Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Hello, friends!

I know it’s been awhile. I hope you’ll forgive me for that. I have been both busy and not busy. I could make excuses but I won’t. I just hope you’ll be happy to join me as I rediscover blogging and reading and the love of writing that fills my little heart 😉

Today I have a review for you! And it’s a bit of an unpopular opinion, I’m afraid. I recently finished Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Here is a link to the Goodreads page if you’d like to read the synopsis. It is the first book in what I believe will be a duology. The second book, Legendary, is expected to release at the end of this month, on May 29th, 2018. Now, Caraval is marketed as a fantastical romance filled with magic. Sort of the The Night Circus of YA. Since just about everyone on the planet, myself included, loves The Night Circus, my expectations for Caraval were high. However, they fell about as flat as the world building in this novel.

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Let’s start with the characters. It started off well enough and I had hopes. We see the main characters, sisters Scarlett and Tella, living with an abusive father on an isolated island where their father holds all the power. I usually enjoy books about sisters fighting for each other. Call it the Frozen lover in me 😉 Scarlett plays it safe and wants to marry away her freedom for safety from her father. Tella is irrational and impulsive, craving freedom and a life beyond a man (go, girl). I can appreciate characters that have flaws and figured this gave them space to grow. However, through the whole 400+ pages, they really didn’t. Scarlett is supposed to be our heroine but she is, honestly, so ditzy I hardly rooted for her. She makes obviously bad decisions and falls into insta-love with our main male character, Julian, who we first meet making out with Tella in their basement. All of the characters felt one-dimensional and lacked any real development or insight. Scarlett spent her whole life wanting to play “the game” of Caraval and then when she gets her wish, she spends the entire time refusing to play and wanting to go home.

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Speaking of the game, let’s discuss how it was basically non-existent. The entire book I was waiting for the magic and the mystery. It never came and each “clue” felt forced while all of the magic felt like parlor tricks. None of the other players on this island where engaged in the story or held any place in the game at all. The logistics of the game were never explained and I was really disappointed that the game wasn’t a utilized piece of the plot. It was basically just a reason to get the characters on the island. As for the villain, Legend, I just didn’t understand his motives. Was he just insane after years of never aging and “playing” a villain? Was it the pain of loss? With about 100 pages left in the book, he was almost a believable character for me, but then a weird plot twist came in and ruined it.

So, overall, I didn’t love this book. Which just sucks, because I really wanted to. However, it did keep me reading and I did finish it pretty quickly, so for that, I’m giving this book 2.5 stars ⭐️⭐️💫. The best parts of it are the cover art and the use of Crimson as a nickname for Scarlett (that was cute). I’m not sure yet if I’ll give the sequel a try. If I do, I’ll probably get it from my library or wait until it’s in paperback. 😂

Processed with VSCO with a6 presetThank you so much for reading this far! If you read this book, tell me what you thought! Whether you agree with me or completely disagree, I’d love to hear about it. Hope you have a lovely week!

Cheers! ☕️

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4 thoughts on “Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

    1. Thank you so much! I put off posting it a little because I wasn’t sure how I felt when I finished the book. It took a couple days to get my thoughts in order and realize I really didn’t like it, lol. When you read it, I hope you enjoy it! ❤ It was a quick read and I enjoyed it while I was reading. All the holes just became more obvious once it was over.

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  1. I’ve seen so many mixed reviews for this book but then I’ve also seen mixed reviews for the night circus too. I haven’t read either yet but it’s definitely interesting how some people absolutely love them and others just don’t seem to care for them

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    1. It’s funny how so many people can read the same book and get such different things out of it. I think this book was just a little too hyped up for me. I hadn’t heard a lot about the night circus before I read it. So maybe that was part of why I liked it so much 😉

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