Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval by Stephanie Garber


byStephanie Garber

Paperback | May 1, 2018

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The acclaimed New York Times bestseller! Welcome, welcome to Caraval-Stephanie Garber's sweeping tale of the unbreakable bond between two sisters. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world...

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved 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 far-away, 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. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.

New York Times bestseller
#1 IndieNext Pick
Publishers Weekly Flying Start
Entertainment Weekly Best 10 YA Books of 2017
Teen Vogue Best YA Book of the Year
Amazon Best Book of the Year
Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Year
BuzzFeed Best Book of the Year
"The Hunger Games meets The Night Circus. Grade: A-." -Entertainment Weekly
"Impressive, original, wondrous." -USA Today
"Spellbinding." -US Weekly
"Magnificent." -Publishers Weekly, starred review
"I lost myself in this world." -Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes
"Beautifully written." -Renée Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn
"Shimmers with magic." -Marie Rutkoski, author of The Winner's Curse
"Darkly enchanting." -Kiersten White, author of And I Darken
"Decadent." -Roshani Chokshi, author of The Star-Touched Queen
"Like stepping into a living dream." -Stacey Lee, author of Outrun the Moon
"Destined to capture imaginations." -Kirkus Reviews
"Ideal for fans of The Night Circus, Stardust, and The Hunger Games." -School Library Journal

Stephanie Garber loves Disneyland because it's the one place on earth where she feels as if the fantastical stories she loves to write about could actually come to life. When she's not writing young adult fantasy, she teaches creative writing at a private college in northern California, where she's known for turning assignments into ga...
Title:CaravalFormat:PaperbackDimensions:448 pages, 8.28 × 5.4 × 1.19 inPublished:May 1, 2018Publisher:Flatiron BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1250095263

ISBN - 13:9781250095268


Rated 3 out of 5 by from Don't be fooled... I enjoyed the world building and the magic system in this book. Unfortunately I found this book fell short with a few characters and insta-love (definitely not a fan of that). That said, if you can make it through this book, I'd recommend reading Legendary (I enjoyed it so much more!).
Date published: 2018-06-12
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun & Entertaining! Oh wow! I enjoyed this one! This book was so fun. This was such an easy read and I devoured it quickly, reading it in a couple of days! The main character’s, Scarlett’s, perspective was so relatable. Being a big sister myself, I found her thoughts and need to protect very relatable, especially, now that I am a mom. It was also hard not to enjoy the thrill of the game. The twists were pleasantly surprising although at times slightly cliche. I love books that pull you into their magical world and exercise those imagination muscles. I loved the imagination of Stephanie Garber - especially in the details. Scarlett wears a magical dress, at first it looks like a common plain dress. Then becomes a magical array of different outfits, ones that often reflected her mood. Also, the clues, the performers and players Scarlett encountered (Nigel, Aikio, Dante, Jo), and the hidden secrets in her own family’s past. I think Caraval is a great base for a series with a lot of potential - where will the game go next? Will we ever meet the true Legend? What about the count or the governor? It surely cannot be the last we hear of them. For me I found I was intrigued with what was truth versus lies. The love story was an added bonus but wasn’t my main point of interest. I’m hoping Julian develops for me more in the second as I found him to be a bit flat despite the mystery. This book is what I call a perfect Sunday book - make yourself a warm beverage - go crazy have a cookie! Enjoy the story!!
Date published: 2018-06-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I. Want. A. Sequel. I was pretty freaking good, but not as good as the hype claims. Another reason not to read reviews before reading the book.
Date published: 2018-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Even Better a Second Time I swear to God this is even better the second time around. It's just as magical and swoony and twisty and mysterious. I literally don't think I could be more in love with this book. There are few writers who can truly transport me so deeply into another world like Garber does with Caraval. I truly forgot how twisty this book is, and I'm glad the magic wasn't taken away by me remembering everything that happened. Also, Julian ... so much love for him and Scarlett. My only complaint the first read through was the use of colours with emotions, and this time it didn't bother me. In fact I enjoyed it even more! The BEST part of reading this book through a second time? LEGENDARY IS CURRENTLY IN MY HAND.
Date published: 2018-06-09
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A heartfelt and intense/worldwind of emotions! I can't recommend this book enough! It is now on my list of favourite books, even just after one read!
Date published: 2018-06-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! Amazing book! Had to run out and get the second one asap!
Date published: 2018-06-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing book one of the best books i ever read. couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2018-06-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it I really liked this book. I read it at the very beginning of the year and am glad I made it my first read of this year. I found it to be fast paced and very entertaining, I finished it in three days, which is a personal best. Defiantly a good YA read.
Date published: 2018-05-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Magical in all the right ways! I bought this book with no expectations and was pleasantly surprised! It was a truly magical story, that was unique compared to anything else I have read. I would recommend this to everyone!
Date published: 2018-05-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Fast-paced page-turner but flat story Caraval was no doubt a page-turner. It was mysterious and had colorful descriptions of an imaginative world. If you're looking for something like Night Circus, however, the Caraval doesn't have the same atmosphere or quality in comparison. The cast of characters were very flat and I absolutely hated the ending. Overall, it had great potential but came short of it.
Date published: 2018-05-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Not what you think I really enjoyed the magical adventure you go through with this book. All is not what it appears to be. Can't wait for the sequel to come out!
Date published: 2018-04-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not great The story has an interesting Wonderland feel to it, but I hate the writing. There is a lot of repetitive, nonsensical description of colour.
Date published: 2018-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Such a fantastical story! Started reading the book and fell in love instantly. It's quite a nice mesh of the struggles of finding oneself while also travelling in a fantastical new world. It's definitely a good break away from the real world, with a hopeful, new romance.
