Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Book one in the Caraval series
Young Adult Fantasy
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. Remember, it’s only a game…
Here we have two sisters Scarlett and Tella, who want to escape from his abusive father both of them in their own way. Tella by being reckless and impulsive and jumping into whatever comes along and Scarlett by being more careful and marrying her fatherly approved suitor which will allow her to protect her sister. This sets a bit the tone of the family dynamics, Scarlett trying to save and protect her sister from any danger.
Then enters Caraval a performance/game/event that offers you the chance to win prizes beyond anything you’ve ever dreamed of. It is all magical and mysterious, especially Legion our master of ceremonies, our host.
“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”
The two girls go to Caraval and hell breaks loose, sort of. I liked the Victorian undertone that the story has, obey your father without question and the only means to scape is by marrying someone. After years of abuse and being the sole caretaker, Scarlett’s need to protect her sister is quite understandable up until they get to Caraval where at times she seems more interested in how good Julian’s (who is our hero of sorts) muscles look than where her sister is and what the heck happened to her. I didn’t like Scarlett very much she was extremely naive and gullible even after being told again and again to not trust anything around her. It became annoying.
Tella was a means to an end so I’ll reserve my opinion until her own story comes out.
I liked Julian, not being quite sure where he fit and why he did what he did, made it interesting. What did felt flat for me was his relationship with Scarlett it was a bit under developed in my opinion, I did not believe their epic romance.
What I enjoyed most of all was the setting, the performance and the air of creepiness around it. It’s like entering another world where you have no idea who is friend or foe what is real and what is not. I truly enjoyed that it intrigue me enough to follow through with the story, and also I wanted to learn more about Legion. He’s filled with mystery and you know him only through others perceptions so I wanted to meet him unfortunately this doesn’t quite happen here, next book, maybe. The writing is fill with dreamy descriptions and whimsical undertones but it did not put me off (weirdly enough because I don’t usually like this) overall I like the story and its pacing I really like the world of Caraval and would like to meet more of its characters so I Will continue with this series.
As Always Happy Reading