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Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Posted on 03/07/2017 in Book Review / 2 Comments

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 407
Format: Hardcover
Source: Book Subscription Box
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four-stars

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 Caraval―Stephanie Garber’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 Scarlett’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, 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. 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.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber was the selection in the February OwlCrate.  I couldn’t wait to read it – I love books with a circus or carnival theme, and bonus points if there is magic involved. There’s just something about the sights and smells and twinkly lights that is so appealing to me.

After years of living with a cruel and abusive father, Scarlett thinks she is finally escaping. She is getting married, and although he is a complete stranger, she is reassured by his kind letters. Her sister Donatella, on the other hand, is suspicious of the arrangement. Tella is the risk-taker, the daring younger sister who doesn’t seem to consider the consequences. Scarlett has dreamed of going to Caraval since she was a child, but now that it is a reality, she is afraid of what repercussions it may bring.

As the story progressed, Scarlett began to really grow and develop. There were times when I was frustrated with her decisions – or her lack of decisiveness. But I felt like it was true to character considering her background. I enjoyed watching her relationships develop, as she became more aware of who she was and what she wanted. I loved all the twists and turns that the story took, and I found myself wondering what was real and what was part of the game. Was it really a game? Or was it all actually a game?

This was definitely a quick read, as I couldn’t wait to find out what happened. I loved the writing and the descriptions of Caraval. I wanted to wander the streets, explore the shops, and watch the performers. While I wouldn’t put it in the same category as The Night Circus, I did enjoy it a lot and can’t wait to read the second book.

As I mentioned before, the book was part of the February OwlCrate. This month’s box was absolutely phenomenal! It was probably my favorite out of all the boxes I have received. I loved all of the items, but the Night Circus-themed tote bag was probably my favorite. It was created exlusively for OwlCrate by Evie Bookish, who does amazing designs! I recently ordered pillows with some of her designs, they are gorgeous!

Also included was a candle from Frostbeard Studio – “Le Cirque des Reves” – another exclusive for the box. It smells like Caramel Popcorn, Roasted Chestnuts, and Bonfire. Yum!

Another of my favorite items was the mini donut lip balm from Geek Fire Labs. It really does leave the flavor of a donut! There was also a notepad made from a recycled casino playing card from Attic Journals.

Finishing out the box was sticky page flags from Girl of All Work. A sticky note that’s a book mark! And the designs are super cute.

This circus-themed box was absolute perfection for me. It was fun, whimsical, and the items were all things that I will definitely use. It’s going to be hard to top this one!

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

four-stars

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