Date published: 2018-03-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from so good i was hooked to it from the first page. its a fast moving story and a really interseting topic
Date published: 2018-03-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Couldn’t put it down I just couldn’t put the book down. This book is the perfect reading after haveing a busy day at work. It’s easy to read and follow, full of action and twists; and Stephanie Garber makes you feel you are there, you are a part of the game. I can’t wait to find out what will happen to Tella.
Date published: 2018-03-03
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Magic and Adventure The characters in this book were wonderful. From the protagonist, Scarlett, to her sister Tessa to Legend, each one is captivating in their own way. The story was full of fast-paced mystery and magic. Stephanie Garber weaves an entire world with imagery that brings it to life. I read this book too quickly! Which is a sure sign it was a hit for me!
Date published: 2018-02-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from meh kind of dumb. thought the purple-prose writing was a major dislike
Date published: 2018-02-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Wonderful Wow. Reading the book was magical, listening to it was even better.
Date published: 2018-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing I read this when it came out and loved it so much!! It was so unique and perfect in every way
Date published: 2018-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Dark whimsy with a taste of Wonderland-esque mystery and wonder. (( I will put a CW on this book for mentions of abuse and suicide. )) This book!! Oh, my God! This story is absolutely stunning, in ever aspect of its telling. It has such fantastic characters, who you really do care about, some even unexpectedly. There are a lot of unexpected elements to this book and I do have questions for Stephanie Garber regarding some characters, which I found to be quite fascinating. (Especially our main character Scarlett.) Going into this book I expected a fun, circus themed, calm and easy read. Boy, was I mistaken! The depth of character and each ones importance to the plot is so magnificently interwoven with each tiny detail that you really do find yourself rooting for characters you didn't even expect to like. The build up of the plot, along with the stories mystery and suspense, is magnificently executed. The many plot twists had me flipping pages endlessly and devouring chapters at a time in one sitting. You begin to learn so much about each characters role once the game gets started and the best part is you can easily visualise the entire world of Caraval from Stephanie's marvelous ability to describe each and every detail from clothing to shops to the colours and smells of everything surrounding them. I highly recommend you pick this up as it is the PERFECT Autumn read to get you in the magical feel for Halloween and the overall vibe of Autumn. I have never read a book like this before and I definitely plan to read it again, in the very near future. Props to Stephanie for such an incredible debut novel. You're going to go far, my dear.
Date published: 2018-01-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from why was this mess so hyped? poor characterization, embarrassing world building, painful plot
Date published: 2018-01-27
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not for me I picked this up expecting something like 'The Night Circus'. I was pretty disappointed in the book, especially with the ending. It was predictable, but the author did a good job of describing the world.
Date published: 2018-01-25
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok Predictable premise but some good twists & turns
Date published: 2018-01-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING! My mom came to stay with me over Christmas and she had left Caraval for me to read. At first, I honestly didn't think it was going to be a book a would enjoy and so I read a few books prior; but I decided to finally pick-up Caraval. I am so happy I did. Caraval was extremely fast paced and always kept you on the edge of your seat. I was constantly trying to figure this world and it's people out and trying to solve the riddle, I was always pleasantly surprised. The story reminded me subtly of Labyrinth and maybe some spirited away as well. I've never read The Night Circus, so I have no opinion on their comparison. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys puzzles, mystery, suspense, of course a little romance and finding characteristics in yourself that you never thought you had. This book will definitely be sitting at the top of my favourites list from now on.
Date published: 2018-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! I had a good time reading this novel and was surprised by how much I enjoyed the story.
Date published: 2018-01-13
Rated 2 out of 5 by from DNF I bought this bc the back seemed as if it were one of the best books ever, but it ended up being a ripoff of The Night Circus. I read so many good reviews and heard that the author was a creative writing teacher so I had really high hopes. I want to first mention what I really hated: the author tried to write her own universe where there's magical characters and islands instead of countries/cities. When you create your own universe and do not give enough detail it's just kinda suckish. Although I applaud Miss Gerber for trying, there was not enough detail to truly describe how things worked in this universe. The second thing that bothered me was (spoiler) the romance. The two protagonists knew each other for like 5 days and became desperately in love. Since Scarlet seemed to care sooo much about saving her sister, you'd think she'd try a little bit harder as well. Also I was kinda weirded out by the fact that the dude was making out with Tella and then moved on to Scarlett real quick like that was kinda odd. Since I couldn't get myself to read any more, I can't really say anything else but it was a lame attempt at romance and nothing else. I was expecting some creepy magical circus mystery kinda vibe and instead you get a weak/naive main character who just so happens to beat everyone else at figuring out each basic clue (she literally would just stumble upon each one or say something that triggered the answer all of a sudden like ??) Anyway I hated it but if you like cheesy romance and horribly annoying protagonists then this one's for you I guess #plumreview
Date published: 2018-01-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from incredible this is the first fantasy book i have read and couldnt put down in years. i am not a fantasy reader but i was hooked from the first few pages and finished in a few days. i absolutely loved the story and the characters and i cant wait to get my hands on book 2 in May
Date published: 2018-01-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVED IT Beautiful, unexpected, charming and amusing. Full of magic and mischief, and I love that the protagonist is the safe/ danger hating person. I can't wait to read Legendary !!
Date published: 2018-01-05
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not Good... The hype for this book was insane, so I was really let down while reading it. It comes off as a bad knockoff of the Night Circus, the writing was all over the place and so the plot. The romance didn't make any sense and the mystery wasn't great. Not for me.
Date published: 2018-01-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Compelling Read The book is unique. The world is fragrant and very compelling. Unfortunately, the romance development was unrealistic, and while the ending was interesting, lacked in many areas.
