Caraval by Stephanie Garber Review

caravalTitle: Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publisher:  Flatiron Books

Format: eBooks

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Overall: 4.5 out of 5 stars 

Source: Publisher

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.

reviewThis book was unique and kept me intrigued enough to read it all in one setting. However it took awhile for me to wrap my head around how I felt about it. What I did like was the two sisters and the interactions they had with each other. Scarlett was the steady and responsible one, while Tella was impetuous. Also the pacing was very well done, especially in a book about a “game” when there are downtimes sometimes that can tedious and I never felt that here.

I also have to give major props to the plot development because there were a million twists and turns in this book, all logical and well-thought out. I spent so much time trying to figure out what was going on because I had that sinking sensation that there was so much that Scarlett and the reader didn’t know.

That was an accurate depiction of the story too. Scarlett is kept in the dark because of the role she plays, but man is it annoying. That was probably the biggest issue I had with the book. Everyone around her spends all this time trying to protect her, but she’s the one who’s been doing all the protecting up until now. Scarlett is the one who’s managed to make sure that she and Tella have survived their father, and she’s not stupid. If anything her advice should be more welcomed because she can make logical rational decisions.

The book had kind of a steam-punk, mid century pirate feel. Don’t ask me how that works but it does. It was thrilling, and had such an element of danger that it made my breath catch more than once. I would give it 4.5 out of 5 stars.

04half4.5/5 – Fabulous Read, Recommended

**Please Note: This review is my honest opinion and I did not receive monetary compensation from it.**


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Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .