Book #42: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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.

I got Caraval from my first OwlCrate box. It was February’s box and I wanted to get it for my birthday. It came a few days after I turned 29 and I just now decided to crack it open. I probably should start doing it the moment I get the box, but . . . meh.

If I didn’t get this book from OwlCrate, I probably wouldn’t have chosen this book myself. I’m not sure why, but it wouldn’t have grabbed me right away. That said, I was instantly pulled in by the writing.

Garber has a magical way of writing the story that made the 400+ pages seem little. I didn’t want the story to end and actually forced myself to put it down. I loved that it wasn’t a romance between a girl and boy, though that did eventually happen. This book was more about the romance between sisters. Think Frozen, both sisters save each other in that movie and both sisters do what they can to save the other in Caraval. 

The world of the Caraval is an interesting one. I’m not sure if magic is real outside of Caraval, but it seems very real inside. I felt like a person living the Cirque du Soleil instead of just observing (the performance I saw years ago was amazing by the way). Like I said before, the language of the book brought the magic alive and even gave the characters a more magical or realistic quality to them. It reminded me of Rutkoski’s The Winner’s Curse (amazing book. Absolutely love it).

And since it inspired that need to read Rutkoski, I am actually about to listen to the second audio book.

Anyway, Caraval was an interesting experience. It had action, magic, and the connection of siblings. I am definitely looking forward to the second book in the series.

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