Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber!

See my previous post to WIN an UK ARC of Caraval!

Thank you to Hodder and Stoughton for sending me a copy of Caraval! This has in no way affected my review.

Caraval is a book full of rich imagery, intense character development and two sisters who’d do anything, and go anywhere, to protect each other.

For years Scarlet has been sending letters to Legend, the master of the mysterious Caraval, but by the time he responds Scarlet is set to marry an anonymous Count. Scarlet is almost ready to give up on her dream of seeing the Caraval for herself, but her sister Donatella isn’t, especially as the winner of this years game is granted a wish which could help the sisters escape their abusive father. Tella enlists Julian, a secretive sailor, to help kidnap her sister and bring her to Caraval in time for the start of this years game.

The stage has been set and Caraval will soon begin, only this year’s game is to find a missing girl, and the girl in question is Scarlet’s sister, Donatella, who has been missing since they arrived. Scarlet and Julian will have to piece together the clues given to them, and perform many daring tricks and trades, in order to find Tella before time runs out.

Caraval is full of vivid descriptions, lush and dizzying imagery and intriguing and mysterious characters. I hate to compare books, but I recently read Heartless by Marissa Meyer, and I feel like these two books where both striving for a similar tone of non-sensical madness, and to me Caraval achieved this a lot more successfully. Caraval’s main character Scarlet undergoes a huge transformation throughout the novel, and the mystery of Julian kept on on my toes throughout.

If I had to criticise I would add that I did feel a disconnect with the characters, and I failed to be shocked by any of the big reveal scenes (even though I hadn’t called the ending!). I was just a little underwhelmed by the ending, but I had a lot of fun getting to it!

Caraval will probably be loved by people who liked Heartless or the Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and I would recommend everyone give it a go!

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I’m giving Caraval somewhere between 3.75 and 4 ice creams, I wish the ending had packed a bigger punch.

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