CARAVAL – STEPHANIE GARBER

THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS

Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

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.

Goodreads rating: ✮✮✮✮ (4.16 stars)

My rating: ✮✮✮✮✮ (5 stars)

I am a big fan of The Night Circus, and lately I’ve been wanting to read more fantasy books. When I was accepted by Netgalley to review this title, I had high hopes, and was ready to go back to the circus, even if it wasn’t the circus of dreams.

Caraval is magical and offers people the chance to escape from the world for five days (which was pretty much how long it took me to read this book), and really, it made me feel like it was a book for readers, especially those who needed an escape. This book was dark and twisty and was everything and more that I hoped it would be.

I initially had a love-hate relationship with the idea of Scarlett (or Crimson) and Julian falling in love. I feel like too many books have a relationship aspect, and I would have preferred it if there wasn’t the whole “bad boy” stereotype involved. Despite this, I think Scarlett is brave, and extremely protective of her family, especially when it concerns a father who abuses his children (and for some time I believed he killed their mother).

Tella, on the other hand, is everything I wanted to be when I was younger. Carefree, flirtatious, and independent. Even though we don’t really see much of Tella, and from the impressions from Scarlett which make her appear self-centred, I believe her actions destroy the impressions I had made. I look forward to reading more about her in the next book (whenever that may be).

The performers and Legend and everything to do with Caraval is what made the story. You can replace Scarlett and Tella with other people, but without Aiko, the dress seller, the clock man, Dante, his sister etc. the book would be meaningless. I think Stephanie Garber spends time even on the secondary characters, and I think that makes her book so great, because it keeps everyone hooked and interested.

I am meeting Stephanie Garber on the 21st February, and I would jump off a balcony to know what happens next ! (only if I didn’t die of course!)

 

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