Synopsis of Caraval by Stephanie Garber:
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
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars
This book has been one of my favorites that I’ve read this year. And that’s saying something, as it’s in the company of Girls of Paper and Fire, Children of Blood and Bone and other fantastic novels.
Some of the strengths of this book include character development, world-building, and an actually intriguing mystery. I’ve read so many books in my life, and particularly YA, that I’ve picked up the knack for identifying plot twists before they happen. However, that didn’t happen with this book. I truly didn’t foresee any of the twists in this book, which was refreshing. For example, I went nearly the entire book expecting a certain love interest to be a different person, and I was completely off the mark. I also loved how the two sisters, Tella and Scarlett, have a complex relationship. They don’t agree with what the other does all the time, but they’re willing to see through to the important things. I enjoyed that concept because I feel like in many novels, sisters are presented as either the best of friends or mortal enemies. There aren’t many novels with sisters who fall somewhere in between.
The only weakness I think the book has is that the pacing is insane. Things happen one after another and the drama is pretty high. This isn’t a bad thing per se, but by the end of the book, I had forgotten a few important things that had happened earlier in the book, simply because so much had happened by that point. I also (potential spoiler ahead) felt a bit icky about how a relationship turned out at the end. With everything that had been done to her, it felt a little unbelievable that she would forgive her love interest so quickly for what he did.
All in all, I’m sad I didn’t read this book sooner and I can’t wait to dive into the next book in the series, Legendary, which is told from Tella’s point of view. If you like mysteries, fantasy, magic, and romance, this book should fit the bill.
Mooney wanted to help write my review today. 🙂