Date published: 2018-01-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good Good story if not a little cliché.
Date published: 2017-12-31
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok the whole story is ok but the ending is bit disappointing
Date published: 2017-12-29
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok This book was really good. I was in a really bad book hangover and this was perfect. The world building and the world in general was amazing
Date published: 2017-12-26
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok I loved it to the ending. The ending was a bit too much, but I have hope that the series will be redeemed
Date published: 2017-12-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun filled Fantasy Ride! This book was so fun and such a quick read!
Date published: 2017-12-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from BOOIII This book was really good. I was in a really bad book hangover and this was perfect. The world building and the world in general was amazing. AND Oooomagod the PloT tWiSt
Date published: 2017-12-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVE LOVE LOVE Absolutely love this, didn't think I would as I was afraid it would be too cliché, but it was well though and had its unexpected moments, witty and full of magical adventure. Love it. Need the sequel
Date published: 2017-12-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok I can not believe this is a debut.
Date published: 2017-11-29
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Remember, it's only a book This was an amazing story. The letters at the beginning intrigued me, I love the sister bond between Tella and Scarlet, and trying to figure out the game as the story went along was a huge part of the fun. Amazingly well written.
Date published: 2017-11-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok Talks about issues present in our society.
Date published: 2017-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from need the sequel now!!! great on audio or book absolutely adores and would recommend! such atmospheric writing will make u not wanna put it down. great character development ending was a little bit ok
Date published: 2017-11-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVE LOVE LOVE so easy to fly through this book. the author does such a great job with plot twists you will not see them coming! need the second book!
Date published: 2017-11-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A book for the senses! I wish I could see, smell, taste ,hear, and touch this story! Loved the creative descriptions. This was like a young-adult version "The Night Circus" which is one of my all-time favourite books.
Date published: 2017-11-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVED This books got me hooked pretty quickly, the whole adventure in Caraval is just so fun, well written, with witty characters and mysterious ones. Loved it
Date published: 2017-11-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Atmosphere and Use of Deception The hype around this book was insane. Literally everyone was reading it, and everyone was gushing about how amazing it was. While the synopsis had caught my attention, I went into this book expecting something significantly less than what everyone was saying. I figured it would be good, but not to the calibre that hype would have you believe. However, I loved this book. It was not at all what I expected when reading the synopsis and the reviews for it, and that took a bit of time to get used to. But once I got into it, and especially once the characters got to Caraval, I was completely sucked into the world of Caraval and in love with the story. It’s definitely one that worth all of the hype. One thing that did catch my attention was that it’s categorized as young adult, but didn’t really feel like a young adult book. If we’re going by the age range anyway. It doesn’t seem as simple as YA can be, and the author doesn’t shy away from the violence and confusion. The Good Points of Caraval: The way that Garber handles the deception and truth throughout this novel is brilliant. Half the time, you’re just as confused as the characters are when it comes to what’s going on, and the way the truth gets revealed makes you wonder if you should have had that figured out all along. It definitely helps keep you hooked into the story. The pacing in this book is perfect. You get just enough backstory and build up, only for the plot to take off on you, dragging you along for a crazy ride through Caraval. The writing, while maybe a bit much at times on the purple prose front, is perfect for this sort of story. The wording and phrasing just adds to the mystery and atmosphere of the book and setting, helping to you get even more immersed in the story. I liked the relationship between Scarlett and Tella, and how Garber depicts the positives and negatives about their relationship. Having a sister myself, I know what it’s like to care about them and be driven crazy by them at the same time, and I think Garber did a great job of depicting that. The Downsides of Caraval: The world building, considering this is a very unique, magical world, is seriously lacking. There are lots of great descriptions, so you can picture the places, but it’s honestly hard to keep everything straight. And even the map at the front doesn’t help. At the end of this book, I still knew very little about the isle that the sisters came from, or Caraval beyond some location specific descriptions. And it kind of worked, but it could have been so much better. The characters were a bit on the flat side. And if they weren’t flat, they were boring and lacked interesting personalities. With the focused mostly on the action, this wasn’t a big deal. But the first hundred odd pages of listening to Scarlett whine incessantly about everything sucked. Scarlett seemed to figure things out a little too easily. It’s clear from the beginning that she’s not the brightest bulb in the bunch, and true, she has help. But it all came so easily. Like she barely had to fight for anything, and had to make some *sacrifices* (barely sacrificing anything, honestly), but she found her sister without having to think too hard. All in all, I did really enjoy Caraval, and it has definitely earned its place on my shelf. If you’re a fan of the Night Circus and reading it because it’s compared to that, you may find yourself disappointed, as it’s really not in the same league. But if you enjoy fantastical journeys, magical games, and fast paced books, you’ll likely enjoy Caraval.
Date published: 2017-11-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unexpected This book was not, at all, what I expected. I didn't think it would take the route it did and I ended up falling in love with characters I didn't even expect to like. I loved the mystery of who Legend truly was, mixed in with the wonder of what was and wasn't real within the entire plot. I absolutely adored the women in this book, although there were times where I did not agree with some of their choices. Caraval was a brilliant, and fun, read and the ending set itself up for a sequel so well. I will be preordering it as soon as possible and dropping everything the moment I have it in my hands to read it.
Date published: 2017-11-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from its was pretty good I read this in a day, so its definitely a quick read. its fast moving, moderately interesting. Enough that i will probably read the second one. I could see how people could really like it.
