Caraval by Stephanie Garber

“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.”

-Synopsis taken from Goodreads

Hey guys! Meaghan here again with another review! I totally jumped on the hype train of Caraval, and snatched it up as soon as it came out, trying to see what everyone was so excited for when it came to this book. It was definitely fascinating, whimsical, and magical!

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

Stars (Out of 10): 8/10 Stars

Overall Thoughts: I quite enjoyed this, and flew through this novel quickly. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the characters, and unreliable narrators can be a hit or miss, it worked out this time, and the plot and world more than made up for any negatives the characters may have brought to the book as a whole.

The Good: I loved the fantastic and whimsical world created in this novel, as well as the way it was described so well. In addition, I loved the plot and the tons of twists we saw, and how thoroughly the rules of the game were meant, and how the book really used the idea of “it’s just a game” to it’s fullest extent.

The Bad: I couldn’t seem to get attached to any of the characters, since the main character, Scarlett, was against almost every action she had to complete, and we were warned a million times not to trust the other guys, meaning I could never get a feel for any of them.

SPOILERS BEGIN HERE

The Characters: As I said above, it was hard to like any of the characters truly. Everyone bounced back from good to evil, which made it hard to actually begin to like anyone since it was hard to tell if anyone was even a decent person, and see who they actually were. The only character we saw the full truth of was Scarlett, but then I wasn’t able to connect with her because she was so unwilling to go through with anything, obsessing excessively over her sister and hating a game she supposedly has been obsessed with her whole life.

The Plot: Originally, the plot seemed pretty straightforward and simple, a cliche I’ve read a million times before. But then, the twist happened, and the entire world and everything I knew flipped on it’s head. It made the entire book seem thrilling, fantastic, and perfectly planned out. I also love the hints for the next book’s plot while still getting proper closure for the book 1 plot!

The World Building: I really fell in love with the world, and the whole “Caraval” and the air of mystery and magic around it. I also like how we weren’t overloaded with world explanations when the entire novel took place during Caraval on a random island, where all the information would have been useless.

The Favorite Character: I liked Julian by the end, but it was hard to like any character in a world where nothing is true.

Buy it, Borrow it, or Bin it: Buy it

 

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