Title: Hotel Magnifique
Author: Emily J. Taylor
Release Date: 5/5/22
E.S.C.A.P.E Score: 43
(see below for breakdown)
I received a free eARC copy from Pushkin Press ,via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
For fans of Caraval and The Night Circus, this decadent and darkly enchanting YA fantasy, set against the backdrop of a Belle Époque-inspired hotel, follows seventeen-year-old Jani as she uncovers the deeply disturbing secrets of the legendary Hotel Magnifique.
All her life, Jani has dreamed of Elsewhere. Just barely scraping by with her job at a tannery, she’s resigned to a dreary life in the port town of Durc, caring for her younger sister Zosa. That is, until the Hotel Magnifique comes to town.
The hotel is legendary not only for its whimsical enchantments, but also for its ability to travel—appearing in a different destination every morning. While Jani and Zosa can’t afford the exorbitant costs of a guest’s stay, they can interview to join the staff, and are soon whisked away on the greatest adventure of their lives. But once inside, Jani quickly discovers their contracts are unbreakable and that beneath the marvelous glamour, the hotel is hiding dangerous secrets.
With the vexingly handsome doorman Bel as her only ally, Jani embarks on a mission to unravel the mystery of the magic at the heart of the hotel and free Zosa—and the other staff—from the cruelty of the ruthless maître d’hôtel. To succeed, she’ll have to risk everything she loves, but failure would mean a fate far worse than never returning home.
This is blurbed as for fans of The Night Circus and Caraval and I think that is very much true. While it doesn’t quite live up to the Night Circus, which in all fairness is one of my favourite books, it is what I wanted Caraval to be. For me this delivers what Caraval could not. We have a gorgeous mix of magical world building mixed with a story that kept me engaged and caring for the characters.
I really enjoyed the pace of the plot. It really allowed us to explore the magic of the hotel but also kept us moving to discover more and more. There were some great late twists that just when you thought you were coming to a conclusion would take you on a turn and truly surprise you. I really liked the dynamic in the sister’s story there was just such a genuine and caring bond between them and the slow burn to the romance was fantastic.
Overall I really enjoyed this book. I loved the world building, the magic and the journey it took. I think fans of Caraval and the Night Circus will find something to love in this.