Posted in Young Adult

Caraval Book Review

Caraval by Stephanie Garber caraval

Published: January 31st 2017 by Flatiron Books

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Summary:

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 (Caraval, #1)

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

Wow, just wow. I received my book the day that it came out and I finished it in one sitting! This book had me hooked from the very first page! It is actually taking me longer to write this review, than it took me to read the book!

No one is truly honest. Even if we don’t lie to others, we often lie to ourselves. And the word good means different things to different people.

Garber wrote basically almost everything you would want in a book! It had a mystery, magic, a slight romance (thankfully no love triangle (for the most part)), and murder. This starts off with Scarlett and her sister living on a tiny island with their abusive father, they escape and go to Caraval to experience everything before Scarlet gets married. Once arriving on Legend’s island, everything is not what they seem and Scarlet spends her time trying to find Tella after she has been kidnapped. She must then follow the rules of the game and try to find her sister before any of the other players do in order to win a wish from Legend.

Not quite sure how far she’d already fallen, she imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.

Without giving things away, I just want to say that when you think you have figured everything out. Garber throws in a twist that has you rethinking everything that you have read so far. For instance, with their father you wonder for most of the book why he is so abusive and controlling of the girls. But, then at the end things get explained and you can’t help but think oh. It still doesn’t condone what he did, but you get a better understanding of where he was coming from.

But Scarlett had already been broken. For years her father tore her down. Over and over, she had let him. She’d allowed him to make her feel worthless and powerless. But she was neither of those things. She was done allowing her fear to make her weaker, to eat away at the meat on her bones until she could do nothing but whimper and watch.

Overall, I really loved this book. I don’t think my review has done it justice. But there is only so much I can say without giving anything away! It probably could have been more detailed if I wrote it soon after I read it, but life gets in the way sometimes. For those of you that like magical fantasy mysteries, then I definitely suggest you check out this book!


I am currently working on my master's degree in Environmental Science. I am an avid reader as well as a movie enthusiast! I currently live at the bottom of Texas with my husband and three dogs.

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