Date published: 2017-10-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great It was really addictive and I couldnt put it down. Unfortunetely, more I was reading it the more I was getting I little bored because I have heard so much of this book and I was really disappointed that the caracters were not that deep enough and most of them I though were doing stupid things. I feel like the story was always turning around and I couldnt ship Scarlett and Julian. I wished she would turn to someone else. I dont know I didn't enjoy that much the caracters but Caraval seems like a place I would definitely see.
Date published: 2017-10-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok Gave as a birthday present, and the person loved. it.
Date published: 2017-10-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Amazing book This book was so good. I had bout it roughly a week ago and I've already read it all. I wish the ending had more substance but it is set up enough for there to be a second book. Would read again and a sequal
Date published: 2017-10-13
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok everyone should read this story
Date published: 2017-10-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! Amazing, if you liked the Night Circus you'll love this too! Can't wait for the next one!
Date published: 2017-10-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Page turner I actually could not put the book down, I love the main character and the plot of the story. It felt so vivid and colorful and magical. Loved it
Date published: 2017-10-06
Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok I couldn't put this book down. There is always something going on that keeps you reading
Date published: 2017-10-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great world building and plot! What I loved the most about the book was the setting of Caraval. It’s so beautifully descriptive it feels like a magical place. You’re taken back to the feeling when you were a wee little one and you’re in Disneyland for the first time in your life. It’s that magical feel good feeling that comes back to you when you’re reading the book. At the same time you know things aren’t what they seem and there’s some dark undertones to Caraval. It’s hard not to get swept away (as they have warned you) because everything seems so real and fun. I loved the plot throughout the book. Like Scarlett, you had doubts as to whether things were real or not. By the time you finished the novel you were still doubting what was real and what wasn’t. Scarlett was at times frustrating and irritating. She hesitated at the wrong times and didn’t listen to anyone when she really needed to. Argh. You wanted to jump in and drag her to point her to the right direction. I didn’t really see her well with Julian because I really saw Julian as more of a means to an end because he guided her throughout the game. However I have to admit, I liked it when he called her ‘Crimson’ it suited his personality at the time (I hope he doesn’t stop calling her that, it adds more to their characters.) The last few pages of the novel though. Wow. You’re blown away and you’ll have your heart wrenched and torn out of your chest and then it’s put back in. Yet it doesn’t feel the same anymore and you’re left with more questions and wanting more. OH MY GOD I CAN’T WAIT FOR THE SECOND BOOK! I NEED ANSWERS! Greatly recommended. Immerse yourself into the world and enjoy. You’ll probably get carried away like I did. Get ready for some good twists that are gut wrenching. You’re not left the same after reading it.
Date published: 2017-10-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great magical story Caraval is one of those stories that have you fully engrossed into a unique world that blurred the lines between fantasy and reality. This fast-paced story unfolded shrouded in mystery and each time you thought that you had it all figured out, the author would throw you a curve ball that forced you to question everything. The strong relationship between Scarlett and Tella is the main focus of this story. The lengths that both girls are willing to go in order to protect each other is outstanding and is out of pure love for one another. Both are strong, spirited and stubborn young women who are stuck in unfortunate circumstances with a powerful and abusive father. Where one sister is impulsive, the other is overly cautious. Scarlett is willing to sacrifice herself by wedding a stranger just to keep her sister safe. Every action, or inaction, they make is calculated to evade their fathers cruelty. Although finding Tella was only part of the Caraval game, Scarlett’s desperation to find her does get rather repetitive but you also have to understand Scarlett’s life and circumstances to really get it. The romance between the characters was not the main focus of the story (thankfully because we see enough of that). It was a slow burn that developed into something wonderful and magical that takes your breath away. The world of Caraval wasn’t one that I was necessarily expecting. Quite frankly, I was excepting a circus or sideshow type of world. Despite this world being something unexpected, there were enough elements to it that kept me completely engrossed and wanting to experience this dangerous magical world for myself. The writing, world building, and character development were on point. The plot twists weren’t ones that were huge, and there were many of them, but were ones that you don’t necessarily see coming either. Kudos to Garber!! I had set some fairly high standards where this story was concerned. I heard nothing but wonderful things about it and I was hoping that it would live up to the hype. This story exceeded my expectations and the cliffhanger ending has me yearning for the second installment, stat! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-09-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A magical book This book is great because it's full of magic and wonder, the plot keeps you guessing what will happen next and trying to figure out what's going on. Some might have problems with the writing style (some might say it's guilty of purple prose) but it is still a fun enjoyable read.
Date published: 2017-09-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing! It felt reminiscent of The Night Circus but for a more YA audience. I found myself falling in love with the circus and can't wait to read more!
Date published: 2017-09-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from oh my gosh i love this book! If you love romance and mystery, but with enough action and plot twist (and angst) to keep you on your toes, this book is a must-read for you! I absolutely love the romance. It doesn't take away from the story, but also if you take away the romance, the story would not be the same. That's how you know the author has put just the right amount of love in their story :)
Date published: 2017-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fairytale I got sucked into the magic of the Caraval just as much as Scarlet. I was shocked by how many surprises there were it kept me on the edge of my seat the entire book. I cannot believe it is already over but so excited to see what else Stephanie comes up with.
Date published: 2017-09-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed Okay...I don't honestly know if I understood the ending and explanations of this book but...Despite that, I really enjoyed this. The characters and magic and setting and relationships were so well flushed out and written which was exactly what I needed and didn't get from Frostblood which I read yesterday. And even more excited that I just found out Caraval is a series--not a standalone!
Date published: 2017-09-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magical! What a wonderful page turner. Absolutely loved this book and the world of Caraval. I finished this book so quickly but was trying to slow it down so it wouldn't end! Waiting impatiently for the sequel. If you enjoyed reading the Night Circus, you'll enjoy this one too!
