Author Stephanie Garber’s “Caraval” introduces you to world of circus-like magic as our main character, Scarlett, enters a treacherous game when you can lose yourself at any moment.
While not initially, or very much like, the competition it’s marketed as – I mean, how can it be a competition when the plot so-very-clearly tells you who’s going to win it? But hey, that’s fantasy for ya.
“Caraval” was another book that hauntd my Instagram feed – Has everybody read this book, except me? After going on a very long, and very unsuccessful, book hunt for the first instalment in this series – Another reader took pity on me and gifted it. And wow, what a fantastic surprise that was!
Okay, back to the book.
With a focus on the eldest of two sisters, “Caraval” plays with the reader’s imagination as they travel with Scarlett, who risks her life to win the game, or at least to save her sister.
What really stood out for me in this novel is the fact that the plot follows the unexpected and twisted nature of Caraval – You never quite know what to expect. Some of the characters were annoyingly clueless, but ultimately this helped with the overall build of our character’s story.
Although, admittedly, Scarlett just seems so annoyingly stuck up in not wanting to bend the rules, compared to her wild child of a younger sister.
Every new chapter brings a new setting, mishap or character – And while some scenes can be somewhat slow and lethargic as a result of an exaggerated amount of decription, I still felt like I was playing the game too.
After all, who doesn’t want to win a wish?
The young adult novel offers the reader insight into a magical, fairytale-esque writing style and narration, while providing you a sliver of adventure between the pages.
I’ve seen some hilariously negative reviews of “Caraval” – but honestly, that was just because it was soooo well-written.
I don’t share their sentiments, exactly. The book lived up to expectations!
Counting in its favour, naturally, is the fact that in all of the thousands of books I’ve read over my meagre lifetime, none have come close to the creative genius it took to come up with this insanely intricate enigma that’s wrapped in magic, deception and a pretty red bow (or rose, maybe?).
Enchantingly treacherous as you attempt to not lose your mind, Caraval deserves a 4 out of 5 stars.
If you’re a lover of fantasy novels, as I am, it’s best to add this to your TBR.
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.