I was so surprised by how quickly I devoured this book! But who can resist a magical hotel that travels every night to a different city, holds powerful magic, and has a mysterious past that our protagonist is about to uncover. If you’re looking for something fun, magical, and reads a lot like Caraval, then I will highly suggest this one. Thanks to Penguin Teen for the gifted book.
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 was such a fun book and after slogging through March, I very much welcomed an entertaining book to get me back in my mood. It helped a lot! Filled with magical worlds, beings, beautiful sights to behold, I was definitely enamored by the story from the beginning.
It follows Jani and her sister as they enter Hotel Magnifique, a unique hotel with a high-class guest list and the only place in this entire world where you can practice magic and be a suminaire without hurting someone. So people love coming to this hotel for the entertainment and traveling for two weeks to different cities every single night. The only caveat is that you forget the entire experience when you leave. Very strange.
That isn’t the only strange part of this hotel and as you travel with Jani into the hotel and beyond, you realize there is way more going on than what you expected.
The writing for this one was good, easy going and not ever serious. It’s definitely the vibe you want when you’re reading for entertainment. I loved the descriptions of the different suites, the entertainment, and even the back kitchens where Jani worked. I will have to say that this book was overall fun to read and if you’re a fan of YA fantasy, then you’ll definitely love this one.
There was a lot of mystery behind this book as well because from the moment Jani steps foot into the hotel, things seem a little bit off. In fact, it reminded me a lot of Spirited Away and that scene when Chihiro meets Yubaba for the first time and she’s asked to sign a contract that owns her name. Yeah, it gets dark like that in this book. And I welcomed the darker portions of this story. I was honestly concerned that it would be all fun and games like Caraval, but I appreciated the level this book went and the twisty turns it made.
While it was a predictable story, I still had a lot of fun watching it all unfold. It’s beautifully brilliant, utterly cruel at times, and such a great way to spend some time with a book.
I think the only issue I had is that the world building was a bit unclear. I found myself trying to understand how the artefacts work alongside the magic, but it really wasn’t too big of a deal. You get the idea of it through context and I’ve come to term not to expect too much from YA fantasy when it comes to world building. Just hold on and enjoy the ride.