Love Charms and other Catastrophes (2016)
By: Kimberly Karalius
I read and wrote my thoughts on Kimberly Karalius’s first book, Love Fortunes and other Disasters, before and since I owned that book, reading the next installment was a must read.
In the new book, the main protagonist is Fallon Dupree’s best friend, Hijiri Kitamura. Soon after declining the offer of being Grimbaud’s next “Zita,” Love decides to strengthen Hijiri’s knowledge on love by creating the perfect boyfriend for her, Kentaro Oshiro. Love wants to prove that Hijiri’s heart is bigger than she believes it to be. In addition, Hijiri and her rebellion pals join the love charm-making competition because they don’t want out-of-town love charm makers running the town, but instead a true local and lover of Grimbaud. In order for that to happen, Hijiri has to win the contest.
In the first novel, there was more description on the setting of Grimbaud. Yet in this book, we see more development with the supporting characters: so if you haven’t read the first book, you should read it because there’s a lot that isn’t explained in this book since it is assumed that you read the first.
I enjoyed that this book doesn’t focus on the main protagonists in the other series, Fallon and Sebastian, but instead on the supporting characters. Fall and Sebastian take a back seat since their story reached a conclusion, and they are used to help develop the other characters. For example, Fallon and Sebastian help get Hijiri and Ken together by giving them advice on love. In addition, we see some of our favorite relationships from book one gain more tension—there’s uncertainty to Martin and Nico’s future together and Femke and Mirthe are slowly realizing that they are growing apart and becoming individuals. We see a lot of character growth within the supporting cast which is something we don’t see in the other book because it mainly focused on just Fallon and Sebastian’s relationship and storyline. I felt that the first book is more of an introduction, while the second book further explores the characters and setting.
Hijiri Kitamura is one of my favorite characters in the world of Grimbaud. In the first book, she’s quite timid and shy and was slowly coming out of her shell. Yet in book two, we get a deeper glance into her world and personal struggles—she is used to being alone since her parents aren’t always around and she has self-esteem issues that she overcomes by being part of the love charm-making competition. As for her “charm boy,” Ken, he helps her become a confident and somewhat “social” woman.
My favorite moment is when Hijiri was in Ken’s room learning hearth charms.
‘Hearth charms and love charms have a lot in common,’ he said gently. ‘Romantic love isn’t the only love there is. Hearth charms come from love of home and family. A couple is happy if their home is a happy place.’
Kimberly Karalius’s Love Charms and other Catastrophes
You can see the chemistry between the two, and their different charm disciplines reflects their personal views on relationships. With love charms, Hijiri brings the initial spark in a couple, and Ken uses hearth charms to strengthen the relationship. These two charms work together and create a balance—one needs the other one and vice versa.
In addition, Kimberly Karalius uses the thread as a symbol of fate and associates it with missed opportunities. It seems that rather than leaving it all up to destiny to meet the right girl or guy, one can get a second chance; hence, the power of choice is relevant in romantic relationships. It is up to oneself to take the initiative to make a romance happen as oppose to letting the universe decide.
If you read the first book, you should continue on to the second book. It’s a cute whimsical romance, but my only issue is that there were some minor proofreading mishaps that kind of annoyed me, but not enough to ruin my reading flow.