Series: Caraval #1
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult
Buy: Amazon, Book Depository, Chapters !ndigo
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 totally get why people loved this, and I really really did want to fall head over heels for it, but there was a few things keeping me from that. It sort of ended up being a mixed bag for me.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game.
The concept: So I really loved the atmosphere of Caraval, a magical circus-esque game that may just be more than you could ever expect. I liked that you could never be sure what was real and what was fake, there was so much mystery surrounding Legend (the ringmaster of sorts) and Caraval. It was part a story of two sisters and part romance wrapped up in a magical game. I enjoyed the players, the manipulation and mystery of the game. I struggled a bit with sisters plot and the romance.
The description: was often beautiful and could easily sweep you away. On the other hand, some of the metaphorical description took away from the story as I was trying to figure out what it meant and the world building isn’t as strong as it could be. And not necessarily a bad thing, but there actually wasn’t a lot of circus.
The characters: Our main heroine of the story is Scarlett and she drove me up the walls. I found her very Mary Sue, things happened to her, she didn’t do much. She was naive and judgmental and had a stick up her butt. Scarlett and I did not click. I did like Julian, our bad boy sailor, despite being your standard jerky pretty boy who turned out to be amazing. I felt he was a bit more fleshed out in comparison. He won me over even though I wasn’t in love with their love story. It didn’t have the depth to make me fall in love with them. Tella, the other sister, I’m indifferent to at this point though the setup for the next book has pique my interest and I’m definitely looking forward to it.
Overall, an enjoyable read with a intriguing magical tale that didn’t quite sweep me away. I think this is more of a case of “it’s not you, it’s me” when it comes to any dislike. It has a lot of potential and I’m hoping the companion book will step it up and win me over.
a bum OT, procrastinator. reader. eater. sleeper. music listen-er. movie go-er. Loves food too much.