Caraval by Stephanie Garber REVIEW

Caraval Book Cover Caraval
Caraval #1
Stephanie Garber
Young Adult Fantasy
Hodder and Stoughton
January 31st 2017
Paperback
Review copy from publisher

Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.
Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.
Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.
When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever 

Caraval summarised in 4 words:
⁃ magical
⁃ Intriguing
⁃ Addicting
⁃ Mysterious

Beginning on a small conquered island in a large, elaborate continent/ world set up, the story of Caraval was intriguing to say the least. It followed the main character Scarlet, the daughter of the Govenour of the Island, and her sister Donatella. Their father is a horrible man, with a greed for power at the forefront of his mind.

However, throughout their childhood, the sisters lived a life of hope, fuelled by their ambition to go to see the Caraval. A magical game that frequently travelled.
Having heard stories from their Grandmother, Scarlett proceeded to write letters to Legend, the master of the Caraval. She begged him to visit their small island with his performers, though her letters were met with nothing in return. Until one arrives.

The Caraval carries the same vibe as a travelling circus. Although it is so much more. You can choose to either just watch, or play the game. It is a game of mystery, lasting five days with an unimaginable prize at the end for the winner. However, your sense of reality may be lost along the way. You must be careful to not loose yourself.
This concept is so incredible exciting, and unlike anything that I have read before.

I have heard it being compared to Daughter of Smoke and Bone and The Night Circus, but as someone who has read neither of those novels, I cannot confirm these comparisons.

Stephanie Garber did an absolutely incredible job with Caraval. The writing was so unique and outstanding for a debut author. It was written in a way that was constantly eluding to things, to keep you guessing. However, everything you guessed turned out to be wrong as the truth is revealed.
You would think you knew something, even something minuscule, and Garber would be like “Lol… NOOPE!” and take off in the complete other direction.

Surprisingly, the relationship in this book was one of my favourite parts! I’m usually not one for relationships that develop too quickly, but this one was different.
The relationship between Donatella (Tella) and Scarlet was also a highlight in this book. The strength of their bond was really beautiful and it fuelled Scarlett’s drive.

My favourite character, as I’m sure many of you will also agree, was Julian. Oh Julian. He was the pinnacle of mystery and excitement in the novel. To me, he essentially fuelled the novel and his actions constantly took the reader by surprise.

What I think everyone can take from this novel is a sense of pure whimsically, mysterious excitement ent. For a book of over 400 pages, it was too short. Much too short.
So, if you don’t mind, I’ll just sit myself right here until the second book arrives.

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