Caraval by Stephanie Garber (2016)
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy,
Reading Time: 15/12/16 – 21/12/16
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.
Lets start off by safely saying that I loved this book, it was a perfect blend of The Night Circus and then something entirely new. I have compiled a little pinterest board if you want to get a feel for the themes in the book without getting any spoilers then click HERE.
This story starts with two sisters who really want to go to Caraval, a strange a mysterious carnival that is very hard to attain tickets for. After writing to the Caraval Master, Legend, for many years the girls finally gain admittance. Of course this is no normal carnival with normal events and happy goings on. The girls get quite a bit more than they bargained for as they sneak away for a last few days of fun.
If you are at all a fan of the strange, mysteries and magic then I urge you to pick up a copy of this book on it’s release day, January 31st!
This book was unpredictable at every turn, whenever I thought I knew what was going to happen or I tried to guess the ending I was thrown totally off track, which I thought fitted perfectly with the stressed, lost feel that Scarlett has throughout the most of this book. During her challenges to find her sister Scarlett lets her hair down and whilst facing the danger of her fear of loosing her sister forever, she also learns to be more adventurous and not take the safest path.
As much as the Caraval sounds like it totally messes with your head and everything else that could be messed with, I would quite like to go. Maybe I would just spectate and try on all of the amazing clothes and eat some weird food or use weird potions. I would like to try on Scarlett’s dress that changes the way it looks.
Personally I loved Scarlett as a main character, but not as much as I loved Julian. He kept on surprising me, as did everything else in this book, but the changes in his character, just so clever! I thought I was seeing actual character development, but then no, it just turns out he has this whole other motive.
*Be warned, there are now spoilers that will ruin every page of this book for you… well maybe not ever page.*
I really appreciated that this was based on sisterly love and whilst there was a romantic sideline this was in no way the leading narrative plot. Scarlett and Tella are very different people, but Scarlett knows her sister well and will do anything to save her. She went as far as she could to bring her sister back and boy did it screw with her. Legend sounds like some crazy insane guy and yet I didn’t hate him. In the epilogue when Tella is dancing with a man and then he just disappears and it’s meant to be Legend, I was so desperate for more of the story! I am very glad this will be a duology, this is one of the most magical stories I have read for a long time.
It was so intriguing to read about the different people who worked in the Caraval and what jobs they did, as well as they way payment was taken. Inner me was screaming at Scarlett not to give away days of life for those dresses, which I think always shows the sign of a good book, one that really gets you involved. I enjoyed the other guests that were taking part and how involved they got even though we all knew this was Scarlett’s story to make.
All in all, this was a totally fabulous book and was one of my favourite reads of 2016, despite the 2017 release date. I received this book in exchange for an honest review and I think I have done just that. There were no flaws in this novel and I can’t wait to read more from Stephanie Garber!