Decadent and darkly enchanting, this lavish YA fantasy debut 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.
Amazon Link: Hotel Magnifique
Author: Emily J. Taylor
Genre: YA Fantasy Romance
Rating: 4/5 stars
I thought I would love this book from the moment I saw the cover and read that it was about a magical hotel full of mysteries. But it didn’t live up to the promise of being like The Night Circus or any other mysterious location-based fantasy.
This book started with an interesting premise of a mysterious hotel, but it stopped being about the hotel itself and quickly escalated into brutal punishments by the manager of the hotel. All the magic really did was obfuscate what was really going on. The villain of the story is the owner/manager of the hotel who is abusing his workers for his own profit, and that was such a banal and common explanation that it fell flat for me. Especially since the reveal came in a big infodump all at once.
The hotel and hospitality industry in the real world is already rife with worker abuses and it’s full of problems. Adding a magical veneer on top of that didn’t really make it more shocking. You don’t even need to use magic to make hotel guests ignorant of how the workers are being treated, because it’s easy for someone enjoying a vacation to overlook what’s happening beneath the surface.
Anyway, it wasn’t really satisfying and it left a bad taste in my mouth.