Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Published January 31st 2017 by Flatiron Books
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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 Rating: (4.5 stars, really)
I found this book pretty interesting, and it was just purely magical! If I had to describe it, I’d say it’s a circus version of a cross between Alice in Wondeland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. It’s a world of pure imagination!
The protagonist Scarlett is the older of the two sisters, and she deeply cares for her sister Donatella. Growing up with an abusive father, all she wants is for them to be safe, and believes that it can happen when she gets married and is able to leave Trisda, with her sister in tow.
Tella is the complete opposite of her sister. She’s bold, a bit reckless, and always craving for adventure. Scarlett feels the need to always look out for her, though she tends to protect her sister in her own way too. She isn’t showy about it, but she deeply cares for Scarlett
Enter Julian, a handsome sailor who helps them escape Trisda, even just for a while to attend Caraval at Isla de los Sueños. He’s a very mysterious character, since for me the circumstances were a little too convenient. I had a few guesses on what he really was, but lol I was wrong.
There’s Master Legend is the mysterious owner and host of Caraval whos motives were much more complex than just inviting the sisters to Caraval for entertainment. He also is giving off Jim Moriarty vibes, which I really loved.
I had a lot of trust issues with the plot, especially when every now and then the characters kept reminding the main character, even me as a reader that “Remember it’s only a game”. I like how this made me question even the tiniest details, and I absolutely love the world building in this. This book had me so absorbed that kinda lost track of time while reading this (I stayed up until around 4am whoops)
The epilogue was a nice touch, making me look forward to more things to come. I also loved the twist at the end, showing how deeper the Scarlett and Tella’s family is involved with Caraval. Overall this was an amazing read, and I really enjoyed it. If you have not read this yet, definitely go check it out!