Caraval by Stephanie Garber REVIEW

Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

Hardcover, 407 pages

Published January 31st 2017 by Flatiron Books

Remember, it’s only a game… 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. Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

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I'm ready for the sequel!! I love stories like this. It might be a game, but more than anything this story is a mind game. You are taken on an adventure having to decipher if events are real or just part of the game and if relationships are honest or manipulative. You become paranoid of motives and not only that but the entire game is a scavenger hunt, so you get to pick up on clues and solve a mystery.

I have had a bad habit recently of comparing stories and movies and this one I immediately assumed was going to contain the same plot as The Night Circus. I originally had no interest in reading another story with so many complex elements and magic tricks that I'd end up needing to take notes to keep track of the characters and their powers.

And then yet again I was proven wrong in my assumptions. Caraval was fun, imaginative, and unique. I love a good mystery and this was unlike any I've read. It had such creative details and it was everything I loved in a psychological thriller with a dash of fantasy that opened the routes this plot could take to an endless amount of possibilities. The books that usually hold this same amount of thrilling mystery contain a heavier, darker element because they are so grounded, but somehow this felt a little bit lighter and more magical even if it contained some seriously dark and twisted characters and motives.

I listened to this as an audiobook and after the epilogue was an author interview that helped you get to know the person behind this story and its inspirations. She opened up that she had no idea which events would hold strong and which would be imaginative either. She mentioned she didn't even know some characters motives as she was writing. She would keep a pad and have a list of what would happen if certain characters motives were good or bad and didn't pick a column till the end as she was writing it. I LOVE that!


“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

“She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.”

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