Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Published: January 31st 2017 by Flatiron Books
Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .
Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved 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 far-away, 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. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic 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.
Can I just say that this book is pure magic? From start to finish, this book had me turning the pages and it was fantastic in every sense! I didn’t know who to trust, what was part of the game and who was who! I definitely got swept away in the game and I cannot wait to revisit this world with book 2!
I felt like I could empathise with Scarlett from the very first page! The beginning of the book is shown through letters and it was a little girl wanting to believe in something – which I can understand when you get to know her throughout the book and everything she went through! I felt like I could empathise with her on a personal level because I am also the eldest sibling and I am also the one that has to try and stop my brother from doing something really stupid if he is that way inclined! I could definitely feel the love that Scarlett had for her sister and just how far she was willing to go to protect her!
I also really liked Tella! She was the complete opposite of her sister which made her unique – but it also showed the typical sibling bond that I think a lot of people have themselves in real life. I definitely think that the younger siblings are usually more like Tella so I feel like both sisters and the bond itself could definitely relate to all readers in a different way. What I loved about Tella was the fact that she was the opposite of her sister! she was whimsical, prone to running off and taking chances and generally doing the stuff that, really, she shouldn’t be doing. The only real issue I had with Tella (Donatella) is the fact that her nickname was too close to the German word for plate…
I had my doubts about Julian from the very beginning. I had a sort of hunch about who he was and everything he did seemed to play into that kind of hunch… which I guess was part of the game! Whilst I wasn’t entirely right, I was pretty close! I loved the way his identity kept twisting and turning as the plot continued and the way his character began to change as a whole throughout!
The world building in this was absolutely fantastic! I think the most iconic quote from this book is “Remember, it’s only a game…” and I think with the world building and the certain characters who come into play etc. It is really important for the reader to remember this as well, not just the characters! I got so swept up in this book and I feel like it took me absolutely no time at all to read it! It was one of those books where, 5 minutes later, your on the epilogue and you’re wondering what happened to all those pages… when in actual fact it’s been four hours and you haven’t done anything you were really supposed to do. I got so sucked into this world and the way that it was described etc, that I could have easily imagined myself being there! Who were the players, who were the observers, and who were the performers?? I think the only obvious people were the players who we met, whether in length or briefly. The world building was extremely rich and I just want more!
The dad. What. A. Douche. I don’t really want to go too much into it because I don’t want to give the game away, BUT I absolutely detested him! He is one of those characters that I could happily murder and I would feel no remorse whatsoever because he deserved it!
All in all, I loved this rich, enchanting world that Garber has presented with us with! Each and every character had their own twist and turns and history and every page brought something new to the table! I loved the world building and the way that everything was different in a way that was magical that you really don’t find as often as you would like in a book! I cannot wait for the next instalment and I gave this book 5/5 stars!