Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books
Release Date: January 31, 2017
YA Fantasy, Romance 407 pages
Photo taken from Instagram @marasfoldedpages
Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.
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.
Dark air fell over his eyes as he leaned near to her once more and whispered, “I know you want to find your sister, but on this isle secrets are valuable. Be careful about giving yours away too freely. If people know what you want the most, it can be used against you.” ~Stephanie Garber, Caraval
This book was definitely not what I expected. Set in another time and place, The Dragna sisters are an interesting family. As the mystery unraveled during the games I found it harder than I thought to decipher what was real and what wasn’t. The magical atmosphere was enchanting and the writing is beautiful.
At times I did find Scarlett’s childishness slightly annoying, but I loved how much she had grown throughout the story. And the whole time I was just as upset with Tella as Scarlett was, until she turned out to be a genius!
The book didn’t answer what happened to their mother. Or what the woman in the grey dress was screaming about in the tunnels. Or the age difference and if Scarlett will not age as well if she’s allowed to stay with Legend and his crew.
I found the whole premise of the games intriguing, and Julian even more so. I found myself wondering when the game actually started. I like the premise of unreliable characters and point of views, and this novel did not disappoint.
The concept of secrets and lies as currency, time working against you, and boys with hearts made of black was right up my alley. I highly recommend this novel.
Overall, I’m curious and excited to see how the story will continue in Legendary for the Dragna sisters and give this novel 4.5/ 5 stars.
Thanks for reading! Mara x