I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Legendary by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #2
Published by Flatiron Books on 2018-05-29
Length: 451 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: 2018 Finishing the Series Reading Challenge, 2018 New Release Challenge
A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever...
Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . the games have only just begun.
Better than the first!!! How often can you say that about a sequel?! Usually sequels suffer from second book syndrome, acting as a bridge in a trilogy, a filler really with no necessary information meaning the book winds up quite dull. Legendary however doesn’t suffer second book syndrome. Far from it! Legendary surpassed all my expectations and is better than Caraval which is a big feat. I loved Caraval, so I really did have high hopes for this book and probably unrealistic expectations, but they were met with flying colors.
Donatella Dragna (what a mouth full!) is the focus of this sequel. Scarlett’s younger sister and whom Scarlett played Caraval for, Tella has a lot to live up to. Not only did her sister win, but they are now free. Free from their abusive father and free from an arranged marriage Scarlett didn’t want. But now it’s Tella’s turn to enter the game as a contestant and not the prize. Tella is the complete opposite of Scarlett. Where Scarlett was calculating and hesitant, Tella jumps in with both feet, fully immersing herself in this game. The only thing that she had going against her was her hardened heart. “I do not love” is her mantra, except she does, fiercely.
In Legendary, Tella finds herself in a new Caraval, a new game for a new city, complete with its own rules. Except she isn’t sure it is a game. She is tasked with finding the real name of Legend, which seems impossible. However she is up to the challenge. Thinking it just a game until things turn sour, Tella realizes she may be in over head.
The Boys and the Magic
There are two boys that enter Tella’s life during this Caraval: Dante and Jack. Dante was in the first book, and I really didn’t like him. In fact, it is hard to separate the character he became for the first Caraval from the character he is in this book. Each player has their own role and in the first book he was a class A jerk. In this one, he is helping Tella. He’s kind and seems to be falling for her as she is falling for him. Well as much as she will let herself. Jack on the other hand is creepy. I’m pretty sure he is some otherworldly being sent to kill everyone. At least that’s how he comes off. It is Jack that challenges Tella and scares her (and if I’m being honest me too!!!).
The magic of this book is just as surreal as the first. I found myself fully immersed into Tella’s world. Entranced by the words, because y’all Garber writes beautifully vivid imagery and Legendary is full of it! The book comes to life on the pages. It is fantastic!
Legendary is a must-read for any fan of Caraval, but if you haven’t read the first book you will be lost. So friends if you like lush fantasy, historical settings (think Victorian times), I highly recommend you get a copy ASAP. It does not disappoint! Like I need more of it and will most likely reread the series prior to the release of Finale. Tella and Scarlett are fantastic characters, I love their relationship, and I love the men in their lives. Now I’m ready to get to the bottom of this mystery!!