Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Goodreads Synopsis: 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.
Jen’s Rating: 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟
REVIEW: Oh wow! What can I say about this read? A LOT! Lol… I loved this read. It was full of whimsy and magical filled moments. Along with the darker aspects that were placed in there at just the right moments. There was so much going on in here that I couldn’t help but read this novel all the way through. I had Caraval on my shelves for awhile because, and I will admit it, I was a little afraid that it would not live up to all the hype and I would have regretted this buy. Well, I was proven completely wrong.
“Welcome, welcome to Caraval! the grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game.”
The first few chapters lead us up to how and why Scarlett and Tella will leave all they know behind to chase the prize of a lifetime, one wish for the winner. That is where things get extremely surreal, but I’m continuously reminded that things are more than what they seem and every person has to make sure to stay on high alert or it’ll all be done and over with before they even begin.
And I can’t even with how I feel about Governor Dragna, Scarlett and Tella’s father, not dad, father, because he acts more like someone that just gave a name to them and a place to live in, rather than a person that actually cares about their welfare or what life outside of the Isles means for them. If one needed more assurance as to where their father’s loyalty lies, we just have to look at Scarlett’s upcoming nuptials to a man she has never met, but is said to be of wealth. No wonder Tella made sure that nothing stopped them from getting to Caraval.
“I probably shouldn’t give this to you, but maybe it will remind you of everything you have to lose. Your wedding will be ten days from today, at the end of next week, on the twentieth. If anything gets in the way of it, more than your sister’s face will bleed.”
Even though Scarlett tries to avoid taking off in the first place, because of everything it would imply if she didn’t make it back on time, she comes to see the beauty and wonders that fill Caraval. Though it starts as a journey pushed on her by her sister, it turns into so much more, especially when she’s made aware of how much of a special guest she is everywhere she turns to.
And when I thought I had read and seen all I could in my mind, even more was shown to me that I didn’t expect and I loved every bit of it. There were moments that brought on goosebumps, moments that caused fear, like giving up days of your life to own a dress from one of the shops that’s part of Caraval, an enchanting world that couldn’t possibly fit within the place it was being held, and so much more.
“It was about the same size as her village on Trisda, but it felt spectacularly bigger, the way a world feels bigger with an exclamation point tacked onto it. The roads looked so alive, Scarlett swore they were moving. ‘I don’t understand how they fit an entire world inside here.”
I felt like the ending couldn’t possibly be as good as the rest of the book, I was proven wrong once again. Everything done within the pages of this novel, is done with purpose and to bring everything back to full circle. It is by far one of my favorite reads of the year. Can’t wait to read what other books Stephanie Garber may have for us in the coming months or years.