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Such a unique and interesting story. I really enjoyed it. It was the perfect mix of romance and adventure. I highly recommend this book.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from ! great read. couldn't put it down.
Date published: 2017-08-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it! I really enjoyed this book! It was all kinds of magic, mystery, romance and adventure! I can't wait for the sequel! :)
Date published: 2017-08-29
Rated 1 out of 5 by from DNF at 18% This book tried. I tried. But the writing is SO juvenile. All Garber does it TELL, TELL, TELL! Tells you the backstory right from the start, tells you obvious details you could have figured out on your own, tells you the emotions of the scene whenever she describes something's colour--because Scarlett (the MC) can see emotions in colour. What a terrible, terrible skill for a character in a book. It completely insults the reader's intelligence, as if I'm not able to understand that red means rage, and grey means secrets... wait what? Not to mention the fact that one purpose of mentioning colour in prose is to GIVE the setting emotion. You don't need to describe the emotion that's already there. It was so unbelievably irritating to read Garber's descriptions. I didn't make it far into the book. From the start, I was complaining about its sloppy writing and its predictable tropes. A tyrant, abusive, evil father with no depth & no internal moral battles. He punishes his daughters by abusing the opposite sister whenever they've done something wrong. He drowned a guy for breaking one of his rules. He's an oppressive leader---like the president from THG(he dresses like him, too)--only this time he's also boring. Like how many times have we seen that? And how many times have we seen a mother abandon her children because her husband is an evil psycho? I'm so tired. I'm tired because this book put on the mask of "creativity" but really tried to modernize Alice in Wonderland. Yes, some points were creative, but they were fluffy! The descriptions streamed by, constantly confusing the character, and never feeling real. The problem again lies with the TELLING. I was told what these places, and these things looked like. I didn't experience it for myself. A very weak story. It's a great idea, but it's been done before, so I can't even really give it points for that. But apparently everyone else has been fooled by the name and the premise.
Date published: 2017-08-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Beautiful! The writing was so beautiful and there were so many plot twists I didn't see coming at all! Definitely recommend this if you want a dark, mysterious fantasy book. Not gonna lie Julian also reminded me of Thomas Creswell from Stalking Jack the Ripper and I loved that so much because Thomas is bae <3
Date published: 2017-08-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! Bought this book on a whim and I absolutely LOVED IT. Perfect blend of mystery, fantasy, and romance, all the while giving off a beauty and the beast vibe (if you look hard enough, like me, because I'm a huge fan of beauty and the beast). I really enjoyed the mystery/romance bit. Really interesting how successful the author was at marrying the two genres into something like this.
Date published: 2017-08-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So good The book is magical it's full of suspense and twists, it kept me guessing the whole way through. This story was not at all predictable, which was really nice for a change. If you're like me and can guess the ending and the rest of the story before even getting to the half way point, you won't guess anything here! It's a bit difficult for me to review this book without giving any of the twists away, which would totally ruin the book for you. "Nothing is as it seems."
Date published: 2017-08-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Favourite Read of 2017! I don't even know how to collect my thoughts right now. This book was wonderful. It was magical and suspenseful and filled with mischief. I am so surprised that this book is a debut novel; it was written with such poise. This book never kept me in one direction and I loved that. I was taken through twists and turns, betrayals and sabotages, love and lust. I never once knew where the book was taking me and I found it such a refreshing change from most of the books I have read before. I loved that the book was set up for the option of a continuation but that it also provided closure for what I had just read. Again, super refreshing! I cannot wait for more from this author and to provide a full in depth review on my blog. If you haven't read this book yet, GO!! It is so worth it. 
Date published: 2017-08-19
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Intriguing Next read that will keep you guessing and mess with your mind until the end. Can't wait for the sequel.
Date published: 2017-08-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting until the end While reading this book I definitely was entertained, but by the ending I just felt cheated with everything I had previously read.
Date published: 2017-08-14
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Beautifully written great entreating story!!
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good I really enjoyed this book. There many twists and turns I can't wait to see where this story goes.
Date published: 2017-08-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enchanting This was such an amazing read The writing was beautiful, the plot was mysterious and kept me guessing and wanting more, and that ending...! I need the next one
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Enchanting This was such an amazing read. The writting was beautiful, the plot was mysterious and kept me wanting more and that ending... I want more
Date published: 2017-07-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from really good the ending was kind of stupid
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So good! I loved this book! It was similar to The Night Circus, but a bit more juvenile. The way Garber used colours was creative and interesting and the plot was very enticing... if not a bit hard to follow. Overall it was a great read!
Date published: 2017-07-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved! I really, really enjoyed this book! Prior to reading this book, I had no idea what it was about and thought that it might be about a carnival/circus. Oh boy, I was pretty wrong about that. First let me give a shoutout to the graphic/visual aesthetic of the novel. Before even really delving into the story, I had an appreciation of the cover pages, the details surrounding the titles, the map, and the letters. Without even loving the story (which I did), it definitely is a beautifully designed book. Also, I'm so glad that I had no idea what this book was about because it made it that much more thrilling! I don't even know what to compare the story to aside from a possible combination of Saw (yes, the horror movie), Alice and Wonderland, Peter Pan, and....Pirates of the Caribbean. Don't ask me how I got some of those but they all came to mind at some portions of the novel. I really was kept in suspense throughout the whole read. Every time I attempted to guess who Legend was, I was way off base (maybe...I'm still not sure). Plus, there was definitely some shocking scenes/ "deaths" that I did not see coming. I'm really looking forward to reading the next in the series and I have no idea where the story will go. Part of me thinks that the next novel may be told from the point of view of Tella but again, I have no idea. Definitely cannot wait to read more from Stephanie Garber in the future!
