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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber


Book: Caraval, Stephanie Garber 
Series: Caraval #1 
Publisher: Flatiron Books 
Release Date: January 31st, 2017

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.

“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.”

Sometimes, despite having a TBR list way too long to be realistic, you still read a book simply because everyone is talking about it and you want to find out what all the hype is about. That is why I read Caraval, at first. (As well as that cover. Cause look at it!)

But then I started reading, and just became enchanted and enthralled by the writing, and the story, the characters. It was so unique and refreshing to read. I had no idea how high or low to set my expectations when I started reading, but by the time I finished, everything was blown out of the water. It’s simply a magical book.

When you first start reading you think you’ll be able to figure out the story and how it’s going to end, but Caraval has a way of twisting the storyline so that whatever you thought was going to happen is completely, utterly, wrong. Every page takes you in a different direction that leaves you scratching your head and on the edge of your seat, trying to figure out exactly how Caraval works.

“Again, she tried to remember this was only a game. But it was not the game she thought it would be.”

Our main character is Scarlett. She and her younger sister are trapped on an island with their physically abusive father, and Scarlett believes her only chance at freedom is to marry a man she’s never met. However, her sister, Tella, is more adventurous and knows there’s more to life than marrying a man that was arranged by their father. And one week before Scarlett’s wedding, an invitation to the mysterious and alluding Caraval arrives, and while Scarlett is unsure, Tella convinces her sister that this is their one chance at escape.

Caraval is a game that occurs every year, hosted by the fascinating but illusive Legend and his crew of performers. You can opt to be a watcher in the game or a player, but you must follow the rules and not put too much faith in everything you see. Scarlett struggles with knowing who to trust and who’s telling the truth throughout the game, but by playing, she learns things about herself and discovers bravery inside her and just how far she’ll go to save the ones she loves.

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

This book had a very fast pace and there’s very few dull moments. With each passing day you can feel the weight of how much time Scarlett has left to win the game, and yet, as the stakes grew higher, there’s still development of the relationship between Scarlett and the romantic interest, Julian, and it was done really well. It slowly progressed throughout the book at a very realistic way and I cheered them on until the very end.

I have noticed recently that many YA books follow similar tropes as there are so many being released, but this book breaks all those tropes in a really enjoyable way. It was unpredictable, entertaining, with just the right amount of magic and wonder and mystery. Just don’t let yourself get too carried away, remember: it’s only a game. 


  1. I just bought this on my kindle! So excited to start!!! I'm glad you enjoyed it and cool post :) P.S i am in love with that bookshelf background!
    Kariny @kariny's boox frenzy

    1. Oh great I hope you love it :D And thanks so much! I wish I could say it was my actual bookshelf, haha ;)

  2. Yes! I loved this book as well! It was great and it really does break the tropes very nicely!

    1. Oh that's fantastic I'm so glad! I always love reading books that can break tropes like that, especially with so many YA books being released

  3. Oooh, I've been dying to get my hands on this book! It sounds amazing, filled with magic and intrigue :D

    1. It really is in the best way! So many twists and turns and no way of knowing where the book will lead you!


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