Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance

Pages: 400

Expected Publication January 31st, 2017 by Flatiron Books

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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.


My Thoughts

Welcome to Night Circus meets Hunger Games! May the odds be ever in your favor and remember, it is all a game!

This book kept me engaged and turning the pages, that is for sure. A tale about two sisters in a abusive home, their father is controlling and physically cruel to them as well as mentally. Scarlett and Donatella wish upon wishes to be whisked away, and Scarlett’s impending marriage to an unknown Count is sure to solve this issue – or will it? But when just 10 days away from her wedding day she receives an invitation to the infamous Caraval from Master Legend himself Scarlett is tempted to run, but fear keeps a nasty hold on her..

Abducted and brought to the island where Caraval begins for 5 days… Scarlett realizes something – Donatella is missing and she is the game, Scarlett? She’s a player in it.

Argggggh. So this premise was so interesting, the writing itself didn’t bother me as I had seen several other reviewers roll their eyes over. “The world tasted like lies and ashes when Scarlett woke.” This line comes to mind and while it did make me roll my eyes I just merrily passed “Go” and continued on as if I hadn’t read it – yes the book is littered with metaphors and similes, so if that doesn’t float your boat, turn the other way.

Night Circus was a huge let down for me and I am obsessed with all things circus as far as literature goes. So this idea of running the gauntlet Hunger Games wise to save a sister who is part of this ellaborate ‘game’ sounded amazing. The idea was however once we are thrust in the midst of the game I was disappointed, because while there is something occurring constantly it also never develops or should I say the world never develops? The world is never explored, the characters hardly develop. It wasn’t until the end that you see a smidgen of change – Scarlett was in fact a highly infuriating character to read, I felt like shaking her more than once. Donatella was distasteful in every way.

I kept holding my breath waiting for something, anything monumental to happen because it felt as though the story was rushing headlong into something fascinating – only for it not to happen. Were there twists and turns? Sure there was! But they were fairly predictable ones that piled on top of one another so by the time the ending came I was gaping at the end, flicking pages and blinking as I muttered “is that it, that’s really it?” And then I rushed to see if there would be another book, because if there wasn’t then I’d have major issues.

It did leave off at an interesting cliffhanger to snare you into the second book if you were interested – am I? Ah, yes and no. The book did well to keep me interested and devouring the pages, but I am disappointed in it. Still, for it’s interesting idea, the overall plot.. I’m still going to give it a 3.5 simply because I think it deserves that much.

Do you have a favorite Circus themed book? Share! I love Circus books.



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