Caraval by Stephanie Garber | Book Review
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
Caraval was one of my anticipated reads of 2017. After interacting several times with Stephanie Garber, and seeing her kindness to her Twitter followers I decided to look into her upcoming debut novel. A story about a magical circus.
I don't know if I have mentioned this before, but the most magical circus book I have read to date has been Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern. Caraval was pitched to lovers Night Circus, and honestly that was all I need to see in order to add the Caraval into a pre-order cart for immediate purchase.
Once I finished reading the very last sentence of Caraval, I was blown away. Caraval is a masterpiece. Garber is a wonderful story-teller. She weaves her words poetically, much like V.E Schwab (one of my favorite authors). From page one, Garber’s words reach out to you and pull you into the world and story.
A story of friendship, love, family, self-growth, betrayal, believing in yourself, and magic.
I do not want too much about the story plot, because it is something everyone needs to experience on their own. I do want to say that I was always guessing who Legend might be, and I was always second guessing who it was. (I was also wrong in all my guesses).
The Caraval cast is vastly diverse with the majority of the cast being of Spanish decent (almost everyone had Spanish names...yay Hispanics!) and I am pretty sure the main character, Scarlett, was at least Hispanic ( I am sure of it). I hardly see any Hispanic characters in the world of English literature, especially not as a main character. All of the characters were fleshed out that you can see that Garber took her time to get to know each character and give them all the proper arcs, developments and realism. I appreciate that. Even minor characters felt real, and not just randomly written in for no reason.
I was in love with everyone. And if you pick up your own copy of Caraval you too will see yourself falling in love with everyone.
My only minor problem with the book is, why couldn’t the main character have had a Hispanic name too...