Review: The Splendor by Breeana Shields

The Splendor by Breeana Shields

The Splendor
Breeana Shields
Page Street Kids
Published on September 28, 2021

Amazon | Bookshop | Goodreads

About The Splendor

The Splendor isn’t just a glamorous hotel, it’s a magical experience that gives its guests the fantasy fulfillment of their dreams. But The Splendor didn’t make Juliette’s dreams come true. It ruined her life.

After a weeklong stay, Juliette’s sister, Clare, returns from the hotel changed. Her connection to Juliette―the special bond they once shared―has vanished. In a moment of hurt and frustration, Juliette steals their meager savings and visits The Splendor herself.

When she arrives, she’s taken in by the lush and sumptuous hotel. But as she delves more deeply into the mystery of the place, and how they make their illusions work, she grows more and more uneasy. The Splendor has a seedy underbelly, but every time she gets close to discovering something real, she seems to hit a wall.

Meanwhile, Juliette meets Henri, an illusionist who lives and works at the hotel. Henri’s job is to provide Juliette with the same Signature Experience he gives all the guests―one tailored fantasy that will make her stay unforgettable. As he gets to know her, he realizes that not only is he ill-equipped to make her dreams come true, he’s the cause of her heartache.

The Splendor on Goodreads

My Review

This is another book that I simply couldn’t stop reading. I stayed up way too late finishing it, and even though I’m super tired now, I have zero regrets. I had to know how it would end.

Both Juliette and Henri are the kinds of characters that hit me like an arrow to the heart. They’re vulnerable and smart and loving and wounded, desperate to help someone they love. I loved the tension between them, but also that the story didn’t push the romance to the forefront. Like, sometimes their connection or their feelings for each other would be on the brink of becoming obvious, and all of a sudden, some big hairy bad thing would happen. After, they processed what had happened rather than being like “wow, we almost died, how about that kiss?” So it felt really organic the way their relationship developed and didn’t overtake the story. I really liked that.

I also liked the pacing of the story. So much happens. THE SPLENDOR is one of those books where there’s a really strong rhythm, and so many of the chapters ended with that stakes leaping higher or some new danger emerging. I loved that! It’s one of the things that totally kept me reading.

The only thing I wasn’t totally in love with was that the opening chapter reads a bit like backstory. It’s kind of bringing us up to speed on Juliette’s relationship with her sister and the significance of the hotel to the two of them. I think it would have been cool to have that chapter feel more immediate, like the rest of the book, and have that information woven into the first few chapters, but I can see why the author chose to introduce the story that way. It worked, it just felt a lot different than the rest of the book.

I think readers who liked CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber or THE SCORPIO RACES by Maggie Stiefvater will love this story steeped in magic and mystery.

The Splendor on Bookshop

Content Notes

Recommended for Ages 12 up.

The story is set in a French or French-inspired city.

Profanity/Crude Language Content

Romance/Sexual Content
Brief kissing between boy and girl.

Spiritual Content
The hotel is built on top of springs that well up with magic. Hotel staff harness the magic and use it to create illusions and other magic.

Violent Content
Situations of peril. Some instances of gaslighting. A girl is murdered.

Drug Content
Juliette drinks a bubbly pink drink that changes how she feels. Most of the food and drink at the hotel is infused with a kind of magic that affects how people feel once they’ve consumed it.

Note: This post contains affiliate links, which do not cost you anything to use, but which help support running this blog. I received a free copy of THE SPLENDOR in exchange for my honest review.

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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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