Caraval: There isn’t anyone who hasn’t heard of Caraval. Those who want adventure and magic are always drawn to the wonders of participating in one of its games, and this year it seems like Scarlett and her sister will be able to attend.
For Scarlett, she’s more fascinated in the magic and fantasies of Caraval, unlike her sister who happens to be interested in its mastermind, Legend. Ever since she was small, Scarlett has written several letters asking for Legend to consider visiting her home in Trisda. He has never replied to any of them, but never relenting, she continues to ask him over and over again for the next several years. However, now that she’s grown up, Scarlett doesn’t believe in those kinds of fairy tales anymore. Still, it doesn’t stop her from writing one last letter, only to find that Legend has finally written back with invitations to his next game.
The idea of seeing Caraval alone sounds enticing, but Scarlett is constantly reminded of why it’s impossible to leave their home everytime she thinks about their abusive father, the governor of Trisda. Yet, after Scarlett shares the letter with Tella, her sister finds a way for both of them to leave and have the adventure of their lifetime.
However, something doesn’t seem to add up. Caraval is very exclusive, and Legend doesn’t give personal invites to just anyone who asks. Once Scarlett realizes her mistake it’s already too late, the game has begun, and Tella has disappeared only to be the main factor of this year’s Caraval.
Review: This book got me out of my reading slump!
Ever since I started it, I began to feel excited to read again! And even though I was busy and couldn’t finish it when I planned to, it was still very easy to be pulled into the world of Caraval and be swept away by the writing of this book. I was told it was whimsical, yet dark, and it certainly lived up to it. It did have a hiccup towards the end, where I felt the writing was a faded version of what it used to be (like when the dialogue seemed to grow a bit plain towards the end of the game), but it came back full force in the end. I was really happy with the pacing as well, I think it did a fine job throughout the story (still had that hiccup, but it recovered easily). It did not fail to amaze me!
I really liked Scarlett’s character (I have a favorite, but I’ll share that character in a bit). In the beginning and towards the middle (just a tad) she seemed like a person who was afraid of her own will. As the book progressed, and as she started to face harder trials questioning what she once believed, she started to grow into this character with a large backbone and a heart of gold. In the end, she kind of reverted back into that scared little girl for a bit, but she eventually remembered all that she went through, and became a strong character once again. She’s one of the best YA heroines I’ve read so far, and I had a great time seeing her evolve. She was a very likable character, for me, and that made the book stand out a lot from others.
Julian was complex for being a supporting character. For the life of me, I couldn’t dislike him. Usually, love interests are pretty predictable and/or bland, but he didn’t fit into any of those categories. In fact, the exchanges between him and Scarlett are probably one of the most entertaining I’ve read in a long while (still that hiccup in the end, but being the sappy person I am, I overlooked dialogue issues and went with the story).
Tella didn’t necessarily change, but she really was a puzzle to figure out. Her personality from the beginning certainly differed a bit at the end (that hiccup again) but she was still an enjoyable character for me to read. I believe there may be unpopular opinions about her, but I thoroughly found her character to be entertaining as well.
Okay, favorite character time. Before I said it was Legend, and that’s still true, I really enjoyed his character as the antagonist (whether he kept that roll or not) but my favorite has to be Aiko. She’s a supporting character who doesn’t really appear much until the end, and even then she’s barely in a few scenes. But I really enjoyed her a lot, and oddly, trusted her the most out of the whole book.
The world building was amazing! For example, they mentioned an interesting form of currency in the Caraval, and I won’t say what, but I thought it was pretty clever with the whole atmosphere of the book. The writing was very detailed, like I said before, it was a mix between something dreamlike and brooding, and gave the book a feeling that was neither heavy of light. Also how the book ended wasn’t truly a cliffhanger, but in a way it’s an invitation to make a second book. (Maybe it will star Tella this time, who knows?)
Overall, I highly recommend this! It was very exciting and had a bit of dramatic flare!
More: Thank you so much for reading! If you liked this review, please hit that Like and/or smash that Follow button on the bottom of my site! Also be sure to check out the author Stephanie Garber and her site! I added Legendary, the next book, to my TBR, and I can’t wait to read it! That’s it for now, I’ll swing by again later.