Caraval by Stephanie Garber
The first book in the Caraval series.
My Rating – 5*/5*
‘Remember, it’s only a game…
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.’
I went into this book not knowing what to expect exactly and I think that was the best decision I made when it came to this book as it wasn’t what I expected at all (and I say that in a good way). I need bits about what it entailed from different people’s reviews, both good and bad but all I can say was that I ended up really loving this book.
The setting was absolutely magical, full of big dressed, top hats, lots of velvet items taking place on two different islands and then inside the magical world of Caraval which I think is just a massive theatre that holds a city? It’s sort of confusing but it will make all the sense when you pick up the book (which you should) and start reading it because I was captivated pretty much straight away.
So not only was the setting breathtakingly magical but the characters were as well. I loved Scarlett who started out as a very naïve young woman turned out to be exactly the opposite at the end. Julian, I loved and hated at the same time because he as such a mystery. Tella I didn’t really like very much to be honest, she was probably the most interesting but I just didn’t find her a very likeable character.
The side characters such as the count and Tella’s father along with the mysterious Legend the master of the caraval were also super interesting to read about and see how they fit into our story.
Also, a little side note. The entire time I read this book I pretty much suspected everyone to be Legend in disguise :’)
And, as per above I was very wrong with my guesses but oh well! I still enjoyed trying to piece together the magic that was caraval. (which I kept saying is head as carnival? I feel like I need to youtube how to exactly pronounce caraval).
There was plot twist after plot twist in this book, I don’t think there was even a part in it that I was bored. I found it a thrilling and magical book to read and I wasn’t disappointed by it at all, I can’t wait to get my hands on the second book to see what’s in store for our characters.