Caraval by Stephanie Garbar

Title: Caraval

Author:  Stephanie Garber 

My Rating:  🌟🌟🌟

Type: Standalone

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult fantasy, Magical World, Thriller

Primary Characters: Scarlett, Tella, Julian,

 Narration: Single POV

I had seen people gushing over this book all over social media. I had really high hopes for Caraval. The blurb, the cover, and the excellent reviews promised a magical whirlwind of a story. I wanted to know what this competition is all about and how unbreakable bond and romance will play a role. I was intrigued by this Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. However, I was disappointed with several things as many things were only touched on surface.

Plot starts begins with young Scarlett writing several letters to Master Legend hoping to see Caraval. As Scarlett grows up, she gets closer to her sister Tella and they are bound by love. They have suffered from the hands of there abusive father. Some situations will bring them the tickets to Caraval which has legendary adventurous competition. With a mysterious sailor Julian ready to take them to an island where Caraval is held it got more fascinating.

As soon as Scarlett enters that island, she becomes aware that her sister Tella is kidnapped by Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. Scarlett is left with no choice apart from playing the game to save her sister.

I was hoping to see more of other competitors or how Scarlett outsmarts them. I was disappointed in that. This competition was more like treasure hunt and I didn’t see any other competitor except one. The thrill of chasing wasn’t so great.

Characters were bland and annoying with no highlighting personality. The magic system itself really irked me. It felt like a bad case of “This happens because of MAGIC” with very little explanation as to how the magic works. World building was poor. Caraval setting was complex and fascinating. It was like Alice in wonderland, we don’t see anything beyond Caraval. It was confusing to recognize what was magic and what wasn’t.

Writing and narration was smooth and flowed easily despite of several hiccups. This book’s concept was so unique i couldn’t help but be enthralled in the beginning.  I would have loved more depth to the plot and magic system. I would have loved more if the competition would have been aggressive.

It started off strong but it lost me there towards the end as things got more and more complicated with less explanation. I’d conclude this review saying that Caraval is not a bad novel nor very great one to me. It has its own merits and faults. Unfortunately, it wasn’t that great to me. It didn’t live up to my expectations. Let me know your thoughts.

Source – My Purchased Copy

Buy link-

Blurb as per Goodreads

A legendary competition.
A mesmerizing romance.
An unbreakable bond
between two sisters.

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.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away. 

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