by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31, 2017
Genres: Young Adult Fantasy
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble
Reading Challenges: 2017 New Release Challenge
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.
4.5 Stars for Caraval! This is an exciting fantasy debut from author Stephanie Garber. I loved this!
I’ve seen Caraval mentioned on a lot of blogs last year so I was curious to find out what the hype was. I was drawn in from the first chapter and I could not put this book down. This book deserves all the attention it is getting and everyone should read this!
What did I like?
- Right away I felt a connection with the sisters, Scarlet and Tella. After their mother abandoned them Scarlet took on the older sister role seriously and raised her younger sister Tella. This was difficult since Tella was often reckless and often breaking their father’s strict rules. Breaking his rules often led to physical punishment, which Scarlet often received to protect her sister. It was awful to see the abuse the girls had to endure so I was cheering them on to run for safety.
- The world of Caraval is magical! The title appears to be a circus or carnival themed book but in fact Caraval is a mysterious island. All the details were unique and enchanting. The island is a game so the clues are creative and everything had a touch of magic. From Scarlet’s gown magically changing to match her mood to the price she had to pay to purchase items (I don’t want to spoil it), I was blown away with the author’s imagination.
- The story has so many twists to it I was guessing all the way to the end. This book is not just about the game but about taking chances. Scarlet has always been protective of her sister and made safe choices. On the island the obvious choice is not always the right one, so it was good to see Scarlet learn to take a chance and gain confidence to protect herself and her sister. There is a romance that was surprising but not the focus of the story. This was good because I wanted Scarlet to be independent, since she spent so many years fearful of her father.
What didn’t I like?
- At first I didn’t like Tella. I thought she was a spoiled brat and caused too many problems for Scarlet. But she does redeem herself at the end.
Caraval is a fun adventure and I highly recommend this book. I can’t wait to read the next book.
Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.