Weekend Reads #90 – Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Posted January 21, 2017 by Lillian in Reviews / 3 Comments

Happy Saturday y’all! Today I am SO excited to share with you Caraval by Stephanie Garber. The book hits shelves at the end of the month but I couldn’t contain my excitement any longer. I devoured this book! If you enjoy fantasy and vivid imagery, you are in for a treat ๐Ÿ˜€


I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.

Weekend Reads #90 – Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Published by Flatiron Books on 2017-01-31
Length: 416 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2017, 2017 New Release Challenge, COYER Blackout

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 Caravalโ€•Stephanie Garberโ€™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 Scarlettโ€™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, Scarlettโ€™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 Caravalโ€™s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this seasonโ€™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.

When I first saw Caraval on another blogger’s site, I was intrigued. When I received a copy for review, I was ecstatic! Seriously, did you take the time to read the blurb?! “A legendary game” and “dangerous intrigue” grabbed my attention. Caraval is a story about two sisters, an abusive father, and how they finally escape. BUT y’all it’s SO much more than that. It’s a story about magic and distortion of reality. You can trust nothing and everything at the same time….confusing? You bet but it is such an amazing read!

Scarlett is an easy character to like. Her motives are simple. She’s the older sister. It is her job to protect her sister, her duty to marry, and her responsibility to stay her father’s hand. This girl has one focus and one focus only: marry the fiancรฉ she’s never met and take her sister with her. Scarlett is not really living her life. Her fear rules her and it is heartbreaking. She sacrifices much to protect her sister, including her dreams.

I’ll admit Tella wasn’t my favorite character. She was portrayed as selfish, uncaring about the consequences of her actions. Our first encounter with her she is holed up in the wine cellar with a sailor. ๐Ÿ™„ Do you see why it’s hard to like her? Scarlett sacrifices so much for her and this is what we see. However I do love what the author does with her character.

The plot of the story revolves around the events of Caraval. Scarlett has always dreamed of attending and has written to Master Legend every year since her mother disappeared. He’s never responded. Now she is getting married and he finally responds with tickets. That is how the story begins and I’ll be honest I was shocked at how fast the pace moved. I felt like I couldn’t keep up. I loved the mystery surrounding Caraval which reminded me a bit as a cross between an elaborate circus and Wonderland. There isn’t much known about the game except rumor, yet the mystery and excitement holds the reader captive. And the imagery….โค๏ธ seriously LOVED the imagery! It is so vivid, the colors and scenes bleed from the page.

As I’ve been writing this review, I’ve been trying to put into words why I loved the story so much and I feel I’m doing a poor job. Caraval is billed as a game, but it isn’t a game like The Hunger Games was a game. There isn’t really competition per se. It’s like a puzzle game, one that no matter how many times you read it, I think you will catch different clues. It isn’t a story that contains dramatic irony, where the reader knows something the character doesn’t. We learn things at the same speed as the character and the author does a fantastic job of keeping us guessing right to the very end. I personally was shocked and awed at every turn. I cried when Scarlett cried, I fell in love when Scarlett fell in love, and my heart broke with hers. That is a true marker of a great author!

Overall I LOVED this book! I can’t say that enough. I found myself engrossed. When I wasn’t reading, I was thinking about the events that had happened so far. Even now that I’ve finished the book, I’m still thinking about the events and characters and can’t help but wonder what life has in store for them next. I think I missed the memo that they are fictional ๐Ÿ˜‰ If you enjoy fantasy, excitement, and a touch of romance, I highly recommend you grab a copy of Caraval as soon as it is on the shelves!

About Stephanie Garber

Stephanie Garber grew up in northern California, where she was often compared to Anne Shirley, Jo March, and other fictional characters with wild imaginations and stubborn streaks. When sheโ€™s not writing, Stephanie teaches creative writing, and dreams of her next adventure.

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3 responses to “Weekend Reads #90 – Caraval by Stephanie Garber

    • I’ve already read it and it is fantastic! I loved it, I really can’t say enough about it other than read it ๐Ÿ˜€ Especially if you enjoy fantasy!

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