Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . . Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and 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.
Scarlett is an easy character to like. Her motives are simple. As the older sister, it is her job to protect her sibling, her duty to marry, and her responsibility to stay her father’s hand. This girl has one focus and one focus only: marry the fiancé she’s never met and take her sister with her. Scarlett is not really living her life. Her fear rules her, and it is heartbreaking. She sacrifices much to protect her sister, including her dreams.
I’ll admit Tella wasn’t my favorite character. She was portrayed as selfish, uncaring about the consequences of her actions. Our first encounter with her, she is holed up in the wine cellar with a sailor. Do you see why it’s hard to like her? Scarlett sacrifices so much for her and this is what we see. However I do love what the author does with her character.
The plot of the story revolves around the events of Caraval. Scarlett has always dreamed of attending and has written to Master Legend every year since her mother disappeared. He’s never responded. Now she is getting married and he finally responds with tickets. That is how the story begins and I’ll be honest I was shocked at how fast the pace moved. I felt like I couldn’t keep up. I loved the mystery surrounding Caraval which reminded me a bit as a cross between an elaborate circus and Wonderland. There isn’t much known about the game except rumor, yet the mystery and excitement holds the reader captive. And the imagery….loved the imagery! It is so vivid, the colors and scenes bleed from the page.
As I’ve been writing this review, I’ve been trying to put into words why I loved the story so much and I feel I’m doing a poor job. Caraval is billed as a game, but it isn’t a game like The Hunger Games was a game. There isn’t really competition per se. It’s like a puzzle game, one that no matter how many times you read it, I think you will catch different clues. It isn’t a story that contains dramatic irony, where the reader knows something the character doesn’t. We learn things at the same speed as the character and the author does a fantastic job of keeping us guessing right to the very end. I personally was shocked and awed at every turn. I cried when Scarlett cried, I fell in love when Scarlett fell in love, and my heart broke with hers. That is a true marker of a great author!
Overall I love this book! I can’t say that enough. I found myself engrossed. When I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about the events that had happened so far. Even now that I’ve finished the book, I’m still thinking about the events and characters and can’t help but wonder what life has in store for them next. I think I missed the memo that they are fictional. If you enjoy fantasy, excitement, and a touch of romance, I highly recommend you grab a copy of Caraval as soon as it is on the shelves!
*This review appeared first on Mom with a Reading Problem: https://www.momwithareadingproblem.com/2017/01/weekend-reads-90-caraval-stephanie-garber/
-Imagery that bleeds off the pages
-Keeps you guessing till the end
"He'd been plying the role of a villain for so long, he'd become one in real life." (97%)
No matter how amazing my predictions were, they never happened. It made reading so much more fun, to think so certainly that you know exactly what's coming, and then BAM! it's nothing you could have expected, and it's so much better than anticipated! The game felt so real and tangible, as if I was there as a watcher, watching Scarlett lose her mind in some situations and dominate in others. Everything felt real. It was so difficult to remember it was all a game, even with all the reminders, and Scarlett felt that way too. It is honestly amazing how the author executed the game, with all the twists and plays, the devious little mind tricks, the hunt for clues mixed with all these paths that have destruction and chaos on them. This is a deadly, violent and dark game; but remember, it's just a game.
I was actually very surprised to find romance in this book, even though I expected there to be some. Perhaps it is just who it was between that surprised me. Either way, it was very enjoyable to read. The romance is a slow, sweet burn that blossomed into this marvelous rose of adoration and affection, one you can't help but enjoy. I definitely want more of this in the sequel!
"Don't look at me like that," Scarlett said. "It doesn't work on me."
"That's why it's fun." (22%)
As for character development, I can see why everyone enjoys it. Scarlett grows a lot in this book, and the more we learn of Julian and Legend, the more we see how they could have changed as well. Donatella however, didn't seem to change at all. She is still the devious, bright, happy girl she was in the beginning, only now Scarlett realizes how far she would go to protect Scarlett as well. Suffice it to say, I am definitely looking forward to seeing them in the sequel and how they might continue to grow.
Overall, Caraval is a quick, engrossing read. I recommend trying it!
The most outstanding of Caraval is the setting. The story is set in a world we don't know. Stephanie Garber is really creative and did awesome things with names and places that made me think of Pirates of the Caribbean. Tropical, magical and super interesting. It is completely different from any YA book I've read this year and I totally appreciate the originality of the story. It's told as if you're watching a movie. It will make you keep reading, even when the storyline isn't really going anywhere (at some points, it didn't).
Like I said: the story was a bit slow sometimes. At some moments, I could just put it down and do something else. I could put it down. But the way the story was told, kept me picking up the book over and over again. Halfway through the book, the pace picked up. All of the sudden there was loads of action and the ending really surprised me. Some big plot twist happened which I didn't see coming and that I liked. The ending of the book swept me away and got me all excited about the book.
The characters in the book are good. Julian, the guy who takes the sisters to Caraval, really is annoying. He doesn't listen, he just wants to do things his way and doesn't take Scarlett's feeling seriously. There is some tension between Julian en Scarlett, but I just hoped they wouldn't end up together. After finishing the book, I liked Julian a whole lot more. Somehow, these characters work together. Scarlett's sister, Donatella, is a dreamer. She sees the best in everybody which makes her a bit naive at some points. At the end, they make a good team.
Like I said: the book didn't start out too well for me. But the ending really surprised me and got me all psyched about its sequel (which will come soon, I hope). It's an easy read once you get to know the characters and read through the first couple of chapters. Stephanie's writing style is really captivating and I think the book speaks to a bigger audience. If you like Julie Kagawa, or maybe Maggie Stiefvater, you will adore this book!
