PUBLISHER: Hodder & Stoughton
DATE PUBLISHED: 31st January 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.
Remember… its only a game.
This book has been hyped up in the book community and now I know why. This book was suspenseful, romantic, full of twists and turns, and had me on the edge of my seat. I absolutely loved this book. I am stunned that this is a debut book for Stephanie Garber.
The first thing I wanted to talk about is the setting. It was mystical and vibrant. When I first heard about the concept I was imagining a Big Top as the entrance to Caraval but it took place on an unclaimed island and this made it seem like a tropical Wonderland with houses shaped like Top Hats.
There was foreshadowing through the novel with clues and hints scattered throughout. There were numerous letters between characters placed through the book for a different format of story telling. However, there was not enough information to guess what was going to happen before Scarlett knew herself that allowed the reader to experience empathy for the characters and remained hooked on the plot of the book until the very end. Even within one page I could not be certain of the motives of the characters and what was true and what was illusion. This made for a book that had me hooked on every printed word.
The main characters were interesting and driven through Caraval to finish the game and get the prize and get out. Scarlett and Tella obviously loved each other and Scarlett’s consistent need to find her sister drove the book. Through the book there was more and more revealed about the history of Caraval and its links to Scarlett and Tella’s family. Julian was a constant surprise and the more that was revealed about this character the more I loved him. The performers in Caraval were mysterious and I pictured them like characters from Wonderland. None of the characters in Caraval were what they seemed and that left the reader guessing until the very last page.
This book was s sensual delight and is the beginning of a spectacular new Fantasy series. The novel ended on a cliffhanger that has me biting at the wick for the next book in this series.
Keep Calm and Read On,