I haven’t posted a review in a while so here you go for my review for Caraval by Stephanie Garber.
Title: Caraval (Caraval #1)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Summary: 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. (Goodreads)
3 stars: Apollo – God of archery, music and dance, the Sun and light, poetry, and more. I really like Apollo and what he represents. That means that I really enjoyed the book and my experience reading it. That means the book is worthy of Apollo.
Pheme: The goddess of fame, gossip and renown – This goddess will be invoked when a book has received a lot of attention and is praised by critics and the book community. She will be featured whether the book lived up to my expectations or not.
I was very hesitant to pick up this book because of all the mixed reviews I had seen from reviewers I trust (I’m so easily influenced sadly). However, I was still very curious about the series and I liked how the title sounded like “Carnival” so I decided to purchase the audiobook.
I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by this series. The world-building was great and it was perfect for the audiobook format. I really liked both the semi-spooky atmosphere mixed with the constant anticipation of “what’s next?’ of the game; I liked all the riddles and enigma surrounding the game and I got exactly what I came for. There were so many twists that I did not see coming and I had to stop listening at some point and take a deep breath.
Some of the book’s strongest assets is the relationship between the characters, starting with relationship between Scarlett and Donatella. I love family dynamics in books and I loved seeing their love for each other and how far they were willing to protect each other. It was so beautiful to read about and their love was so pure and selfless. We tend to focus on romantic relationships and it was nice to see a different kind of love, just as powerful. But still let it be know that I was pleasantly surprised with the romance!! I did NOT expect to be this involved by the romance and I found myself rooting for the characters. They have undeniable chemistry and I’m currently reading the third book in the series and the chemistry is just as strong.
The character development was well-done too. I think all the characters were a bit caricatural at the beginning: the naive sister, the bold one, the charming bad boy etc. But as the story progressed, the characters evolved and I think they all changed for the better. It wasn’t forced and it was very subtle which I greatly enjoyed.
However, there were too many confusing parts and things that didn’t always make sense to me. I had a lot of unanswered questions when I finished reading (which are still not developed in the third book) and it kept me from giving the book a higher rating. I also just expected…more. I feel like the Caraval aspect could have been pushed further; there were so many interesting parts which were underdeveloped.
Overall it was a nice enjoyable read and if you’re hesitant about picking up this book, you totally should!
CW: child abuse (violent parent), mentions of suicide.