Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber


Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Pub. Date: January 2017
Pages: 416
Format: ARC
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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 . . .

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.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.

The Review

I followed a lot of the hype for Caraval, and I went back and forth on whether I wanted to read it or not. One minute it sounded really good, the next I just wasn’t sure. It was on my wishlist and figured I’d get to it eventually, but then I won an ARC.

The rest is history. I didn’t think I’d like it . . . the first chapter or so was a little off putting, but it still kept me intrigued and kept me reading. I didn’t want to put it down, even long after my eyes wouldn’t stay open any longer! Such an amazing book, and I am so glad I read it!

I immediately loved Julian the second he called Scarlett by the name “Crimson.” I shipped them pretty hard from then on. I still worried about his intentions the further into the story we got, because we find him in so many questionable situations.

I really liked Scarlett and her determination to find Tella. I am technically an only child, so I guess I don’t understand the sister dynamic. With that said, I am torn on how to feel about Scarlett and Tella’s relationship. Scarlett is the responsible one while Tella is the more wild and carefree one. However, it just felt like Scarlett was saving or protecting someone who didn’t care. It’s almost like Tella knew that Scarlett would do whatever and would be there no matter how careless she is, so she’s taking advantage. And I get it . . . if I had a sister, I would do everything and whatever I have to for her. It just felt awkward with Scarlett’s protectiveness and Tella’s “whatever” mentality.

Everything was so detailed and descriptive, that it made it feel like I was experiencing Caraval myself! It was such a fun read to get pulled into the world. And Legend is definitely an interesting character and I couldn’t get enough of the world of Caraval. There’s a story behind Legend and Caraval, and it was very fun to learn the history.

There’s magic, intrigue, a story to tell. And one hell of a cliffhanger!


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