“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
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 a complete mess while going into this book. I couldn’t decide whether I was insanely excited for what would be an amazing novel, or instead, opening the door to a disappointment and reading slumps. There was so much hype around Caraval and it scared me. I ended up reading this all in the span of under three hours in the same sitting and smiling the whole way through because this book was amazing.
My advice is probably to go into this knowing absolutely nothing; I went in knowing the bare minimum and it was phenomenal.
Stephanie Garber, if anything, is an extremely skilled writer. Her writing just flowed and was such a pleasure to read. The way she made Caraval appear was whimsical and extraordinary. Reading this book is how I imagine Alice felt when she fell into Wonderland. I admit, at the beginning of most chapters the purple prose did layer on a bit thick but that was a rarity which for the utmost part didn’t stand out too much from the writing itself.
Characterwise, the two sisters, Scarlett and Tella were by far my favourites for the most part. Their undeniable love for each other was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. They relied on each other and depended on each other. Familial relationships tend to be a rarity in YA for some reason and it was so refreshing to see a relationship like theirs.
Legend was… well he confused me. I finished this book knowing nearly nothing about him because let me tell you, Stephanie Garber loves her plot twists. I imagine we get to know more about him in the next book (or not? who knows!).
The romance in this novel was probably not particularly the main aspect. It was there but never completely the main focus. The few times the main relationship was focused on though it was cute and I really liked how it played out.
I highly doubt I’ll ever read a book like Caraval again. This was a magically whimsical and transporting read and one that I will probably never forget.