ARC Review – A Market of Dreams and Destiny

Hello, everyone! Today I’m starting the week off with a review of A Market of Dreams and Destiny by Trip Galey. I stumbled across this one on NetGalley and fell in love with the cover. So, of course, I had to request it. 🙂

Enter the bazaar of the bizarre where fate and fortunes are for sale in this high-stakes magical adventure across a London not quite like our own, perfect for fans of Neverwhere and The Night Circus.

Below Covent Garden lies the Untermarkt, where anything and everything has a price: a lover’s first blush, a month of honesty, a wisp of fortune. As a child, Deri was sold to one of the Market’s most powerful merchants. Now, after years of watchful servitude, Deri finally spots a chance to buy not only his freedom but also his place amongst the Market’s elite when he stumbles into the path of a runaway princess desperate to sell her royal destiny.

But news of the missing princess and her wayward destiny spreads. Royal enforcers and Master Merchants alike are after it. Outmanoeuvring them all would all be hard enough had Deri not just also met the love of his life, a young man called Owain, whose employers are using the Market for their own nefarious schemes.

Deri soon finds that the price of selling the royal destiny, making a name for himself, and saving the man he loves is dear. The cost of it all might just change the destiny of London forever.

***Thank you to Titan Books for providing a copy of the book via NetGalley. My review contains my honest thoughts about my reading experience.***

I’m so glad I stumbled upon A Market of Dreams and Destiny. It wasn’t quite what I expected, but I enjoyed it a lot. From the cover, I thought I’d be getting a cute MM romance mixed with the wonders of a magical market. What I got was a pretty dark story about the horrors of indentured servitude and a boy’s desperate grasp at freedom.

The world-building in A Market of Dreams and Destiny was a bit hit or miss. The author did a wonderful job of bringing the oddities of the market and the terror of the workhouse to life. The market was full of strange beings, and I was fascinated by how the merchants used so many different things as currency, from one’s destiny to someone’s laughter. The rest of the world, however, was largely unexplored. The premise of this alternate Britain sounded really interesting, and I’d have loved to get to see more of London and explore more of the history and culture. Unfortunately, that just didn’t happen.

I really liked the characters in A Market of Dreams and Destiny. Deri was whip smart, and I loved getting to see him use his intelligence to make deals that would help him secure his freedom. He knew the ins and outs of the market and used everything at his disposal to meet his goals. Owain had the horrible luck to be indentured to the most heinous of workhouse owners. He and the other kids were run ragged with little hope of ever escaping their toil. After meeting Deri, Owain dreams of a better life and finally begins planning to get it. There’s also a great cast of interesting supporting characters, and I enjoyed getting to know them all.

There was less romance in A Market of Dreams and Destiny than I expected. The love that grew between Deri and Owain does play a pivotal role in the story, but it really took a backseat to all of their scheming for freedom. I also felt that their relationship jumped to ‘true love’ a little quick, but they were cute together and had a great dynamic. Just don’t go into this expecting the romance to take center stage because you will likely be disappointed.

The plot of A Market of Dreams and Destiny was fun to follow and provided good commentary on the ethics, or lack thereof, of labor exploitation. The pacing was steady throughout, but the writing took some getting used to. It fit the story well, though, and felt quite whimsical. There were some weird shifts in POV, sometimes seemingly mid scene, and pretty much every character, no matter how important, got a turn in the driver’s seat, which was a bit excessive. The ending felt somewhat rushed, and I wished we’d have gotten a little more time to see how Deri built up the final plan. However, I loved how it ended and couldn’t ask for more from the final resolution.

All in all, I had fun with A Market of Dreams and Destiny. It wasn’t what I expected, but it worked well despite a few flaws. I’d definitely come back for more adventures in this world. Therefore, I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

Have you read A Market of Dreams and Destiny? If so, let me know your thoughts down in the comments!

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