The Ballad of Never After by Stephanie Garber
After reading Once Upon a Broken Heart, it was almost impossible to not start reading the second book in the trilogy, now the long wait for the final installment begins. Evangeline and Jacks grow closer as they work to search out the four stones and open the Valory Arch for Chaos. Jacks admits his real reason for wanting the for stones together and what they do when they are together. After Apollo awakens and has The Archer’s curse on him along with the mirror curse, sadly Evangeline learns who put The Archer’s curse on Apollo, Evangeline is hidden by Jacks and Chaos. Evangeline as the key is drawn to the stones and starts to learn more about the prophecy, what happened to the Valors (and the original Archer), what is behind the Valory Arch. After spending times with Jacks in an enchanted location Evangeline realizes that she does have feelings for Jacks and is heartbroken when she learns why he wants all four stones. As Jacks uses the stones the reader knows what really happened, however Evangeline does not, and she may never after the curse is lifted from Apollo and Evangeline gets a shocking wake up. The only thing the reader will be frustrated with is that there is several months before the final book in this trilogy will be published.
Character List/Book Summary:
Evangeline Fox – mistakenly tries to open the Valory Arch, but needs the 4 stones and her blood to open the Valory Arch. As she learns about the Valors, she wonders if Jacks is one and what is behind the Arch if it is not the monster they Valor’s created after the destruction of the Merrywood family by Vengeance Slaughterwood.
Jacks “Prince of Hearts” – put Apollo in the suspended state, helps Evangeline when he realizes Apollo’s life is linked to hers. Says he is from a very old house (but doesn’t say which) and everyone in his family is dead. Has not been home since right after he was turned into a Fate, wants to use the stones to time travel. Argues with Honora Valor after she refuses to help reverse what her son has done.
Apollo – Evangeline’s husband, in a suspended state since their wedding night, but when he wakes he is under the Archer’s curse and wants to hunt Evangeline. Tells Evangeline he doesn’t want to hurt her but he cannot stop himself. Is released from the curse when the Valory Arch is opened, and comes to find Evangeline. Has a secret gift to take memories from people.
Honora Valor – 1st Queen of the North, said to be the greatest healer of all time. Chaos is one of her sons, who was changed into a monster after Vengeance Slaughterwood stabbed him.
Havelock – personal escort to Evangeline while Apollo is in a suspended state. Tries to warn Evangeline that Apollo has woken but she asks for no more sad news and so he does not have a chance to warn her that Apollo is hunting her.
Lucien Jareth – House of Acadian, newest heir to the throne, distant cousin to Apollo. Really Luc the vampire that claims he still loves Evangeline. When Evangeline is feeling the effects of Apollo being tortured he follows Jack’s command to warn Chaos and get Apollo to safety.
LaLa “the Unwed Bride” – long engagement to Lord Robin Slaughterwood, tells Evangeline to open the door for Jacks and then speaks in gibberish when telling Evangeline the story of the Valory Arch. Overheard when talking to Jacks about how she put the Archer’s curse on Apollo and cannot undo it. Invites Evangeline to a party at the Slaughterwood manor.
Marisol – Evangeline’s stepsister, jealous of Evangeline and used magic when betraying Evangeline. Evangeline could not stop her from meeting Lucien “Luc” when he is a vampire and ready to kill Marisol for putting a love spell on him.
Chaos – Lord of the Vampire spies and assassins, has the Luck stone from the previous key. Lets Evangeline use his library to find information on the stones and to open the Valory Arch. Wants the arch open so that the helmet that prevents him from feeding can only be opened by what is the in Arch. Turns on Evangeline after she opens the Arch.
Tiberius – Apollo’s younger brother, tried to kill Apollo and Evangeline, is part of the Protectorate. Being held in jail. Refuses to help Evangeline save Apollo telling her that the 4 stones call to each other and destroyed the house of Merrywood last time they were all together.
Aurora Valor – sweet and beautiful. Enganged to Vengeance Slaughterwood and tried to break if off so she could marry Lyric Merrywood who she loved. Grew up with Jacks.
Castor Valor – Aurora’s twin, noble. Evangeline wonders if Jacks is him, but then realizes the stories say he was killed by Vengeance Slaughterwood for trying to warn his sister and Lyric. Jacks confesses he took Castor to Honora to try and save him after finding him stabbed. He ended up turning into Chaos.
Vesper Valor – according to the stories he could see the future
Tempest & Romulus Valor – twins, great inventors and responsible for magical arches.
Dane Valor – some sort of shape shifter according to the stories
Lysander Valor – has a gift that involves memories but nothing more specific in the stories.
Lyric Merrywood – son of a Lord, one of the Merrywood Three, fell in love with Aurora, probably the brother of LaLa
Petra Youngblood – not from a great house, lucky to be invited to LaLa’s party. Ended up being the former key who had the youth stone, fought Evangeline as she tried to warn her what would happen if the stones were together.
The Archer – name appeared after Jack’s on a height chart that spanned 5 years and included Aurora, Lyric, Castor and Jacks. Jacks confesses he is the Archer and tells Evangeline how the story really ended.
Handsome Stranger – speaks to Evangeline in her dreams and tells her to be careful around Jacks or she will end up like his 1st fox. Ends up being Castor Valor/Chaos.
4 Stones – Luck, Truth, Mirth, Youth
Original Great Houses