Published: January 31, 2017 by Flatiron Books
Author: Stephanie Garber
Page Count: 407
Amazon: Hardcover – $10.63 / Paperback – $8.79
Barnes and Noble: Hardcover – $13.10 / Paperback – $8.97
Description via Goodreads:
Remember, it’s only a game…
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.
What an exciting ride this book was! I would like to start this review off with saying I enjoyed this book immensely. I was swept off my feet and thrust into Caraval and the world that both Scarlett and Tella were in. It was a fun, light, and mysterious read. I have a thing for books that have a “carnival” type of feel. This book definitely didn’t disappoint with its mystical vibe and stunning imagery.
The story starts off with a series of letters written by the main character Scarlett asking for Master Legend to come to the Island of Trisda to host their fabulous Caraval game. After years of unanswered letters finally a response makes it way into Scarlett’s hands and that is where the fun truly begins.
The characters in the novel had their faults and I did find myself annoyed at various times with each of them. For Scarlett, my main gripe is that she dwelled on her upcoming nuptials too much and put that first before her sister at times. Tella, was not my favorite at all. I don’t like her or her attitude or actions, but I am hoping that my mind/feelings will change in book two Legendary. Julian however was my absolute love! He was dark, mysterious, and a sailor… can I get a collective swoon? The whole rugged bad boy thing really worked for him and his character pulled it off very nicely.
There is a blossoming romance in this story and it is very easy to pick up on. I knew right away the outcome of things so that is another one of my dislikes. I usually like more of a drawn out type of romance (give me the angst!!) but this was sweet and I did enjoy it as I reflect back on it.
The best aspect of this whole novel is the setting. Readers find themselves inside the game where people are mysterious, the air is a bit sweeter, and the heart craves answers. I fell in love with this story not because of the plot or the characters, but rather for the idea of this magical place.
I definitely feel that the plot could have been stronger since there were a few confusing holes throughout the story, but overall it was a fun and different read. I am hoping to get to see more of the minor characters such as Aiko and Dante in the second book since they too had interesting back stories but not too much was said about them. I also hope to learn more about Nana Anna and her backstory since I found that things weren’t adding up fully about her in book one.
I would recommend this book and I hope that you too get swept away in Caraval!
“She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.”
This book was given 4.5/5 star rating on Goodreads.