by Stephanie Garber
Pages: 407 // Published: January 31, 2017 // Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
My Rating: ★★★★
Summary as Provided by Publisher
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.
Oh wow! I enjoyed this one! This book was so fun. My cousin (who is a bigger bibliophile than me!), gracefully lent her copy to me as it was one of her favourite books in 2017. This was such an easy read and I devoured it quickly, reading it in a couple of days!
The main character’s, Scarlett’s, perspective was so relatable. Being a big sister myself, I found her thoughts and need to protect very relatable, especially, now that I am a mom. It was also hard not to enjoy the thrill of the game. The twists were pleasantly surprising although at times slightly cliche. I love books that pull you into their magical world and exercise those imagination muscles. I loved the imagination of Stephanie Garber – especially in the details. Scarlett wears a magical dress, at first it looks like a common plain dress. Then becomes a magical array of different outfits, ones that often reflected her mood. Also, the clues, the performers and players Scarlett encountered (Nigel, Aikio, Dante, Jo), and the hidden secrets in her own family’s past.
What happens beyond this gate may frighten or excite you, but don’t let any of it trick you. We will try to convince you it’s real, but all of it is a performance. A world built of make-believe. So while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away. Dreams that come true can be beautiful, but they can also turn into nightmares when people won’t wake up.
I’m a sucker for mystery so I always need to see how these situations end. Unfortunately, the ending for me was anticlimactic as I felt magic was the solve for everything. It felt too easy. Like Poof! All the bad has been erased. I needed more – it tied up too neatly in this perfect package. This is the main contributing reason as why this is 4 stars not 5 for me. However, the saving grace was the epilogue. It definitely peaked my curiosity and I can’t wait to read the second book, Legendary.
I think Caraval is a great base for a series with a lot of potential – where will the game go next? Will we ever meet the true Legend? What about the count or the governor? It surely cannot be the last we hear of them. For me I found I was intrigued with what was truth versus lies. The love story was an added bonus but wasn’t my main point of interest. I’m hoping Julian develops for me more in the second as I found him to be a bit flat despite the mystery. But as I read upcoming news about Legendary, it looks like Tella will be the main character and I think that’s amazing. I wanted to slap her in the beginning and then you see the genius in the madness.
This book is what I call a perfect Sunday book – make yourself a warm beverage – go crazy have a cookie! Enjoy the story!!