Friday, January 27, 2017

Review: Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval
(Caraval #1)
by Stephanie Garber
January 31, 2017
401 pages

Goodreads Summary:
Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and 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 is every bit as magical as the title, the cover, the synopsis and even the hype suggests. Whilst I had some problems with it, there's no denying it's a beautiful magnetic story that will capture the hearts of dreamers.

The mechanics of Caraval are a little hard to grasp but the magic and mayhem within is excellent. The allure is in how wrapped up you will be once you start reading. What's real? What's not? Ms. Garber expertly keeps you guessing. I had moments of confusions but I feel those just infuses how otherworldly the story really is. Throw logic away because it won't do you any good inside this book.

At the heart of the story Caraval is about two sisters who go above and beyond for each other. In the face of their father's cruelty they had each other. From Scarlett's love and desperation to protect Tella to Tella's unwavering faith in Scarlett we can easily tell they're each other's everything.
At the beginning of the story I was annoyed with Tella. Her actions and attitude didn't help the situation they were in and then she vanishes leaving her sister all alone inside the strangest but most alluring place. Not good. However as I kept reading, I realized the danger and deceit Scarlett weathered made her braver and more decisive. It made her strong. I can't say much without giving away spoilers but every thing that happens inside Caraval is more than what meets the eye.

I had some concerns regarding the romance so I was really glad to see Ms. Garber addressing the (possible) issue before the relationship took off. I hardcore rooted for the two characters. Theirs is a slow burn, hesitant love full of sweetness and care. A delicate relationship waiting to bloom. I had a nagging suspicion with the identity of Scarlett's love interest because really, no one in Caraval is who they appear to be. I've never been happier to be proven wrong ;)

As parallel to the rest of the story, the ending is a magical one. It takes a bit of thinking to work out but it's a really lovely albeit risky twist. That sort of love is infinite. There are still untold secrets and knowing we'll be getting more leaves me feeling content (for now).

Caraval is a story that will sweep you off your feet. The gorgeous writing with the mysterious characters and the atmospheric setting will make you dream. Whether you're a bystander or a player you definitely want to be a part of this world. I can't wait to enter it again and be thoroughly enchanted.

4.5 Cats
*I received an ARC of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own and not affected in any way.


  1. Well said! I definitely felt Caraval was magical and mesmerizing too. It was absolutely addictive. I didn't mention it in my own review (mainly caused it would've ruined the flow, lol), but I also had some problems with Tella. I still feel like Scarlett loved her sister more. Because while Scarlett was scared and anxious for her sister, Tella was... well, you know. (Leaving it kind of vague to avoid spoilers for anyone leaving a comment too.) But my feelings for Tella aside (and maybe that will change in the next book), I loved that Caraval was just so captivating and unpredictable. :)

    1. Thank you Liz! Tella definitely gave the younger sibling feel though she surprised me at the end. Also I'm super curious to see how much involvement Scarlett will have in the next book.

  2. I absolutely adored Caraval! It was so magical in its writing and its story!

    1. I 1000% agree! I'm looking forward to Tella's story :D

  3. I'm still on the fence about reading this one, but if I ever see it on ebook special I will definitely get it. Thanks for sharing your review. :)

    1. You're so welcome LaLa. I really hope you try it! *wishes for Caraval to go on sale*


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