Book Review

Review — Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I have been seeing the Caraval cover on Twitter forever, and seeing people rave about the book as well. It always sounded interesting, but I hadn’t ever picked it up. As luck would have it, my mother-in-law brought it home on winter break and let me borrow it when she was finished with it. I’m so glad she did! Other than thinking it sounded good, the author is part of the line up for North Texas Teen Book Festival, and to be quite honest I’ve hardly read any of the 76(?) authors that are going to be there, so I thought I should read a few, although my experience is that even if you haven’t read their books, you can still appreciate what is being said in the panels.

Young Adult / Fantasy / Magic / Family

27883214Remember, 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. (Goodreads)

A lush carousel of love, magic, illusion, and half-truths.

I especially loved the descriptions in this book. To start with, Scarlett saw her emotions in acute color. I loved this. I also liked how there was so much more to the descriptions than what simply existed in the scene. Garber did a wonderful job of including textures, tastes, smells, and evoking emotion from the characters when they experienced these things. I felt a little bit as if crossing the sea to the island were falling down the rabbit hole, where everything is more vibrant–and deadly–than it appears.

I really liked the sisters plot in this book. Older Scarlett trying to take care of and then rescue Donatella. But Scarlett is also dealing with, for the first time, (romantic) feelings for another person. Her ultimate goal is to help Tella, and she’s never been selfish, but she toes that line where one wonders how to balance selflessness and growing desires of their own.

Garber really pushed the characters to their limits, and then just a little more. This book was a rollercoaster of emotions!

As much as I enjoyed the book–I didn’t really like the ending. And I can’t really say why without being all spoilery, but if you’d read it and would like to chat about it, let me know 🙂

I give Caraval 4 of 5 stars!

I saw somewhere that Legendary, the sequel, comes out this year. I’ll be looking forward to reading it 🙂

Have you read Caraval? Leave a thought below


❤ Julia

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