Review: Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Hotel Magnifique
Emily J. Taylor
Published April 22, 2022

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About Hotel Magnifique

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.

Hotel Magnifique on Goodreads

My Review

This is another book that’s been on my TBR because of the buzz I heard about it when it came out. The premise reminded me a lot of THE SPLENDOR by Breanna Shields, which I really liked, so I think it took me a while to try this one because I worried they would be too similar.

There are definitely some similarities. A magical hotel. Romance. Sisters whose relationship can only be restored by uncovering the secrets within the hotel.

But there are a lot of differences, too. The magic system is very different, and it has a huge impact on the story. In THE SPLENDOR, Juliette solves the mystery solo, hoping it will reunite her with her sister. In HOTEL MAGNIFIQUE, Jani pursues the hotel’s secrets in order to free herself and her sister. They work together to find a way out. I think Juliette is also the younger sister, whereas Jani is the older one, if I’m remembering right.

Reading the book, I definitely see the comparison to CARAVAL, too. It’s got the same capricious magical fair feel to it, where magic is both amazing and dangerous. I really liked the way the magic system was used in HOTEL MAGNIFIQUE.

I’m a huge fan of sister books, and I loved the relationship between Jani and Zosa in this one, too. Jani’s protectiveness, Zosa’s mischievousness, and the lessons they both learn that ultimately draw them closer together were some of my favorite moments in the book.

There’s also a romance subplot that I enjoyed. I didn’t see it coming right away, but as they got to know each other, I found it very easy to root for Jani and her romantic interest to get together.

On the whole, I feel like this one lived up to the hype. I loved the rich, magical setting. I appreciated the way the author described the skin tone of every character and included diverse representations of gender, relationships, and race.

Hotel Magnifique on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 14 up.

Jani is described as having an olive skin tone. Bel is described as having a copper skin tone. The author describes the skin tone of each character. Same-gender couples appear in the background of several scenes.

Profanity/Crude Language Content
Mild profanity used infrequently.

Romance/Sexual Content
Kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
Some characters have the ability to use magic.

Violent Content
Magic can be unpredictable and harm others if not carefully managed. Some scenes show brief but graphic torture. In one, Jani witnesses someone gouging out a woman’s eye. In another, someone slams a toothed door on a girl’s fingers, severing them. Someone uses magic to kill an opponent in a couple of scenes.

Drug Content
Guests drink alcohol. Jani sips a drink she later learns had a truth serum in it.

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About Kasey

Reads things. Writes things. Fluent in sarcasm. Willful optimist. Cat companion, chocolate connoisseur, coffee drinker. There are some who call me Mom.

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