Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: 31 January 2017
Genre: YA/ Fantasy
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.
I LOVE LOVE LOVED this book. It was such a beautifully crafted tale filled with magic, intrigue, romance, and suspense. It really had it all. I enjoyed this book so much, in fact, that I neglected all of my school work and other responsibilities to binge read it in one day. Not a smart move I know, but I couldn't help myself. The author had me from the very first chapter, which is not a common occurrence for myself particularly with fantasy novels. Somehow the author managed to make a just over four hundred page book feel short, and not in a bad way. The book was just so well paced that it never felt boring or lagging. I honestly can't think of one complaint when it comes to this book.
Stephanie Garber's world building was honestly amazing in this book. The book is so descriptive that it is easy for the reader to get sucked in and really envision everything that happens in the novel. The world of Caraval has this sinister and magical feel that really sucked me in; I truly haven't read anything like it before. The only thing I could say is that I would have liked a little more explanation of the Isles and the world outside of Caraval. Even something as small as a map would have been helpful. That being said, I can understand why the author didn't add this as the book is already four hundred pages adding more of the Isles may get to be too much.
The world is nothing without the characters, and Garber honestly creates some of the best I have read in quite a while. I really enjoyed the main character, Scarlett. She was a sensible character who tries to think rationally and make the best decision she can, but sometimes her heart gets in the way. I think it is her rationality and her devotion to her sister that really drew me to her as a character, her sister, on the other hand, I couldn't stand for most of the book. She was too reckless and too much of a menace for my taste. However, she does have some redeeming qualities to her. I think the most interesting part of these characters is the dichotomy between the two sisters. They were about as different as two characters can get, and yet they both had a deep level of loyalty and devotion to one another that I really enjoyed.
This story, while it had great characters, was definitely a plot-driven story, and boy was the plot amazing. This book is the definition of a page-turner. Every time you think something is going to happen the story takes one-eighty and goes in a completely opposite direction. I am usually pretty good at guessing the plot of a book, so I love it when a book can trick me and leave me stumped. This book did just that.and had a killer cliff-hanger to boot.
This book left me desperate for more, I absolutely cannot wait until the sequel, Legendary, comes out. I will be impatiently waiting for the publication of the next book. I simply cannot wait to continue reading about the magnificent world that Garber has created.