Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance, Magic
Series: Caraval #1
Published On: January 31st 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
My Rating: 4 Stars
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever. Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.
Caraval has gotten a lot of hype since it’s release. Which is maybe why I’m struggling to write this review. First, let me say that I absolutely loved reading this book. It kept me captivated until the last page and left me wanting more! However, I also feel a little let down in some ways.
The plot of Caraval is unlike anything I’ve ever read before. Which could possibly be due to the fact that I don’t often read fantasy, but still I loved how original it was for me. Garber’s writing is beautiful and descriptive, and I felt like it described the world perfectly. Although, I did notice that Garber liked to describe things as “buttery” which was odd. And made me want to eat buttery popcorn like the entire time.
The plot is TOTALLY what kept me reading Caraval. I didn’t love the characters and the romance left me unsatisfied because my SHIP was so complicated.
The characters were interesting, but I didn’t love Scarlett. And I absolutely couldn’t stand Tella until the last few pages of the novel. Even then, though, I felt like she was being unrealistically and unfairly redeemed. Scarlett, on the other hand, was likable but I felt like she made terrible decisions. And she was supposed to be the reasonable one. Yikes.
Julian was impossible to trust throughout the ENTIRE book. Yet, Scarlett continued to fall for him and trust him despite all the GOOD reasons not to. But of course this was my ship anyway.
Legend was WEIRD and confusing and I don’t even know what to say.
Julian and Scarlett were super cute together. Except for how untrustworthy Julian is. I feel like the romance kept trying to build up but just kept falling short. It was disappointing, in my opinion. And at the end… oh boy. I don’t want to spoil anything but I felt BETRAYED.
Caraval is well-written and captivating in terms of plot. However, the characters and romance were disappointing for me. I would recommend this to anyone who loves magical games and fantasy novels, but if you’re someone who thrives on well-written romance and characters you connect with, maybe pass on this novel.