actually prisoners, so why would they consider prisoners if that was the case? So I want to know more about that. So Apollo was at the closer to the end of the book, was a tortured to the point, you know, like Evangeline, life was really threatened and endangered because of Apollo being tortured with and the mirror curse reflecting the same experience. Who was doing the torturing? I don't think he was necessarily doing it to itself, but what if someone on the other end was controlling it? I am wondering who was doing that to him in the first place in that. Also, in that same situation, Jax had to tell Luke, go get chaos and get have chaos. Go save Apollo. To prevent him from getting hurt anymore. Chaos saved him. But at the very end. Apollo shows up with the curse broken. And I'm kind of wondering if chaos has something to do with Apollo. Doing, you know, takes memories and things like that. But we'll see. Just go over some highlights that happened. So you're kind of ready to go into that third book. I like this quote. It's just one night, he said softly. In the morning you can forget it. You can go back to pretending you don't like me, and I can pretend that I don't care. But for tonight let me pretend you're mine. I love that moment because I think it was like the first time that Jax was really super honest with Evangeline. But Evangeline was kind of suspicious that he was only being that truthful because of the Earth Stone being in that Marywood Manor. So it was finally like, nice to finally see him speak his truth. So Evangeline did use the true stone to get Jack to tell her why he wanted to openly arch, and apparently. The four stones, when put together, can actually allow a person to go back in time, and this power can only be used once in the lifetime of that stone. And he says he wanted not really the arch, but the stones power. He wanted to go back in time to go see print, to see Donatella, his first love. And I think he wanted to reverse something that happened in there. So he had a second chance at his first love. And, you know, if you remember a little bit in the first book about the fates, they will do what they're cursed to do forever, and they're always going to yearn for it. So I think he was kind of finding like he wanted to go back to his first love so he can kind of end his misery in that, just wanting that for his, his kiss, you know, and things like that. So he was going to just go back and just reverse that whole situation. And if he did that, it will actually alter time and there was a chance that Evangeline may never know Jax in that situation. So he kept telling her throughout, like, you're just going to forget me anyways. And that was going to be the case if he were to go back in time to reverse that situation. So I'm just going to go beeline quickly at the very end. So when you go into the third book, you kind of have an idea what happened. So eventually in the chaos, they first they they went to the Valerie Arch of Wolf Hall and they leave Jax behind. Evangeline uses the magic of the stones to open the arch, and chaos enters it, and eventually finally admits that she loves Jax and plans to cure his curse. And I think that's the time that she finally goes, oh, you know it. I know there was a true love, but there is a chance at a true love again. And I really do love him. So I want to be to tell him that last minute. Right. She follows chaos in the arch, which turns out to be a prison for the Valerie family, who is locked inside. The valor family wakes up and Honora, which is the mother, hugs chaos, who turns out to be Castor. Valor and Castor is super hungry and starts feeding off Evangeline. Jack shows up and tries to take Evangeline away, but she is already dead. That I was so shocked about that ending I my jaw dropped and you know, Stephanie Garber had the audacity to put in the next page. Like the end when you know Evangeline point of view, it went blank, you know, and the end. And I'm just like, it just can't be the end. This is only the second book, but you know, this such an amazing way this happened. Let's continue on. Jax uses the stone to go back in time to meet with Evangeline before all this happens. You know chaos. I think he was like a Nora was like, you know, don't do it. You can't. Changing fate would have a consequence. So this. But you know. And if you remember, Jax wanted to go back in time to fix what happened with him and Donatella. But he. I think he was so, like, devastated about Evangeline dying in his arms because of chaos that he's like, you know what? I'm he decided to go back in time to save Evangeline instead. Uses that one chance to do that. And so this time he Jax went with chaos and Evangeline and Jax tried to, like, negate the situation by bringing someone to be fed off of. But chaos was like, no, don't do it. You know, I can control myself. I'll be fine. But chaos was so consumed with hunger that he just went straight to the first human he can find before it all happened, Evangeline actually walked in the arch, find the family and things like that. But Jax, on the second time around prevented her from going in, and she did eventually walked away. So as she was leaving, she actually runs into Apollo and he seems fine. He's doing good and tells her that it's all Jax's fault and he steals Evangeline memories, every single one of them, to the point where she had no clue where she was or what she was doing there. Apollo comes back and he's like, you know, he's safe and they're in there. You know, he's her husband. And I thought that was a sneaky little turd. Him so just that really quick, quick rundown at the very end, I, I'm excited for the third book to come out. I've never been so excited for a book. I've never been this excited over surging mass books. But I'm excited about this one just because I think it's so well done. And it's also a very easy read. So one thing I would say for recommendations, I had someone asked me whether they should read the care of a whole series before they read Once Upon a Broken Heart series, and I would say yes or no. 2s You. Stephanie Garber does an amazing job of writing a series in the same world without you having to read another series for context so you can actually read it, no problem. But, but. 1s The second book really dives into Jack's past special with Donatella. And if you remember, Donatella is a big component in the car of a whole series. She's one of the sisters, so. 1s If you want more backstory as to what happened between Jax and Donatella reading the Carvajal series to get to this series is not super imperative to the story, but just gives you a lot of answers and context as to what happened between the two of them. Now I feel like it's a big mystery because I have. I haven't read the second or third book yet of the Carvajal series. I'm just familiar with Donatella in the Carvajal. I can still read this, no problem. Not needing to know what exactly happened, to understand that this was a big thing. But I'm a snoop and I want to know now, so I will definitely be reading the second and third book, probably before I read a third book. Let's see if I can do that. So my final thoughts on the book is now it's it's a curse for true love. And the third book goes to villains One girl, A Deadly Battle for Happily ever after. Evangeline Fox venture to the magnificent North in search of her happy ending, and it seems as if she has it. She's married to a handsome prince and lives in a legendary castle, but Evangeline has no idea of the devastating price she paid for these fairy tale. She doesn't know what she has lost, and her husband is determined to make sure she never finds out. But first, she must kill Jax. The Prince of Heart's blood will be shed, hearts will be stolen, and true love will be put to a test. A curse for two love. So I'm wondering if Jax is going to fight for Evangeline. And what is Apollo going to do to prevent for them to getting together? And I'm wondering if she's going to get her memories back. And of course, I wonder if the curse will be broken from Jax so they can be together. Will Stephanie Garber break my heart and kind of leave a tragic closing ending? Because this is a considered a trilogy and I'm like, so worried about this, how she's going to end this series. So let me know what you think, what your theories are. I have I want to know how you think the third book is going to play out. Definitely let me know in Instagram or TikTok and just tell me what your thoughts are. Thank you for joining me with the recap of The Ballad of Never. After looking forward to going over to the third book with you. Catch you later, readers! 

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