Author: Stephanie Garber
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.
My Thoughts (spoiler free):
From the synopsis of this book I was hooked but I cannot say the same for the first few chapters. Caraval was a book with promise that just fell flat for me and I’m bummed to say that. It has immense hype surrounding it and was even compared to The Night Circus but I guess my hopes were just too high.
The characters made me feel nothing. Tella and Scarlett’s bond wasn’t one where I thought “Wow me and my sister are just as close as them!” I also didn’t like Julian at all throughout the novel. The only time he didn’t annoy me was during the last chapter. I didn’t ship Julian and Scarlett at all which was a bit of an issue when it came to enjoying the book. I felt as though Scarlett was just infatuated by him during the game and their “love” was a bit in the moment.
The world was so unique and the game, Caraval, was so interesting but other than the initial introduction there wasn’t much world building after that. I just wanted more.
It was such an interesting concept and like I said before, had so much promise. The mystery and magic was overshadowed by the romance and the big reveal at the end just made me feel like my emotions had been cheated on many times throughout the novel. Overall the lack of world building and admiration for the characters left me unsatisfied but I still enjoyed my time whilst reading it. I’m hoping that the sequel will impress me because I do plan on picking it up when it comes out.
If you are going into this with the thought of it being like The Night Circus I would push that thought away because I think you’ll be disappointed but if you are just interested in the book I would still recommend it, hopefully you’ll connect with the characters more than I did because sometimes that’s what makes or breaks it for a novel.
Let me know in the comments, have you read Caraval? What were your thoughts?
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