While I feel the marketing of Caraval meets Night Circus is accurate, I also feel like that hurt this book – as I couldn’t think of anything except those two stories and this one didn’t feel original at all. By all means I should have liked this book, and it was okay, I finished it, but I didn’t love it.
Jani and her younger sister Zosa have barely been making it in the real world, but when they hear the Hotel Magnifique is coming to town and looking for staff, they both apply to work as staff at this magical hotel thats in a different city every day. Zosa gets hired as a performer as she’s a skilled singer, but Jani has to fight to be allowed to stay on and work as a maid. This is a very sister-oriented story with Jani feeling protective of her younger sister, as they’re all they have left in this world.
As you may have guessed, their “staff contracts” aren’t as Jani expected and just like Hotel California, you can check out but you can never leave, so to speak. The staff are trapped and its not as glamorous as expected. The descriptions of the hotel and magic were quite good and I could easily picture everything that was said.
I really liked the concept of this one but as mentioned, it felt like a mash-up of a bunch of other stories I had read before and nothing really wow-ed me with this one. It was an okay story and if I hadn’t read Caraval and Night Circus I may have enjoyed it more. The magic was fun, I enjoyed it overall but it missed the mark for me.