Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Review

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.”

As one who reads voraciously, it’s difficult to find a book which really leaves its mark. One which feels fresh, exciting and engrossing. Caraval was one of those rare books that swept me away into a nighttime world where magic and reality blurred. A world of wicked games, of illusions and heartbreaks, and one in which true love is tested with every choice.

With bright and vivid brush strokes, Garber brings to life a story about two sisters trapped by circumstance, longing for freedom and adventure. Scarlett and Tella want nothing more than to escape from their ruthless father, and finally they have the chance when they’re invited as guests to the legendary game of Caraval.

Scarlett’s impending marriage is their way out of their father’s clutches, or so she thinks. Going to Caraval would comprimise that, but at Tella’s insistence, she convinces herself to go for one night only. With the help of a mysterious boy, Scarlet is whisked away to experience the performance of a lifetime. Shortly after arriving, however, Tella is kidnapped and Scarlett’s plans fall apart. She must somehow find Tella and make it back in time for her arranged wedding.

But Caraval is not a game to be easily manipulated and Scarlett quickly becomes entrenched in a game where truth and lies become impossible to decipher. Time is running out, and before the end, blood is spilt, heartbreak is certain, and nothing is the same for these two girls who hoped for a better future.

The story and the world in which it unfolds is lush, enchanting, shimmering with magic and possibility. It really felt as if I’d fallen down the rabbit hole to experience something fantastically new and dangerously hypnotic. Plenty of plot twists had me on an emotional edge until the very end, which packed many a surprise. Caraval is an imaginative debut that shouldn’t be missed.

About Caraval

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.

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Comments

  1. Haven’t got the chance to read yet, but every review I see makes me more and more intrigued. Of course, part of that is the cover, which kind of reminds me of The Night Circus for some reason. 🙂 Great review!

  2. Every review I read about this book gets me more and more excited. I haven’t been so excited to read a series starter since Six of Crows and that book became one of my absolute favorites. Lovely review!

  3. Burma Turner says:

    I have heard so many good things about this book. It sounds amazing!

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