Saturday, June 3, 2017

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Date of publication: January 2017

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.

Honestly, I wasn't sure what to expect when I started this Caraval.  I had seen both good and reviews on it, so I tried to go in with an open mind.   It  ended up not being what I expected.  It's a fantasy novel that features Scarlett who has the opportunity to participate in a mysterious game that is put in once per year by the equally mysterious Legend.  

For the most part, I did enjoy the story.  As I said before it is a fantasy novel with a touch of romance in it.  It does have a kind of insta-love factor, but not anything I really minded.  Thankfully, there was no love triangle. I'm not going to really talk plot because there are some twists in the story.   The fun part of the book was the magic of the game and figuring out what was real and what wasn't.  I loved the imagery and the way the author made Caraval come to life.

The main character had to grow on me.  Scarlett was not someone I really cared for in the beginning.  She was whiny, naive and took forever to make a decision.  I did see some growth in her by the end of the book, so there was that. But, I liked Julian a lot more from the start.  Even he does a bit of growing as well.

The book does end in a cliffhanger, so I probably will read the next book to see what happens to the sisters. I know this is being marketed as a YA, but I would keep it to the older YA crowd as there are some mature themes in the book.  


Lauren Stoolfire said...

Great review. I liked Julian the most of the main three, too. :)

Maggie said...

It's fun to see what others have to say about this book - I have it on my TBR list and hope to actually get to it in the next couple weeks!