Caraval by Stephanie Garber | Book Review

 RATING: magical read (5) // AMAZON

PAGES: 407 PAGES | PUBLISHER: Flatiron Books

FORMAT: Hardcover | SOURCE: owlcrate AGE GROUP: YOUNG ADULT

GOODREADS SUMMARY

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.

 

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Cover Thoughts I already thought this cover was gorgeous, but gosh it’s even prettier in person! I love how the cover manages to seem mystical and mysterious at the same time. It has a very simplistic yet eye-catching design. I would totally recommend buying the hardback, since it’s super glossy in person making it even cooler.
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Ever since The Night Circus, I’ve been scouring around for another thrilling and magical circus read. It’s one of my favorite books that completely transformed time and space while I was reading it. So I was really looking forward to Caraval, but this book went above my expectations. Caraval did NOT disappoint, and it ended up becoming one of my top reads of 2017.

Caraval was a magical, gripping read with a story and characters that immediately drew me in. We follow Scarlett, who runs away from an arranged marriage and her abusive father with her twin sister Tella to the magical game of Caraval. Unknowingly she becomes trapped in a dangerous game where she has to learn to fight and trick her way into finding her sister before any of the other competitors. 

Scarlett is such a good and genuine character, who truly cares about her twin sister. Although she could be clueless and indecisive at times, she grew throughout the book and became much stronger and more confident. I loved how fiercely protective she was of Tella, and I could relate to the strong sibling bond. There’s also Julian, the untrustworthy sailor, who knew just how to get under Scarlett’s skin. From the start, he’s suspicious and mysterious with a cocky but caring personality that had me swooning yet unsure of his true alliances at the same time.

My main reason for loving Caraval was the insanely magical world Garber managed to create. Not only was it a magical circus, but it was a whole world with a town full of shops, an eerie castle, secret passageways, and boat rides. It was beautiful, but had this underlying sinister factor that kept me on edge the entire time. Garber does a great job bringing Carval to life with her vivid descriptive imagery, and it almost felt like I was there too.

Not only was the world utterly enchanting, but I could not put the book down. I haven’t clicked so well with a book in such a long time. Garber creates an alluring, intense, dark read filled with mystery and adventure and deception that I could not get enough of. There’s so many unexpected twists and turns, and I had no idea who to trust or believe. My mind was filled with so many different questions and contrasting theories throughout the book.

Caraval was an amazing read with an ending that blew my mind and left me with lots of unanswered questions and theories and wanting much, much more. Caraval had everything I love in a book—a magical setting, plenty of intrigue and mystery, a romance I totally shipped, good pacing, lots of scheming and unexpected twists, likable fun characters, and an enthralling story.

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