Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Release Date: January 31st 2017
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.
I received an ARC from the distributor as part of the blog tour and in exchange for an honest review.
While Caraval tells a tale of the sisterhood between Scarlett and Donatella Dragna, the novel mostly focuses on Scarlett. Scarlett grew up hearing stories of the magic and wonder of Caraval from her grandmother and wrote letters to the mysterious troupe leader, Legend. Scarlett is arranged to be married and she eagerly awaits it, since she dreams of escaping her father's abuse and bringing her beloved sister with her. However, a week before her marriage, she receives tickets to Caraval and she is whisked away by her sister and a sailor to attend. Tella, as Scarlett calls her sister, is kidnapped by Legend. Finding her sister is the key to winning the game.
Caraval creates a magical world to get lost in and just as Scarlett becomes more involved in the mystery of the game, so does the reader. I found myself wondering what would happen next and making guesses on the secrets of the characters and the games. While it surprised me that Scarlett came to the same conclusions as me, it was also proven wrong, which was nice for me.
Scarlett loves her sister more than anything in the world and would do anything for her. Finding her is what drives her to keep playing the game, even when it becomes darker and more sinister and the fear of her father still echoes within her. She also seems to have a type of synesthesia where colours are associated with feelings.
Julian is a mysterious and handsome sailor who helps Tella bring Scarlett to Caraval. He has many secrets and he seems to have played the game before, and is trying to win the game this time for the prize -- a wish. He is dashing and charming, but also seems to have a dark side. Who knows, you'll just have to read the book to find out his secrets. ;)
There's a warning given out by Julian, that not everything is as it seems in Caraval. Some things are real and some aren't. It's a point that's important to this novel and since we're reading through the eyes of Scarlett, we only know as much as she knows. There's a surreal magic to the Caraval we see through her eyes that is both fascinating and terrifying
I really enjoyed this gorgeous and darkly magical novel. The characters have depth and are interesting and I love the world created in this novel. There seems to be a sequel and I'm interested to see where Stephanie Garber will take this world next.
Click up there ^^^^ for an excerpt!