Review--Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Whatever you've 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.


So apparently there’s this book called Caraval by debut author Stephanie Garber. You’ve likely been seeing hype about if for the past year. I know I have. And all I have to say to that is: It’s warranted!! Caraval was absolutely freaking amazing!! I’ll admit, I didn’t jump on this bandwagon as quickly as others, but I think that was the best decision because it meant my wait wasn’t nearly as torturous! I even stopped reading reviews, because I decided I wanted to go into this book completely blind! And I have to say, that really, totally worked out for me in the best possible way! 

Scarlett and Tella are two sisters who have an abusive father. After their mother ran away some years back, their father kind of got a little darker.  Scarlett and Tella have always protected one another, that’s why when Scarlett marries her fiancĂ© of an arranged marriage, she plans on bring Tella with her away from her father’s cruel hand. For years, Scarlett has written to the legendary Caraval Master Legend begging him to bring his legendary game to her island home. Then one day it happens, sort of. Scarlett received tickets for three to attend Caraval at an island not too far from her home. But Scarlett has grown up and knows that attending isn’t quite possible. Until Tella takes matters into her own hands. 

Tella convinces a sailor, Julian, that she has recently met to take her and her sister to this island to play the game. But it’s not long before Tella is taken and Scarlett will have to play the game if she wishes to rescue her sister and win the prize of one wish. 

This story really took me by surprise in some ways. We’re constantly reminded that it’s only a game, but naturally I did indeed forget this at times! There are so many hidden dangers is this world that Scarlett finds herself in. Then there’s Julian who has stuck by her side despite the fact that these two rarely get along. Though despite the odds, a friendship of sorts is formed. 

In some twisted way, this book reminded me of L.J. Smith’s The Forbidden Game trilogy. Yes, we have the mysterious Julian either way, but there’s also a game to be played, a dangerous game. Granted the two have so many differences from one another, but it was just like a very light and gentle similarity in the grand scheme of things. And I think because of that, I found myself really enjoying this one! 

Granted, we still have impeccable storytelling going on! Caraval was pure magic! There was so much buildup to this story! So many details, and it doesn’t come across as wordy. It’s beautifully written! The characters were all extra ordinary and they all had so much depth to them! Not to mention how thick the plot was! It would seem that things are easily perceived, but as the story goes on, the plot truly thickens! Never has that description really applied so well to a book, for me, before, Caraval defeats all the odds! 

The pacing of this book was spot on! Every now and then you come across that book where the pacing isn’t quite fast, but nowhere near slow, and leaves you utterly hooked from the first page! Caraval is one of those kinds of books! 

Then there’s the spine-tingling romance. Pretty much from the start you know that there might be something happening between Scarlett and Julian, despite being engaged to a man she’s never met before. And I love that it was the gradual kind. Where our characters aren’t quite friends, then you move towards something like comrades with bouts of teasing and then moving into friendship and after that, you pretty much know where things are headed! As I said, a nice gradual buildup to something more! The best kind of romance! 

The ending to this one…the ending was superb! Just when you think you might have uncovered the secrets of Caraval, you learn how wrong you are! And trust me, there’s nothing wrong with being wrong! LOL! I’d like to tell you that this fantabuolous novel doesn’t end with a cliffhanger to drive you mad for the next some odd 365 days, but I can’t. I will say that the ending even with said cliffhanger isn’t as agonizing as others have been. But it does leave you with a few more mysteries and puzzles that you’re itching to solve and a possible direction for the next book! Which I most certainly cannot wait to read!! 

Forget everything you’ve heard about Caraval to date. Forget my review even. Caraval is truly a read you must experience for yourself! Go in completely blind and unhindered by the vast majority of opinions. You will not be disappointed with this one! Let the story and magic that is Caraval sweep you away…and remember it’s only a game!* 

*Sorry, I couldn’t resist adding that one! Heehee!



Overall Rating 5/5 stars




13 comments:

  1. Great review! I'm really looking forward to this one! Glad it lives up to the hype! :)

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  2. I should be starting this one this weekend. Thanks for the post.

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  3. Caraval? Nope, never heard of that one before... XD hahahaha.

    But in all seriousness, I absolutely adore this book, and I'm so glad to see more and more people loving it. It's one of those rare books (I think) that has crazy hype, and totally deserves and lives up to it. Great review :)

    Brittany @ Brittany's Book Rambles

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  4. Great review Jessica. I loved Caraval too! :) It;s so nice when a book lives up to the hype.

    Michelle Book Briefs

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  5. Yay I'm happy you liked this one Jess! One thing that I'm realizing that bothered me is that we don't get a lot of information about the Scarlett's fiance. It seems like he should have had more a storyline.

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  6. I have this book waiting for me--i preordered it and am making myself finish the other 2 books I'm reading first so I can give this all my attention. I can't wait and I'm so happy you loved it!!

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  7. I adored this one too. And you make a good point about the cliffhanger--but it didn't feel like a REAL cliffhanger since we got pretty much all of book one wrapped up, but the cliffhanger just introduced us to what's going to happen in book two. That's the perfect way to do it, in my opinion!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

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  8. I agree! This was an amazing book. I am always very surprised when a book lives up to the hype. I'm so glad this one did!

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  9. Heard a lot of good things about this book. I can't wait to read it. Great review!

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  10. Nice Information you have written here. Really Great Stuff. I keep it bookmark for our future purpose. Thanks for the information and links you shared this is so should be a useful and quite informative
    Secret Caraval Launch

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  11. I did end up reading it and enjoyed the mystery of it all. Looking forward to how she does the next one. Still a lot of questions unanswered.

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  13. I absolutely loooved this book. I'd heard so many good things about it before reading it, but you never know until you read it. It was worth the read and then some. Great review! :-)
    Gabby @ What's Beyond Forks?

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