Date published: 2017-07-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from *internally screams because there are no words created to define this feeling* This book MAKES. YOU. QUESTION. YOUR. SANITY. What's real, what's fake? You just over analyze and try to figure it out, but there's always these twists and turns that come out of nowhere! The author made this book based off of pure description and it allows you to venture into a whole new world of visions of the wonderful gameboard. Main protagonist Scarlett has synesthesia- which is not mentioned directly in the book- where she sees colours attached to her emotions. Once I researched further, I was very interested and impressed by the creativity of the characters' backgrounds. Seeing colours and incorporating them with emotions are only a part of this condition, but the description in the novel really made me feel as if I almost understood that small part of synesthesia and what Scarlett was going through, nothing any of the websites could emotionally attach me to. Especially with Scarlett's case that I and many others have never heard of it really is quite cool how her story unfolds and how the author has incorporated this rare condition. This is where the beautiful description comes with every flip of the page, especially when it's in Scarlett's POV. The creativity, plot-twists, and characters were obviously thought out and the author somehow magically makes EVERYTHING, I mean EVERYTHING come together in some way. There are close to no filler pages to what I can remember, and everything has a place and comes back in the end. MAGICAL. BEAUTIFUL. AMAZING.
Date published: 2017-07-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Surprisingly good I was hesitant to read it but the description was beautiful and there was never a dull moment!
Date published: 2017-07-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hated to put it down! This story is beautiful with it's vivid color descriptions tying in with emotions and above all: magical. I can't wait for the next book! So excited to have a new series to get into.
Date published: 2017-06-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from very good I really enjoyed this book, cant wait for the next one
Date published: 2017-06-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magical, Fun, Creative, Whimsical, READ IT!!!! This was a wonderful book. I highly recommend. The descriptions are lush and creative. Lots of whimsy, romance, intrigue and a touch of sinister 'not-quite-sure-what's-happening-here'. Characters leap off the page. I really cared about them. While the blurb and the cover made me think of The Night Circus, the two are quite different! You'll see once you start reading. :) The plot twists are done very well. It'll keep you guessing till the end. I found that the author sometimes repeated and over-explained things to the point where it seemed like she underestimates readers' ability to follow the plot, and that she thinks readers would forget information nuggets that were given in previous chapters. That being said, it's still a wonderful book that I think, lives up to the hype. I can't wait for the sequel and I want to know more about the sexy, mysterious Legend. So fun! I couldn't put the book down. Read it!!!! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-06-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Exciting! This book was really fun and managed to get me out of a terrible reading slump!
Date published: 2017-06-25
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Disappointing I had high hopes for this one, but I really didn't enjoy reading this it. I thought the characters were annoying, the romance was predictable, and the unnecessary descriptions really aggravating.
Date published: 2017-06-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from :( This was one of my most anticipated reads of the year and it was definitely not what I was expecting. There was no world building, everything was extremely vague. I had no idea where this book even takes place, possibly the Caribbean or Spain??? The main character was quite annoying and always made the "wrong" decisions, she wasn't even too focused on the game or her finding her sister and rather more interested in Julian. I thought the game of Caraval would be adventurous but it was quite boring. So much potential with Dante's previous game of Caraval or Julian & Legend's backstory, even Scarlett and Tella's mother's history. Quite predictable and underwhelming.
Date published: 2017-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Britnee One of the best books I've read so far this year! Definitely recommend!!
Date published: 2017-06-02
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Magical! I got some real night circus vibes which was awesome. The world was incredibly magical and the suspense was awesome! Can't wait for the next book
Date published: 2017-06-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Its alright I didn't hate the book. It definitely had some points where it could be improved but for a debut novel its pretty good. I know a few people who absolutely loved it, but overall the idea was amazing. The author just needs to work on her writing.
Date published: 2017-06-01
Rated 1 out of 5 by from DNF At 50 Pages I did not like this book. Truth be told, that's a bit of an understatement, as I couldn't even bring myself to muster up the energy it would take to complete this book. The characters were shallow and drove me bonkers, I didn't care for the hateful relationship between the two sisters, and Garber's writing style itself left much to be desired. I understand this novel was supposed to be magical and surreal, however, the way Scarlett is described to see her emotions in colors and the overall whimsical feel of the book quickly grew irritating. Personally, I wouldn't recommend it, but I'm sure there are others who would enjoy this book and look for more from the author. It just wasn't for me.
Date published: 2017-05-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from It was coolio I enjoyed this book very much! Though I do have some comments, I really didn't like the character Scarlett throughout the beginning of the book because she suffers from "saying" instead of "showing" her attachment to her sister, which is a bit annoying. However, once you get into the plot of Caraval it makes you second guess and question even yourself which I think is really cool. I think it's worth the read.
Date published: 2017-05-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Unique! I loved this one, it was very unique and unpredictable.
Date published: 2017-05-16
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Creative and Suspensful I truly loved Caraval and the world Garber created. It was thrilling, creative and never boring. I was always on edge to learn what happens next. The only thing I would consider a downfall is the lack of depth of the main character. It almost felt like it was hard to get to know her well.
Date published: 2017-05-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from gorgeous cover, a little too predictable This book reminded me a lot of the young elites series. also, the paper quality is really weird. It's a bit like newsprint, but I adore the cover, which is the main reason why I got the book (don't judge).
Date published: 2017-05-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from good I was confused sometimes but I could enjoyed reading it. sometimes thrilling and enjoyable. If I reread it, I would dive into it well. I will do it sometime soon.
Date published: 2017-05-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from confusing I think in a way this book is great for those looking for a serious mind game. In the end, there were just too many twists and turns for me to keep following the story.
