ARC Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Book Length: 402
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
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 is a fantastic debut that will enchant readers with it’s vivid world building; heaps of magic, sisterly love and trickery that makes you question if anything is real or a clever illusion.

Caraval follows two sister’s Scarlett and Tella who live with their abusive father on a secluded isle. Just when Scarlett thinks she and her sister can finally escape her father with her upcoming marriage, an invitation to the mysterious and magical Caraval arrives. Caraval is a game that occurs every year, hosted by the fascinating but illusive Legend and his crew of performers. You can opt to be a watcher in the game or a player, but you must follow the rules and not put too much faith in everything you see.
“Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or performance. It's the closest you'll ever find yourself magic in this world.”
Unfortunately for Scralett is quickly becomes more than game when she arrives to find that her sister has been kidnapped. Tella is now the prize in this ever-changing game and Scarlett must find her before the other players or she’ll never see Tella again. Intriguing right?
“What happens beyond this gate may frighten or excite you, but don’t let any of it trick you. We will try to convince you it’s real, but all of it is a performance. A world built of make-believe. So while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away. Dreams that come true can be beautiful, but they can also turn into nightmares when people won’t wake up.”
What I really enjoyed about this book was it’s fast pace, Scarlett only has 5 days to find her sister and you can feel the time slipping away from her with each chapter. As Scarlett’s time runs out and the stakes rise ever higher in the search for her sister there’s also some page time dedicated to romance. Now this romance I really enjoyed, it slowly progressed throughout the book and didn’t take time away from the plot. However what did take away from the plot was some of the descriptions and prose, gorgeous as they were, some just didn't make sense. I also wasn't a huge fan of Scarlett being able to 'feel in colour'. huh?
“Briefly, Scarlett let herself imagine what it would be like to go to Legend’s private isle, to play the game and win the wish. Freedom. Choices. Wonder. Magic.”
BUT, now I feel terrible for saying this the best part of the book is by far the last 3 pages. It’s not that the book wasn’t great because it was but have you ever read a book and fallen in love with a character and they don’t appear much? Well this is how I felt, now imagine that at the end of that book there’s a huge hint that this charming character maybe getting their own book? YES YES YES *freaks out* I am soo ready for book two!

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  1. I can't even begin to say how excited i am to read Caraval <3 I've been seeing it EVERYWHERE and I have so many high expectations for it :) Glad to see you like it :) Sister love, good pace and gorgeous writing! <3 I'm pretty sure I'm gonna love the book!

    Also I love your floral header <333

    New GFC follower, Uma@Books.Bags.Burgers.

    1. Yaaaay, oh I do hope you enjoy it! You'll have to let me know what you think.
      Thank you so much Uma and thank you for following <33

  2. I've had my eye on this book ever since I heard about it! It sounds like such an intriguing novel, with the mystery and allure of a circus filled with magic and wonder ;) But you said the last 3 pages were your favourite? That's often quite rare, unless it's a huge cliffhanger (but I guess those are more painful and devastating than anything--wait, no, I take that back, the last 3 pages of ACOMAF blew my mind in the best way possible). I'm definitely going to pick this one, because what's not to love about the description? :D

    1. YESS, those last pages! You will totally get it once you read it ;) I just know it!
      Oh don't, lets not talk of ACOMAF, I'll still not over it! Is that bad? Those pages KILLED ME!


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