Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor – ARC Review!

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 marvellous 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.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review & can confirm all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Jani has always dreamed of a better life for herself and her sister Zosa, better than the life she leads anyway. So when the mysterious Hotel Magnifique appears in their town and advertise’s for jobs, Jani see’s this as their chance. At first glance the hotel seems as magnificent as it’s name would suggest, but the more time Jani spends there, the more she starts to see the real hotel, filled with unbreakable contracts, cruelty and even danger. Determined to unravel the mystery and magic of the hotel to save her sister and the other staff, Jani ends up relying on the vexing and ridiculously handsome doorman Bel. But there is even more to the hotel than she originally thought, and Jani might just have to risk everything if she and the people she loves are to make it out alive,

Hotel Magnifique is told from the perspective of Jani, a girl who, at too young an age, had to take over looking after her little sister, scrounging for money where they could to make ends meet. She is determined that there is a better life out there for them, and she thinks the Hotel might just hold the key. I loved how, even thought she was bedazzled by the glitz and glamour of the hotel at first, she quickly comes to realise something isn’t quite right, and it was incredibly interesting seeing her perspective on the magic and mystique, the spell that everyone who enters the hotel seems to fall under. She’s a fighter, someone willing to do anything to protect the ones she loves and, being an older sister myself, I couldn’t help but empathise with her throughout the story, and desperately want her to succeed.

Though the story is told solely from Jani’s POV, we do get introduced to a whole host of other characters from Zosa, Jani’s little sister, to the guests and Suminaire’s (magic users) who work in the hotel. My favourites of the side characters had to be Bel, the doorman and Jani’s only ally in the Hotel and Beatrice, who is her boss when she first starts working and gradually becomes her friend. We meet allies and enemies, and Taylor does a wonderful job of bringing them all to life.

Hotel Magnifique was exciting, entertaining and, for me, an incredibly quick read. Taylor makes sure there are no real lags in the story, it moves at an incredibly quick pace ensuring there are no good places to stop reading. Her use of foreshadowing and plot twists are brilliantly done and I can’t tell you how many times I gasped or ended up white knuckled gripping the pages. Her writing style brings the world and the Hotel to life, you almost feel as though you have been transported whilst reading, and I couldn’t get enough of learning about the world and the magic that was used. Speaking of the magic system, it was incredibly simple and easy to understand, I never once felt lost, or that I didn’t understand something and I enjoyed how the author uses it helps make the story that much more magical and intriguing.

Lovers of a slow burn, kind of frenemies to lovers you need to check this book out. The tension was off the charts in parts, with lots of furtive/longing glances and brief touches. I thoroughly enjoyed how Taylor allowed the pair to truly get to know each other, warts and all, before anything really happened. It made the relationship feel more realistic to me and ensured we didn’t have an insta love. The pair don’t necessarily get on at first, and there are plenty of deceptions and misunderstandings to keep us on our toes, but I loved how it played out and thoroughly enjoyed the journey Taylor took us on with them.

If you’re in the mood for a quick read, with plenty of stakes, an intriguing magic system and plenty of romance then look no further. Hotel Magnifique was everything I love in a fantasy. I can’t speak to the rec’s, Night Circus and Caraval, but I can say this book stands on it’s own two feet and I will certainly be keeping my eyes peeled for Taylor’s next release.

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