Title: Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber

Series Number: 1

Publication Date: January 31, 2017

Genres: Fantasy

Where I received the book: I received a copy of this book from Hachette NZ to review.

Star rating:★★★★

Summary: 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 went above and beyond all expectations that i had for this book. i actually can’t believe it was so good. the first few chapters were disappointing and a little off putting. i didn’t particularly like the way it was written, but i’m glad i continued reading as things picked up once they left scarlett’s home island.

i have no idea if/what this book was inspired by, but it made me want to watch the labyrinth all over again. there are quite a few scenes that are similar to the movie (the main antagonist is a huge inspiration to the protagonist; trying to find a sibling that’s been taken by the antagonist; the scene where all the people are trying to take her sister’s things, which is nearly identical to the labyrinth where those people were collecting sarah’s things), honestly, i can keep listing similarities if you want me to but i’d rather not spoil anything.

and i’m not saying those similarities were a bad thing, it just made me really nostalgic.

i really loved the writing style. everything flowed with a nice pace and i was never bored. the world building was phenomenal (i hope there’ll be a sequel, i’m dying to know more). there were quite a few plot twists, none of which i expected. it wasn’t predictable at all.

scarlett was an enjoyable character. she’s just so lovely and sweet. i didn’t particularly like the romance between her and julian, as it was so rushed and didn’t feel real. although in saying that, i found julian rather boring. i absolutely love the relationship between scarlett and tella.

i adore tella’s character development. i didn’t like her in the beginning, she irritated me. but by the end, i wanted to know more. she’s so underrated. she’s so cunning and strong.

if you haven’t read this book yet, please read it now!! it’s so good. it’s been one of my most anticipated for so long, and so far it’s the only book that’s lived up to those expectations. i don’t like reading hyped books as i find them disappointing, but this book was far from that. please. read. caraval.

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