I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Caraval by Stephanie Garber
on January 31, 2017
Series: Caraval #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Format: eARC, Hardcover
Source: Bought, NetGalley
Reading Challenges: 2017 Debut Author Challenge, 2017 Flights of Fantasy Challenge
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.
I was really worried about all the hype surrounding Caraval by Stephanie Garber before I read it. It seemed like so many had read it already. They were all yelling about how amazing it was. I have a tendency to be a black sheep when it comes to popular books. I tried to go into Caraval with no expectations and it paid off. I enjoyed it a lot!
Caraval was full of magic and mystery. Secrets and half truths. I was pulled in from the very start of the story. Scarlett and her sister Tella escape from their abusive father to go to Caraval, a magical game where nothing is as it seems. That is where the story grabs you. I was looking forward to a lot of magic and atmosphere. The magic didn’t disappoint. Things were whimsical and delightful…and a little creepy at times.
Scarlett was what held me back from absolutely loving the book. She was an okay character. She was very cautious. She had her reasons but I did find all the hand wringing in the first half of the book tedious. Tella and Julian were much more interesting than Scarlett. Julian was so mysterious. I was really captivated by him the entire time.
I also didn’t love the romance. It felt a little insta-lovey to me. I never really felt their connection. I think there’s a lot of potential there, though. I’m very interested to see where that story line leads.
There were so many twists and turns in the second half of the book. I can honestly say that I had no idea how things were going to end or who the good guys were. It’s not often that a book keeps me guessing. It was a lot of fun. I was pretty surprised by the way things wrapped up too. It’s going to be a long wait for book 2.
Caraval was a fun ride from the first page. While there were a couple of things that I didn’t love, the magic and mystery more than made up for them. I think that I’ll end up loving the second book even more!