Caravel by Stephanie Garber
Published by: Flatiron Books on January 31, 2017
Genre: Fantasy, YA, Romance
Summary (from Goodreads): Remember, it’s only a game…
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.
Review: “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.”
I finally picked this up! I wanted to wait for the hype to go down and also for the paperback to come out. I’ve heard it being compared to The Night Circus which is another book everyone loves (I should really get my hands on it).
This book is heavily plot driven which I didn’t mind because I found it to be somewhat unique and entertaining. The story was descriptive and there was a lot of great imagery to concoct the novel visually in your mind. I would have liked to get to know more about each of the characters as it felt very surface level. It was mainly focused on Scarlett’s actions and thoughts and it didn’t feel like she was really sure or in control at any point which is kind of annoying for a main character. The plot twists from certain reveals of locations or characters were quite good and in my experience weren’t too predictable. There was “insta love” at play here as well which is always an “ugh” moment for me and I didn’t find myself thinking the connection was that believable.
This book was fast paced and I read it in pretty much one sitting. I feel like it could have been a stand alone book but I’d be interested to see where the second one goes.
TW: abuse and suicide