Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Welcome, welcome to Caraval… beware of getting swept too far away.
Scarlet and her sister Tella have lived their whole life at the isle Trisda with their abusive father. Scarlet have been dreaming her whole life about Caraval, the greatest magical show and experience in the world where the winner gets a wish from the master Legend. And she’s been writing letters to Legend begging him to bring Caraval to Trisda. But nothing has happened, until now.
Scarlet receives an invitation to Legend’s private island and three tickets to Caraval which is being held there this time around. Two for her and Tella and one for her fiancé, who she has never met due to the marriage being arranged by her father. After all this time, she now does not want to go. She sees her marriage as a way for her and Tella to escape her father once and for all, and going to Isla de los Sueños to partake in Caraval would put all of it in jeopardy. But Tella is determined to leave, and by the help of a sailor she has become friendly with, she drags Scarlet along.
Once they reach the island Tella disappears. She has now become the main person of the event, find her and you’ll win. Scarlet finds Tella’s hotel room ransacked and it’s now being looted by players looking for clues. Even if she has been warned and is constantly reminded that Caraval is just a game and that she should not let herself be swept away too far, it’s not easy to keep calm when the one she loves the most in the world is gone and mad things happen all around her.
The world at large did not come into play that much. But it sure isn’t our world. There are two locations; The Conquered Isle of Trisda that is governed by Scarlet and Tellas father, and Legends private island Isla de los Sueños where Caraval is being held this time. That’s about as much as I was able to pick up on, there are not much else there. And even though I love a detailed world, it was not necessary here. The most important part of the world in this book is Caraval. And to try and paint you a picture but not give to much away, I’ll give you this;
Caraval cocktail recipe; Gameshow, theatre and amusement-park thrown into a blender, with a whole bunch of con-artists and magicians added for flavour. Best served in a tall glass with umbrellas, sparklers and a funny-straw. Yummy!
Reading about Scarlet was such a treat. I got a break that I did nit know I needed from the badass, dive-in-head-first heroine that I’ve favoured for a long time. Scarlet is cautious and likes to play it safe and by the rules. It does not however make the book less eventful that she takes her time contemplating her options but just ads depth and shows of her character nicely.
It’s HARD writing about the characters, because I don’t trust anybody to be any version of who they say they are. I hardly trust the book to not bite my hand off. But I am going to mention one more character.
Donatella, Scarlets younger sister and pretty much her polar opposite. I had a real love hate relationship with her. I wanted to punch her, hug her, scream at her, save her, drown her and applaud her. In that order with additional actions. She’ll be taking over as the lead in Legendary, and that will probably clear up many of my conflicting feelings. But for now, a good punch in the face is not undeserved.
I was so freaking happy reading this book! It was a long time ago a book had me confused to this level. One of the BIG things that I struggle with when I read is that there are too many hints being dropped or that authors follow similar patterns, and therefor I figure out plot-twist way before they happen. But not Caraval. I was almost clueless to the end, and I loved every turn!
I usually make a detailed note about romantic relationships when I review books, but this time I just did not care that much. Scarlet and the character Julian were cute and funny together sometimes. But when the relationship turned romantic I was so caught up in the game that I just wanted them to get the kissing over with and get back to work. And who is Julian anyway!? A player in Caraval? A performer? Scarlets long lost uncle? Legend? A kangaroo masquerading as a human!!?
I actually did get swept away a bit too far in the game. I was half convinced for about 3 min that Scarlet was behind all of it in an attempt to murder her abusive father. But I dropped that theory quite quickly.
But as much as I loved the rollercoaster of a journey, none of the characters stuck with me. That’s what happens when I’m suspicious, I keep my distance. And for one who love to feel connected to characters, this is an issue.
But otherwise they were well written trough conversations and details, so I won’t take off more than one star for the lack of connection. So it lands on a 4 star rating, and I’m off to Legendary to get me more of this delicious cocktail!
Have you read Caravar? What did you think?