Series: Caraval #1
Author: Stephanie Garber
Pub Date: January 31st, 2017
My Rating: ★★★★☆
View on Goodreads
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
Oh, this book! I got swept away! I gave into the magic and mystery of Caraval, I ignored how annoying the main character was, and I enjoyed the book. Now that I’m starting to write the review and think about the book I’m noticing how so many things are wrong, o just not so right with it… But nevermind, there’s hope that you will only start noticing the negatives when you finish after you collected all your enjoyment from reading this book.
The premise of Caraval is simple, there are two sisters, who lost her mother and now have to live with abusing father. They remember amazing stories told by their grandmother about Caraval and Mister Legend who runs it. They want to escape their awful fate, but they have different ideas on how to do it. Scarlet plans to follow through with a arrange marriage to a count she never met, doesn’t even know his name. Tella’s plan is more adventurous and brave and involves Caraval, which is some kind of a magical game.
I was enchanted by the world of Caraval. It all seemed so amazing and mysterious. And because of this, I could forgive the silly way the sisters got on the island where the Caraval was held, and how they actually got to the Caraval. I eventually could ignore my annoyance with Scarlet who was being silly. (I cannot stand this in the YA, the main characters who have to save someone who they love, always act so foolishly. Why they cannot be smart about saving their loved ones? Why?) I was warned not to be swept away by the game, but I did. I believed characters I should have believed, I doubted in characters that ended up being honest. It was fun.
One more thing to point out is the writing. It was sometimes getting quite purple, and quite silly. I didn’t mind, I’m quite a fan of purple prose. But there were times when I had to stop because I had moments of ‘what the hell was that?’:
The color of late-night laughter, early-morning sunshine, and waves of crashing around ankles.
The world tasted like lies and ashes when Scarlet woke.
I must say, the author went through a lot of colour naming in the book, some were really obscure and I had to look them up. Feelings were often described with tests of colours and other random stuff.