Title – Caraval.
Author – Stephanie Garber.
Publication date – 31st January 2017.
Publisher – Flatiron Books.
Series status – 1st book in the Caraval trilogy.
‘Remember, it’s only a game…
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. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.’
This book sucked me into the black abyss of ‘one more chapter’. The description was beautifully juicy and I was absorbed into the story, the writing lulling me into the magic. Everything Scarlett felt – I felt. Confusion, fear, bewilderment – I felt it all.
The characters were fascinating. I was rooting for Scarlett the entire way through and I was desperate for everything to work out. I hated Governor Dragna from the very first time we met him. I could feel his hot breath and his vicious tone bearing into my soul from through the pages. I couldn’t stand the way he treated his daughters and the way he punished them when they did something wrong.
Julian became my favourite character by the end of the book. I honestly couldn’t decide what I thought about him at first. He came across as cocky, bigheaded and selfish. But the deeper I looked the more I started to wonder if he did secretly care about Scarlett. The more the story went on – the more I fell in love with him.
The game of Caraval was just as intriguing for me as it was for the characters. I was desperate to discover everything surrounding it. The mysteries tumbled and twisted together until I could barely see from the absolute need to know what happened next. Just like Scarlett – I had no idea what was real and what was the game. I couldn’t tell who was the bad guy and who wasn’t, I didn’t know who to trust. Every page I turned – the more the story dragged me in. Long after I’d turned that final page I couldn’t believe what had just happened, and it was impossible to shake off the magic of Caraval.
This book literally ripped my heart in two, stomped on it and sewed it back together again in one swift motion. There were so many twists and turns and just when I think I’ve got it all figured out – it pounces and I’ve no clue what’s going on again. Let me just say I am so freaking happy I have Legendary because I literally need to know what happens next or I might be sucked into the abyss of no return.
‘When I’m not writing, I teach creative writing at a private college in Northern California, where I’ve been known to turn assignments into games and take students on field trips that involve book signings.
To help pay my bills during college, grad school, and the breaks in between, I worked as a barista, a waitress, a bartender, a customer service representative for an energy consulting company, and as a sales girl at Bath and Bodyworks. I also spent years working with youth; I worked as a counselor at space themed summer camp, volunteered at a school for deaf children in Mexico, and I took multiple groups of college students overseas to spend their winter vacations serving at youth hostels in Amsterdam. But out of everything that I’ve done, writing young adult novels has been my favorite job.
My debut YA fantasy novel, Caraval is out now (Flatiron Books/Macmillan—US and Hodder & Stoughton—UK). Caraval has sold in thirty foreign territories and the movie rights were picked by Twentieth Century Fox.’