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Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Title: Caraval (Caraval, #1) by Stephanie Garber

Publisher: Fiatiron Books

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Length: 432 pages


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.

Unfortunately, Caraval wasn’t my favorite read of all time, a lot of this book fell a little short for me, which I’m sad about because I was looking forward to this book.

Though I do like the characters, they all felt a little bland for me, and they lacked proper development and substance, the characters were a missed opportunity. I wanted to root for the character’s romance, but I don’t feel like we were given enough chemistry and development in their relationship, to get me completely on board.

The setting was another aspect of the book that ended up falling flat for me, I loved the idea of Caraval being this magical and whimsical dark performance with the tag line “It’s all an elaborate performance” but nothing about it felt elaborate. To be completely honest nothing about it felt like a performance. It’s felt like a big scavenger hunt, and I felt that the winner was obvious from the beginning, the stakes weren’t high enough, I never thought someone else would win.

Even though this wasn’t my favorite book I’ve ever read, I did find this to be a quick and enjoyable read nonetheless. I ended up staying up late and read it in one sitting, which hasn’t happened in a long time. The ending was my favorite part of the book, nothing about it I was expecting. I do have the sequel already, and I do plan on reading it sometime in the future. I’m hoping that it will improve on some of the issues I had in this book, I also feel like there is still so much room for expansion in this world, and I can’t wait to explore.


2 thoughts on “Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

  1. This book had a lot of potential, in my eyes, but it didn’t deliver as well as I hoped it would. It’s still fairly enjoyable, but it’s only something I read when I’m bored or tired and can’t think enough for something with more depth. Lovely review!

    Liked by 1 person

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