I have arrived at the conclusion that carnival-esque books were written for me, and solely me. Call me selfish…and you’d be right.
Thank you Penguin for an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review!
rep: bi love interest, wlw side relationship
Hotel Magnifique reminded me of all the reasons I read fantasy. It’s the emotional creativity that is expressed through the wildest works of the imagination that leaves me gasping for more. It’s the longing for a world other than our own. And Emily J. Taylor’s debut captures that dreamy, elegant artistry effortlessly.
We follow Jani, a girl who gets her and her sister jobs at the Hotel Magnifique, a wondrous place where only a select few guests are invited to stay at. At first, she’s swept away by all the magic. However, as time wears on, she starts to notice things…things that aren’t quite right. As the hotel moves every midnight, Jani is forced to wonder: is the hotel hiding dark secrets, and how far do they reach? Jani’s relationship with her sister was really lovely to read about! I will say that she was not my most favorite character. That title belongs to a character named Hellas, who can create plants out of playing cards. Yup.
There is always something to be said for a good magic system in a fantasy book. Sure, this isn’t Brandon Sanderson’s level of “developed system”. But it is a refreshing, fun, and unique take on magic. I’m not going to go into detail because I think that’s a bit of a spoiler but let’s just say that even ordinary objects have the potential for extraordinary things.
The first half or so of this book is dedicated to building up the atmosphere of the hotel. For example, every suite has a different magical theme and quirks unique to that theme! If you adored the descriptions in both Caraval and The Night Circus, you’ll love Taylor’s writing style.
“In the closest cloche, moss swans bobbed on a forget-me-not pond.”
I loved the French words as well! Most of them were translated inside the book itself which was nice.
This story was a tad darker than I was expecting*. The last third was perfectly atmospheric because of the world-building done so well earlier. Although, do I think parts of the ending were rushed? Yes. The pacing was a little bit overdone (why am I acting like it’s steak…?) but it didn’t detract from the story too much.
*i’m not complaining tho. dark magical hotels are even better than light ones. at least then u can see the stars
A good romance would have been the icing on top of the extravagantly decorated, decadent cake. Unfortunately, the romance was just sort of meh to me. It just sort of predictably happened and it didn’t really strike me as memorable.
Overall, I ended up enjoying this one! I wish that the execution had been a little more solid in the plot and romance department, but the atmosphere and magic system were incredible. Overall, this is a solid 4/5 stars! Tell me: are you excited for this one? What’s a creative book you love? Don’t forget to add this one to Goodreads, Storygraph, or order it!