Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Published: January 31, 2017
Hardcover: 407 pages
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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 already at the top of my favorites list…of all time! This book was my most highly anticipated read of 2017 and it did NOT disappoint. I was shouting its praises before I had even finished reading it! I’ve not been able to fully convey my immense love for this book properly. It’s so magical that I immediately wanted to reread it after turning the last page.
This book is rich with whimsy, mystery and magic. There’s romance and so many twists and turns, just when you think you are certain you have it all figured out, Stephanie takes you down a path you never saw coming! While there is romance, the main theme of this book is the love and bond between two sisters. I immensely enjoyed the fact that it was, indeed, the main focus throughout the book and how that bond unfolded throughout the story. The romantic relationship brewed slowly and felt natural, not forced on you.
The best way for me to describe Stephanie Garber’s writing is to say it is like a painting; so vividly detailed it’s as if you are standing in a museum and the art is telling the story through movement and color. Her writing is fresh and animated. To sum it up in one word, picturesque. I was enthralled in Scarlett’s adventure and felt as if I were playing the game with her. Within the game of Caraval, reality and illusion become difficult to decipher.
In the end, this book left me in a state of awe and with a new appreciation of descriptive writing. The ending of the book is phenomenal and is sure to leave you craving the next. This story is a true work of art. It is one of those extraordinary books that come along every so often that bewitches you from page one. This lavish world built on magic, mystery, love and fantasy is a true testament to a new and creative voice in the book world.
5 Magical STARS!
Here are some of my favorite quotes (and this was really hard to narrow down to just a few):
“The hazy glow of a lantern caught the metallic edges of the paper, making them blaze a shimmery gold, the color of magic and wishes and promises of things to come.”
“Occasionally people confuse fantasy with reality. Accidents sometimes result. It rarely happens,” Rupert added.”
“Wishes were things of wonder that took a certain amount of faith, and Julian seemed the type to trust only what he saw.”