by Stephanie Garber
Thank you to Netgalley and the Publisher for the chance to read this book in exchange for an honest review.
Publish Date: 31st January 2017 (UK)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Book: Caraval #1
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Rating: 5 Voodoos
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.
I’m always nervous going into a book that’s had such hype and high praise, it nearly always leads to disappointment and yet, here is proof that there is always an exception. Caraval was a fast paced, action-packed, mind-bending story that had me gripped from beginning to end.
Caraval is a story about two girls, trying to escape the grasp of their tyrant of a father. When Scarlett was little, she pinned her hopes on the magical world of the Caraval. The Caraval is a mysterious group of performers that host an annual awe-inspiring performance that invite the audience to participate. The winner, of a set of tasks, is granted one gift but these tasks are never easy and can play with the mind. As the years pass, with no sign of help from the Caraval, Scarlett eventually has to grow up and now her only hope of escape is marriage to an unknown Count.
Everything changes when Scarlett receives a personal invitation to the Caraval. With the help of a sailor called Julian, Scarlett and her sister Tella find their way to Caraval and begin a whirl-wind adventure, but everything is not as it seems at Caraval and soon Scarlett is playing for more than the gift of a wish… she’s playing for her sister’s life!
This book was so twisted. Everytime I thought I knew where the story was going or who to trust, the story would throw something else at me, leaving me questioning everything! I really loved the bond between the sisters. Scarlett was a really insecure character and basically hung everything on her love for her sister. Her sister was the only one who was always there and when she is taken by the Caraval, Scarlett throws everything she has into getting her back. I really liked that.
Tella was a much wilder character, she was quick to jump into things and was constantly pulling Scarlett into trouble, although Scarlett’s cautious nature soon proved to be more of a hinderance in the game. It was great to see her find a balance and some sort of confidence by the end of the book.
There was a romance and, in my opinion, it was really well played out. You could never really trust that it was real because your head was always shouting at you to be cautious but the way they looked at, and interacted with, each other made your heart wish that it was true. We can completely blame the nature of the game for every heart-wrenching moments!
I don’t want to give to much of the story away but I thought it was brilliant. It had the perfect combination of self-discovery (for Scarlett), testing tension and heart-stopping action. I for one, can’t wait to see what Legend, (the leader of the Caraval) has in store for us next and for once, believe the hype is well deserved.