Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Title: Caraval (Caraval #1)
Author: Stephanie Garber 
Genre: Fantasy 
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: January 31st 2017

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.
***Some spoilers ahead***

"Remember, it’s only a game… Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away."

I am almost a year and a half late for this party but: Oh.My.God. This book was amazing! Jessica had given me an ARC of this book which she had won in a giveaway a little after its release date. Of course being me I left it on my bookcase until several days ago. Why do I do this to myself? I have no idea. But I did end up reading this and I LOVED it!

Scarlett will do anything to ensure the safety of her sister Tella. Younger and more naive Scarlett believed that Caraval would be their way out of their small island home and escaping from their cruel father. As the girls grow older Scarlett realizes that Caraval won't be the thing that can save them. In attempt to make a better life, Scarlett finds herself in  an arranged marriage to a man she never met in hopes that he can help Scarlett and Tella escape their lives. That is until Scarlett receives tickets to this years Caraval. A story about sisterhood and love having no bounds, not everything is what it seems. Especially Legend, the Caraval Master himself. 

Scarlett went through hell to find and save her sister. She endured years of abuse from their father and even agreed to an arranged marriage to make sure Tella would remain safe. If this doesn't scream of the devotion Scarlett has to her sister, I am not sure what would. Having a sister of my own, I know I would go to the ends of the Earth to keep her safe and well. It wasn't hard for me to understand why Scarlett did what she did at all. 

The world building in this book was magical (pun intended.) From the island the girls come from, to the characters, Legend's island, the game of Caraval it was all beautifully crafted. I flew through this book, these pages came alive for me. Towards the end of the novel everything begins to fall into place, things that I didn't understand prior finally made sense. As well as the actions for certain events that had happened. Just know this: Legend is a very very twisted man. 

I half convinced myself that Julian wasn't going to be the love interest and Scarlett was going to find Legend and he would become the love interest. (I also Dante was going to be too, I was really confused for a while.) I was wrong. Though, I ended up falling in love with Julian. My only complaint is that Scarlett and Julian only know each other for a week by the conclusion of the novel. That's quite fast to develop a relationship. Though it didn't feel like a case of insta-love it could considered to be one. 

Overall I loved this book and I can't wait to read the next book! I am even more excited because it is also in Tella's POV and hopefully the few lingering questions I have will be answered. 


  1. I loved it too. I wasn't sure at first but then it grabbed me and now I can't wait to read more. It really twisted your mind.

  2. This book was amazing! I'm so glad you loved it too! The magical elements were so stunning, gah! Everything about this book was stunning, honestly!

    I thought Julian *WAS* Legend for a minute! haha! I can't wait for Legendary!

    Great review!

  3. Yay so glad you loved this one! It was one of my fave reads last year. It was such a roller coaster lol. Adding on to what you said about Julian and Scarlett having only known each other for a week, I remember being really frustrated by the reveal in the end (not gonna give spoilers in case anyone who hasn't read the book reads this comment) because it felt like it kind of invalidated their relationship to me and at that point I felt like they REALLY didn't know each other.

    Wonderful review! I can't wait to see what you think of Legendary!
    - Lefty @ The Left-Handed Book Lover


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