Author: Stephanie Garber
Page Count: 402
Scarlett and her sister Tella have lived with their abusive father for their entire lives. And their father has now arranged a marriage for Scarlett, to someone she has never met, but she sees this as an opportunity for her and her sister to escape their father. But for years Scarlett has wanted to see Caraval, a game where the audience gets to perform and win a prize. And this year, Legend, the mastermind behind Caraval, has invited Scarlett and her sister Tella. Scarlett doesn’t want to ruin the possibility of getting away from their father with her arranged marriage so Tella forces her to go. With the help of a sailor, Julian, the three of them are off to Caraval. And immediately Tella is kidnapped by Legend and Scarlett learns that it is part of the game. Whoever finds Tella wins this years prize – a wish! Scarlett must remember that everything is just part of the game, but is it really? Is Julian lying about who he really is? Is Tella actually in danger? She won’t find out for 5 days, until the end of Caraval and the end of the game.
This is my second time reading Caraval and my-oh-my! I had totally forgotten how it ended so I was surprised yet again by the crazy ending. I have a real connection to this book because it was the first fantasy book that I read. EVER! And when I read it, I couldn’t believe all of this wonderful genre that I had been missing. I was, however, skeptical going into it for the second time because I have, since reading it the first time, read A LOT of fantasy. So I didn’t think it would be as great. I was wrong! It’s just as wonderful as the first time I read it.
Let’s start with the characters. Scarlett is not my favorite. She is over dramatic and despite being told that it’s all a game, she flips out over everything. Her sister Tella, is not in the game all that much but she seems to be quite a bit smarter than Scarlett. I’m looking forward to reading Legendary since it follows Tella’s point of view. Julian is probably my favorite character. I really enjoyed the fact that I never knew when he was lying or telling the truth. Of course, I was rooting for him the entire time but the instalove… They are literally at Caraval for 5 days. It’s just not realistic. There’s a lot of side characters but I don’t find there significance to be of importance. Scarlett and Tessa’s father is horrible! He abuses them and I’m not really sure why he is that way. I really hope he doesn’t make an appearance in Legendary.
The setting of the story is magical! Everything seemed to be a little creepy but I loved it all. The dresses sounded great and all the shops sounded amazing. You don’t pay with money during Caraval, you pay with secrets and you might not want to give all your secrets away. For most of the book, I tried to have an open mind. We were told from the beginning that it is just a game so everything that happened, I figured it was just an illusion. But some things were real so it had me going back and forth on what to believe and I think that’s why I enjoyed it so much. I love a good mystery and not being able to predict the ending was what I wanted.