Caraval, by Stephanie Garber | Book Review #348

This review contains spoilers. 

Trigger Warning:
Abusive parent,
Kidnapping,
Blood,
Murder/Mention,
Suicide/Mention,
Death

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Remember, it’s only a game…IMG_5701

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.


What I thought of the book was that the main character, Scarlett, had such a way of viewing things. It’s like her world is made of all these colours and sounds. She see’s them in a way that makes me think it’s her first time really seeing things for herself. But just the way that Scarlett saw things was very interesting to read about. 

I was so easily swept up in this story. There something about this book that wasn’t really talked about though. One: that Scarlett could see her emotions in colour, and two: Scarlett and Tella’s mother. Both I hope are a main feature in the next book, Legendary.

27883214Prior to reading Caraval, I didn’t really know what to think of the novel. I’ve had this book for a while on my shelves, and frankly, I was intimidated by it. I found that either people were saying that they loved it or they said nothing at all about it, which I found very concerning to be honest!!!

After I finished reading there were many things that were going through my head. There were things that I was feeling that I couldn’t comprehend all at once. Caraval could most definitely be overwhelming for some. It actually took me a few days to work my way  through of Caraval. I’m glad I took my time reading this book since there’s quite a bit that happens.

We find out almost immediately that Scarlett’s father is abusive, among other things.

One thing that I heard over and over about Caraval is that some people hated was the kidnapping-trope. I do have to say that the whole kidnapped-by-the-enemy-turned-lovers trope is getting boring. Another thing that people disagreed (or hated) was that the love interest is waaaay older than the main character. Just because a character hasn’t aged past a certain age (or is ageing too slowly for the human eye) doesn’t change the fact that they’re X amount older than the person they’re interested in.

IMG_5747What I liked about Caraval was that there’s a vivid-ness to this story. The clothes, the scents, the way that Scarlett sees things.. They’re all great and incredibly interesting to read about.

I like that Scarlett confirmed that Scarlett saw her emotions in colours. Very unique, and I think it’ll play as a factor in the story later on.

Though you could most definitely read Caraval as a stand alone, there is a second book: Legendary, coming out in May. — I’m intrigued enough to read the second book, but I’m going to keep my expectations very, very low (and probably borrow it from the library!).

Over all, I found Caraval to be enjoyable. I actually really enjoyed Garber’s writing style, but I found that multiple times throughout the story I was distracted by other things. I’d be reading the pages, but the words weren’t…sinking in. Which kinda bothers me about this book. I couldn’t immerse myself in the story at all, until the last (I want to say) 100 pages or so.

In the end, I liked Caraval, but not as much as I wanted to..the hype surrounding this book…makes me wish I’d gotten to read Caraval without all the hub-bub.. I could definitely see myself re-reading Caraval. I probably will at some point in the future.

I give Caraval, 3 stars.

Have you read Caraval?
What are you’re thoughts on everything that happened?

Happy Reading!
— Adele

3 thoughts on “Caraval, by Stephanie Garber | Book Review #348

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