- Original world
- Plot twists at the ending
I LOVE LOVE LOVED this book. It was such a beautifully crafted tale filled with magic, intrigue, romance, and suspense. It really had it all. I enjoyed this book so much, in fact, that I neglected all of my school work and other responsibilities to binge read it in one day. Not a smart move I know, but I couldn't help myself. The author had me from the very first chapter, which is not a common occurrence for myself particularly with fantasy novels. Somehow the author managed to make a just over four hundred page book feel short, and not in a bad way. The book was just so well paced that it never felt boring or lagging. I honestly can't think of one complaint when it comes to this book.
Stephanie Garber's world building was honestly amazing in this book. The book is so descriptive that it is easy for the reader to get sucked in and really envision everything that happens in the novel. The world of Caraval has this sinister and magical feel that really sucked me in; I truly haven't read anything like it before. The only thing I could say is that I would have liked a little more explanation of the Isles and the world outside of Caraval. Even something as small as a map would have been helpful. That being said, I can understand why the author didn't add this as the book is already four hundred pages adding more of the Isles may get to be too much.
The world is nothing without the characters, and Garber honestly creates some of the best I have read in quite a while. I really enjoyed the main character, Scarlett. She was a sensible character who tries to think rationally and make the best decision she can, but sometimes her heart gets in the way. I think it is her rationality and her devotion to her sister that really drew me to her as a character, her sister, on the other hand, I couldn't stand for most of the book. She was too reckless and too much of a menace for my taste. However, she does have some redeeming qualities to her. I think the most interesting part of these characters is the dichotomy between the two sisters. They were about as different as two characters can get, and yet they both had a deep level of loyalty and devotion to one another that I really enjoyed.
This story, while it had great characters, was definitely a plot-driven story, and boy was the plot amazing. This book is the definition of a page-turner. Every time you think something is going to happen the story takes one-eighty and goes in a completely opposite direction. I am usually pretty good at guessing the plot of a book, so I love it when a book can trick me and leave me stumped. This book did just that.and had a killer cliff-hanger to boot.
This book left me desperate for more, I absolutely cannot wait until the sequel, Legendary, comes out. I will be impatiently waiting for the publication of the next book. I simply cannot wait to continue reading about the magnificent world that Garber has created.
The more I think about Tella the more pissed off I become. I feel like the story's message about abuse was invalidated by the way Tella got away with gaslighting Scarlett. I get that Scarlett loves her sister and feels protective of her. And I accept that people will do anything for freedom. But what I can't accept is the way Scarlett so easily forgave Tella. HER SISTER KNOWINGLY MADE HER FEEL INSANE AND THEN TERRIFIED HER BY DYING! And Scarlett was willing to die to protect Tella. Then Tella set up everything to burn a wish. She used Scarlett to prove that she was loved enough. That should garner my sympathy. But Tella has no remorse for her actions and Scarlett enables this behavior.
I hope that book two clarifies this. I'm interested in Tella's story. But I hope her act of gaslighting isn't swept under the carpet and forgotten.
This ending aside, the book itself was a fun romp and I LOVED how Scarlett stood up to her father at the end. Looking forward to book two!!!
Sometimes, I judge a book by its cover. That was definitely true when I picked up Caraval. I honestly had no idea what the story was about, but the exquisite cover convinced me to read it, and I’m glad I did, as this book now holds place of pride among my most treasured novels.
Scarlett has always dreamed of seeing Caraval, a magical “game” which takes place on an island and which requires a ticket of admission. She has heard the stories from her grandmother how exciting the game of Caraval is and naturally, wants to attend. For years she’s written letters to Caraval’s creator, Master Legend, hoping he’ll send her two tickets to the game: one for her and one for her sister. The letters always go unanswered. As the years go by, she agrees to an arranged marriage escape from her abusive father. She writes a final letter to Legend explaining that due to her upcoming nuptials, she will no longer write him. Legends finally responds with 3 tickets to the magical island where Caraval takes place and an invitation to play the game. What happens next is an amazing adventure for Scarlett and her sister!
It’s difficult to identify something I did NOT like about this book. Fantasy writers have a great challenge creating a new world in believable and clear language and weaving that world into a story that maintains its momentum. Stephanie Garber excelled at painting a beautiful picture, without creating dull passages explaining every detail. The concept and creation of Caraval was clear and concise and never left me feeling overwhelmed with description. The plot moved. The characters, lovable and humorous, are easy to root for. I enjoyed the dialogue even while trying to determine who were the good characters and who were the bad. I am a sucker for a great ending, and this book provided that in spades. With all the plot elements tied up, I wasn’t left with questions that require a second book to answer. However, Garber leaves enough intrigue for a sequel, and readers will surely be desperate for more from the world of Caraval. I can’t wait to pick up Garber’s next installment!
For ages 12 and up. This novel had some violence but no sex or explicit language. This book will definitely appeal to YA fantasy lovers and especially fans of REBEL IN THE SANDS In and THE LUNAR CHRONICLES.
CARAVAL earns 4.5 North of Normal stars.
These are all words I can use to describe this amazing book. Caraval is unlike any book I've read before and it blew me away! I do not give out five stars easily, a book has to earn them from me and this one did! It sucked me in within the first three chapters and then I could not put the book down! The characters, the plot, the world are so very well developed.
I will say that while I love reading about this book that it is not a world I'd ever want to visit. It's dark and you can't even trust what you see with your own eyes. I would be the worst player that this game in the history of players. I admire Scarlett for what all she goes through and all for the love her and her sister share. There are so many plot twists and even parts where I was sure I had it all figured out and then BAM, something changed again. It will keep you guessing until the last page.
This book is so mind blowing and epic. You NEED to read this book! I recommend it to everyone!
2) A Fun Read