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.
Earlier in the year in my Top 5 Wedneday Debuts I’m Exitcied For, this book was on the the list, mainly because the premise intrigued me. Mainly because the Caraval sounds a lot like The Night Circus, and it didn’t disappoint.
Let’s first discuss the characters. Scarlett was a pretty good protagonist. While in the beginning of teh book she was very annoying and whiny which I thought would infuriate me. But as the book went on she did mellow out for me and got better. For a majority of the book she is trying to find her sister and win the Caraval game in order to do so. She realizes that she has to go through a lot of quick thinking in order to do so. I like how that she always wanted to attend the Caraval and she keeps sending letters in order to get tickets to go.
Tella, her sister is very outgoing and I love the relationship between the two sisters, which I always feel that is lacking in a lot of YA books is great sister relationships, and you see after Tella gets captured why she wants to rescue her. Both of them live in an abusive household, and dream of escaping, it is also what bonds them as sisters.
Julian, is pretty much the lovable rogue character in the book. While his character arc is playing the rogue type character, who will obviously fall in love with the female lead, I did like his character. You can tell that he cares a lot about Scarlett and wants her to find her sister. While a romance was there it didn’t distract us from the plot.The other supporting characters in the Caraval were great as well, but I wish they had a bit more development, but hopefully future books will do that.
The world building was not as great as I wanted it to be. When Scarlett finally entered Caraval, I wanted rich descriptions of worlds sort of like Alice in Wonderland, and a sense that you are “not in Kansas anymore”. But the story itself was really good. This will be most likely be very vague since I don’t want to spoil anything but I did like the twists and turns the book took, and Legend, the leader of the Caraval was a pretty good villain who reminded me a lot of Rumpelstiltskin from Once upon a Time.
At first, I didn’t like the twist but as I really thought about it, I thought it was pretty good and you see why it happened. Also the epilogue has another great twist which makes you want to know what happens next
In the end, Caraval was a great debut for Stephanie Garber which have us great story and characters that you want to see more of, and I want to see where the story goes.