Date published: 2017-05-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Definition of Magical I held off buying this, hoping for months that my sister really did order it for my birthday. I devoured this book in a matter of days. It is the definition of magical, filled with twists and turns that kept me guessing all throughout. The story is as dreamy as the cover and I loved every second of it. It's a fantastic debut from Garber and I look forward to whatever else she writes.
Date published: 2017-05-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good This book was interesting.
Date published: 2017-05-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Not bad! I really enjoyed this book. Interesting plot, although somewhat predictable twists and turns. Still a fun and easy ready though and I would recommend. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Super excited! I have heard so many amazing reviews about this book and absolutely cannot wait to read it!
Date published: 2017-05-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my new favourites!! I am in LOVE with this book!! For those who have heard it compared to "The Night Circus"... yes and no. I wouldn't say they are similar stories, though there are 'games' in each book, however Caraval had the same overall feel for me as Night Circus did. I loved the descriptions. She did an AMAZING job at painting such a...well... magical picture! Was it fact paced? Not entirely. Though at times my head was reeling and I couldn't read fast enough, the story always seemed to flow at a steady pace. Nothing felt pushed or strained. The characters were well penned, and you can really connect to them. You get sucked right into their world! I would give a word of caution to people who are thinking of picking up this book.... DO NOT READ IT IF YOU CAN'T STAND CRAVING TO READ A SEQUEL THAT ISN'T OUT YET!!!! I knew that there was a book two coming out in the future (no solid date as I write this), but I didn't anticipate wanting it to be out NOW this badly!! I have already recommended this book to others :)
Date published: 2017-05-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Couldn't put it down and had the biggest book hangover when I finished. So magical!
Date published: 2017-04-30
Rated 1 out of 5 by from There is no Circus in this book The advertising for this book is terrible, it is nothing like The Night Circus (which is an awesome book). This book was boring and predictable.
Date published: 2017-04-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Intriguing This book was a bit slow to start, but once it got going, I couldn't put it down! Stick with it - you won't regret it! Can't wait for the sequel!
Date published: 2017-04-26
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Interesting plot, poor writing I thought I was really going to enjoy this one, the plot was calling my name. I liked the premise, and I did enjoy many of the characters, however, I found the writing to be incredibly poor.There were a lot of mangled metaphors in pursuit of flowery language and by the end the repetition was really getting to me. Some of the twists and turns were quite fun but by the end I was no longer feeling very engaged and so the final turn of events and explanation of the stakes seemed rather lackluster. I had a good time reading this but I would suggest borrowing it from your local library rather than buying.
Date published: 2017-04-25
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved it As a fan of circus-themed books, Caraval is an amazing experience. The secrets and mystery make my head turn as the pages do. Completely magical!
Date published: 2017-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Colours, colours everywhere! Having just finished CARAVAL, this review is mostly just going to be an incoherent mess of things because I am having ALL THE FEELS!!! In CARAVAL, you're thrown into this gorgeous, dark, high-stakes, ever-changing world where you never know what's real or what to believe and you have to just keep turning and turning and turning the pages to find out. I was constantly clinging to a hope that some things weren't real and other things were, and then having my hopes dashed, then rekindled, then dashed again. "EVERYTHING HAS GONE TERRIBLY WRONG" was my constant refrain! Usually followed by "WHAT'S EVEN HAPPENING! THIS IS BANANAS!" All in the very best way. And the sisters! Yes, the sisters! A book that revolves so pivotally around the love of two sisters for each other will always have my heart. And the imagery! Colours, colours everywhere! Colours of magic, of feelings, of answers, of questions. The whole world shimmers with magic and beauty and horror and darkness and light. It's PUSHING DAISIES and THE NIGHT CIRCUS, and I need the sequel now! No, I need the sequel yesterday!
Date published: 2017-04-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Enchanting and Haunting This book made me lose touch with reality in the best way. I was lost and mesmerized throughout. It gave me feelings reminiscent of Narnia (when Mr. Tumnus hosted Lucy) and the circus element was definitely there, just not in the way I expected. A very imaginative world and wholeheartedly immersive. The characters were less memorable however and the ending was a bit of a disappointment unfortunately. Read this book for the story and creativity it has to offer, which is wonderful.
Date published: 2017-04-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from GREAT Caraval tells the story of Scarlett and Tella, two sisters living with an abuser father. They both escape with a sailor named Julian when he tells them he can bring them to the next place where Caraval happens. But, as soon as Scarlett reaches the island, everything goes to hell. Scarlett will have make her way in a world of magic where she cannot trust her senses if she wants to have a happy ending. I must admit Scarlett annoyed me for the first third of the book. I thought she was a stuck up character and couldn’t believe how much in her head she was, not at all rooted in the real world (or maybe too much). But as soon as I changed my view of the book (see first paragraph) I found myself feeling differently about her. She was someone doing the best she could. What made the book special for me was all the suspense. In this unpredictable world, everyone became, for me, a suspect. Every action had a whole other motive than the one showed. The way the world of Caraval is build appealed to my imagination and, as I wanted to know more, to know if my intuition was right, I found myself lost in this world. I wanted, with Scarlett, to resolve these riddles. I was thinking at was I would have answered to the many secrets this world demanded of Scarlett. Overall, this book was really great! A good fantasy in a well-built, well-described world that keeps you on the tip of your toes. (and the epilogue I NEED A SEQUEL PLEASE)
Date published: 2017-04-17
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun read Interesting, likeable characters, lots of twists and mystery, hard to put down.
Date published: 2017-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely riveting Really loved this book! Especially the characters and their complex nature. The whole idea of this magical carnival and the relationship between the characters, the sisters, was fantastic. The plotline was unique and enjoyable. The writing was amazing and intriguing and complex. . Highly recommend!
