Genre: YA Fantasy
Recommended Age: 16+
Favorite Quote: “Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game.”
Have you ever seen a magic trick? Or have you seen those YouTube videos of things that randomly appear as if straight from a 5th dimension? If you’ve answered yes then no matter your stance on magic you’ve probably thought at first the trick was done by magic because you’re caught up in the moment. But I assure you for the most part it is all an illusion, much like Scarlett is warned when entering the world of Caraval. All her life she’s heard of the magic and wonder of Caraval, but she’s also been cautioned about it’s tricks. However, with the disappearance of her and her sister’s, Tella, mother Scarlett has longed to give Tella one thing for her birthday: a trip to Caraval. She pens letter after letter to Legend, the master of Caraval, but he does not reply. It is only after Scarlett writes one last letter informing Legend of her impending nuptials that she receives 3 tickets: one for her, one for Tella, and one for her fiance, whom she has yet to meet. Scarlett refuses to go to Caraval with the event being so close to her wedding date, but when Tella, who longs to run away from their abusive father, tricks Scarlett aboard a ship bound for Caraval Scarlett soon finds herself in a deadly game for her and her sister’s lives… but is it all just a game or is it very real?
I believe I have found one of my favorite 2017 reads! I absolutely LOVED Caraval! Stephanie Garber’s writing style made the words fly off the pages, the pacing was excellent and never too fast, too slow, or too forced, and the plot developed magically. The author had a way of keeping the readers guessing at the ultimate secret of Caraval and she did it in a way that kept the reading relaxed and easy and kept the book enjoyable throughout. The book also managed to drive home the point of letting go of fear and worry so it won’t control you and to second guess everything you see. I even enjoyed the beautiful notes and letters that we’re placed throughout the books! It really made this wonderful story come alive even more! In summary, Stephanie Garber created a beautiful world of mystery and magic and I’m feeling a bit disillusioned because I didn’t want the book to end!
As I always do, I try to point out something I felt was bad in the book to make for a more balanced review. While I greatly enjoyed the novel, I didn’t feel bonded to Tella. This didn’t decrease my rating because Tella seems to have a bigger role in a possible sequel to the novel and hopefully I’ll learn more of her motives in that book. While I’m not confirming or denying a sequel, I’m saying this novel needs one to complete the story as it ended with questions still unanswered! Stephanie Garber please!