Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Published January 31st 2017
Genres: YA, Fantasy
Format: Paperback / Audiobook
Buy: Book Depository | Amazon
Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.
Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.
Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.
When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.
Well, that was unexpected! I actually totally adored this! I’ve been putting this off because I heard the writing was very lyrical and so on, and normally that’s not my cup of tea. But to be honest I felt this was just beautiful! Plus, normally this type of writing tends to make the book slow – but this was anything but slow!
The world in this book is completely amazing and everything just kept on surprising me. I love magic, but not circus per se. But this? It was perfect for me. It was interesting, mysterious, exciting, dark, beautiful, and so so unreliable! It’s a world that completely mesmerized me and that I long to be in again.
Caraval is a magical game. It’s only played once a year and only for the few who are lucky enough to get tickets. In this game, you can choose to be either a spectator or a player. But by being a player, if you win the game, you win a wish. And where magic is real, a wish can be everything you desire. Our main character Scarlett loves Caraval and has been sending letters to its master, Legend, her whole life! Finally, one of her letters is answered and she gets tickets that make it possible for her and her sister to venture into this new world where everything might just be or seem possible.
Scarlett is not the typical female character I normally tend to love, but she actually managed to surprise me, and I loved her love for her sister and what they would do for each other. I’m a sucker for family bonds and those two are a strong pair. That’s one of the traits I must admire in them, and that made me more attached too. They truly have a beautiful bond and you can see that on every page. I did prefer Scarlett to Donatella but I absolutely despised their father. He is manipulative, sick, and this book has more than one scene of abuse both physical and psychological that I never imagined possible.
I loved how Scarlett managed to start trusting herself and to see herself in a way she didn’t before. She realizes that her actions are not at fault, but it’s her father’s actions that are. She didn’t do anything to be abused and she shouldn’t blame or subject herself to that. It was beautiful to see that slowly unfolding. I also loved her partnership with Julian. It was incredibly fun to see them playing and discovering each other. They started as strangers and it felt very realistic how their relationship evolved. He was for sure a mystery of a guy and I had a bit of a hate-love relationship with him! I just hope Scarlett maintains her strong self in the next book and becomes more independent…
This is an extremely exciting book, full of surprises, where every page you read makes you doubt yourself if what’s happening is true or just a game. It’s really mind-blowing and I love this type of scheme-y books that leave you not knowing what to root for or what to believe in. It made it just SO SO exciting! It’s an amazing world, and a hell of a magical game – and I would love to experience that!
This book is extremely addicting and I dreaded having to put it down. It completely hooked me and I would definitely recommend it!
Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let’s discuss it in the comments below!