By: Stephanie Garber
Released: January 31, 2017
Source: ARC from NYCC
Purchase the Book: Amazon
*An advanced reader's copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review
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. (Goodreads)
I loved Caraval and I wish could read this book for the first time again. It was such a twisted and magical story.
Caraval is the story of sisters, Scarlett and Tella, who escape from their father to attend Caraval. It's an invitation only game that happens once a year and the audience is a part of the game. Scarlett has been told that it's only a game, but Tella is kidnapped as soon as they arrive and whoever finds her first wins.
Scarlett was a well developed and complex protagonist. She's always dreamed of seeing the Caraval performers and she is so excited when she receives the invitation to attend. However, she is also very cautious. She is Tella's big sister and does whatever she can to try to protect her little sister after their mother left them. Scarlett tries to place all of the responsibility on her own shoulders. She even agrees to an arranged marriage in the hopes that it can better the life of her and her sister. I respected Scarlett for her determination and I understood why she felt the need to be so cautious. However, I also understood why Tella would push her so much to live her life as well. I even found myself agreeing with Tella and wanting Scarlett to take a chance.
There were also so many interesting and well developed side characters throughout this book. From the sailor, who helps the sisters get off their island, to Legend, the master behind Caraval. However, one of my favorite aspects of Caraval was that at the heart, it's a story of two sisters and how far each would go to protect the other. The relationship between Scarlett and Tella was so real. They have their differences and don't always agree on what's best. Tella is much more impulsive where Scarlett is more careful. They love each so much though and that was strongly evident on the pages within this book. I loved that even though Scarlett was the older sister, Tella would still try to protect Scarlett in the same way.
The plot was paced well and I found it so difficult to put this book down. I loved how mysterious and twisted the story was because I genuinely didn't know what to expect next. There was a new surprise every couple of chapters and just as soon as I thought I figured it all out, there was another twist waiting. This is definitely one of those books where the less you know before reading it, the better.
Garber truly created a fascinating and magical world that I quickly got swept up in. I loved how colorful and unique it all was. It's definitely become one of my new favorite fictional worlds. Garber's writing was also stunning and there were so many lines that I found myself writing down. I'm looking forward to reading what she writes next.
Overall, I loved Caraval! It was a beautiful and surprising story that you won't be able to stop thinking about long after you finish reading. The characters were well developed and the world was built with so much detail. Caraval is definitely one of the must-read books of this year!