*I received an ARC of this book for review.
I would recommend this book for ages 14 and up.
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 was completely shocked that I loved this book as much as I did. Reviewers have been raving about Caraval for months now which is why I was a little put off by it. Many times I’ve been super excited for a book but once it gets hyped up my expectations get higher and many times the book doesn’t reach what I was hoping it would. This was not a problem with Caraval, it deserves all of the hype it has been receiving.
Everyone has been comparing this book to the Night Circus by Erin Morganstern which I can see. Caraval definitely shares the same beautiful and lyrical atmosphere of The Night Circus but I don’t think that the plot or the characters resembled it at all. Stephanie Garber wrote something unique that is completely her own, and honestly, I much preferred it over The Night Circus. The setting was gorgeous and I loved how she described Caraval and explained the rules of the game as the story moved forward. There was no info dumping, she simply told you the information as it was needed.
As always, my favorite part of Caraval were the characters. Scarlett and Tella are sisters as well as best friends even though they have completely opposite personalities. Scarlett is the follow the rules type while Tella believes in living life to the fullest no matter how much trouble it may cause. I loved that Stephanie showed the pros and cons of both personalities and how both sisters accepted each other for who they were and were willing to defend each other no matter the situation. Even though there was definitely a romantic storyline I felt like it was more of a backdrop to the relationship between Scarlett and Tella. Of course, Julian was wonderful too and the relationship between him and Scarlett was written very well. Many times in books, once the two characters fall in love they are completely willing to give everything up for each other. It was refreshing to have two characters that loved each other but were still fighting for their own individual causes.
In short, this book was absolutely incredible and it’s going to be a huge success once it comes out. I can’t wait to read the second one and I’m very interested to see how Stephanie will continue the story.
Violence: 3/5 Stars: 5/5
Language: 0/5 (?) Pages: 401
Romance: 2/5 Buy Book Here: Amazon