Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

Hotel Magnifique book cover


Goodreads: Hotel Magnifique
Series: None
Age Category: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Published: April 5, 2022

Official Summary

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.

Star Divider


Hotel Magnifique is a riveting fantasy that takes readers on a journey with protagonist Jani as she snares a coveted position working in the world’s most (okay, only) magical hotel — and slowly begins to realize things might not be as glamorous as they seem. The lush world building, dazzling magic, sense of mystery, and strong family ties makes this a story very worth reading.

A lot books get compared to both Caraval and The Night Circus; apparently setting a book in a contained magical space in world where little else is magical is enough to earn the comparison. Personally, I didn’t love Caraval because it was extremely hyped at the time of its release, and I felt I get a very standard YA instead of something exceptional. I think Hotel Magnifique blows Caraval out of the water; it is an immensely better book. As for The Night Circus? I don’t know what Hotel Magnifique is really supposed to have in common with it.

The strongest part of the story may be that, while magic is embedded everywhere and the author does a great job of building the atmosphere and telling readers about the wondrous things that can be seen in the hotel, the setting and wonder are never really the point. The book focuses on plot and characterization; the real draw is the mystery of what exactly is going on in the hotel and then the tension of whether Jani will be able to save herself and her sister before it’s too late. I couldn’t stop myself from turning to pages to see how everything would turn out.

The book’s one flaw is that, while the sisters’ relationship is integral to the story . . . Jani’s little sister is actually mostly absent from the text. Readers have to see most of their love through Jani’s reflections and memories. I feel like this is common in a lot of YA that supposedly focuses on siblings, for whatever reason, and I would love to see more stories where the siblings spend the majority of the story interacting with one another.

Overall, this was excellent, definitely one of my top reads so far this year. If you love YA fantasy, you don’t want to skip this one.

Note: I would like to note that both the summary and the story reference “Elsewhere” as if it’s an actual place, like Neverland or Narnia or something. In fact, “Elsewhere” just means . . . travelling. The protagonist and the hotel guests just want to go places beyond their home, places they could reasonably get to by using a boat or horse if they had the means. I’m not sure why “Elsewhere” is used so confusingly here.

5 stars

9 thoughts on “Hotel Magnifique by Emily J. Taylor

  1. Sheri Dye says:

    Fantastic review!
    And thank you.. I’ve been wondering just how similar this was to Caraval (which I haven’t been all that motivated to read) and I’m so relieved to hear that “Hotel Magnifique blows Caraval out of the water” 😋


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