Date published: 2017-04-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Pretty Good Book. I enjoyed this book. My favorite thing was the strong sisterly bond that Scarlett and Tella had. I did find it annoying that Scarlett was always noticing how 'hot' all the dudes where.
Date published: 2017-04-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Creative I wish the sisters had shared more scenes, and the emotions got a little lost in the twists and turns, but the creative descriptions were something special. #plumreview
Date published: 2017-04-14
Rated 4 out of 5 by from I liked this book I love a good teen mystery book as much as the next girl, and the promise this book provided prompted me to buy it, however it wasn't as much of a mystery/suspenseful read as I was expecting. There were certain twists and turns that surprised me, and I love the magical illusion Caraval creates for us the readers, and the characters. I will certainly hang on if there is a sequel, and would probably tell others to read it as well.
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Ok This book was ok for me. I love the magic and the intrigue of the game of Caraval, but I expected more. I found the main character, Scarlett and her sister Donatella a tad bit annoying. I didn't hate them, but I didn't love them either. I tried to understand them, expecting their characters to develop as the story continued, but I was disappointed. I still want to read the next book.
Date published: 2017-04-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My new ultimate favourite book! Caraval has quickly become my new ultimate favourite book! It's full of magic, fantasy, twists and turns and you never know what's real or not. In just a few pages in, you really immerse yourself into the magical world that is Caraval.
Date published: 2017-04-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not the Night Circus I was super excited to read this because it got so many good reviews and tons of people compared it to the Night Circus, which is one of my favourite novels...but it didn't live up to my expectations. The romance was just alright, and the plot was engaging enough. It didn't do it for me. If you want to read a good Circus book, go for the Night Circus. Caraval didn't even come close.
Date published: 2017-04-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Story! Garber has created a beautifully detailed world that is both dark and magical. It has these layers that are slowly peeled away as Scarlett delves further and further into the mystery of Caraval. And it really is a huge mystery, which left me guessing and questioning right until the very end. Characterization was a bit weak, but still pretty good. Scarlett is really the only character that is fully explored, while the Caraval players, her sister and father are a bit more 2 dimensional. And quite a few characters were able to cheat death – they literally came back to life at the end of the game. I feel like that lessened the emotional impact and really was my only issue with the book. But it’s a testament to Garber’s story telling skills that it really didn’t bother me that much overall. Fair warning – this book has a heck of a cliffhanger, and is the start of a series. But it’s an extremely good story to kick it off. In this case, the hype is definitely warranted.
Date published: 2017-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Oh my god. Oh my god. Those were the words that came from mouth after I read this book. It will lift you away into an enchanting world, it was an emotional rollercoaster towards the end and it kept you on your toes. It's beautifully written and a must read, I 100% recommend that you read this book. But remember, its only a game...
Date published: 2017-04-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it Been waiting for this book, finally got it and was not disappointed
Date published: 2017-04-01
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Alright In one word: twisty. Overly hyped but not bad. Comparisons to the Night Circus don't do it much of a favor in my opinion, because the only thing the two have in common is the circus (and even the circus in the each is very different). The problem with the twists however, is that they feel overdone, as if the author tried too hard to be shocking and one of them cheapened the story for me. Otherwise a fun read.
Date published: 2017-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVVVVEEE I bought this book a while ago, and can I just say this is hands down one of my favorite books. When I started reading there was no going back I literally could not but this book down, it always kept me on my toes. I wanna see this as a film without any cut scenes. This book is sooo descriptive (not in the R-rated way) I could literally imagine it all happening. In the book when her dress changes I see the whole hunger games scene in my head it's just spectacular. The characters in this book are quite loveable - especially JULIAN - and the whole idea of the game being revolved around the bond of two sisters is really sweet. the ending had an epilogue so I don't think there will be a sequel but the epilogue did leave a cliffhanger so I hope there's like a mini spinoff book explaining what happened. overall I would totally recommend this book to someone who is seeking a fun suspenseful adventure. :))
Date published: 2017-03-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining I tiptoed into this book, not knowing if I would love it or hate it based on other reviews I've seen. I know this book has been compared to The Night Circus, but I did not like that book, so I was hoping it would be nothing like it. It wasn't. Admittedly, Caraval has some issues. The characters were pretty one-dimensional, not all of them were likeable, the main character was fairly naive and innocent, the story leaned pretty heavily on multiple trops, and there was an overall feeling of mistrust throughout the entire story so that you really didn't want to invest your feelings into any one character. The bottom line, though, is that it was totally captivating and compelling, mysterious and interesting. I really enjoyed it and I think, based on the ending, that Book 2 will be even better. I look forward to reading it.
Date published: 2017-03-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from *heart eyes* this was a really good plot-twisty book. there's also romance that is involved and this book just has a twist of my favourite things. it's also really well written so that makes me love it even more.
Date published: 2017-03-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVE IT! I couldn't it down! It was very well written, and very well thought out! I didn't feel like there were any fillers, every part of the story had a significant meaning! Already recommended it to a couple of people
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Decent, Quick Read Caraval definitely wasn't the best book I've ever read, but it's not too complicated and easy to breeze through in an afternoon. Wraps up nicely, but in my opinion, it doesn't live up to the hype.
Date published: 2017-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from Giselle at Book Nerd Canada There is something about Garber's writing that will make readers sit up and take notice. It draws you in and keeps you immersed in the world she created... and what a magical world it was! I pretty much fell for the writing. So easy to read and digest that you won't be confused at all. The only confusion readers will have is what the Game is really about! For me, I had the most fun trying NOT to decipher every single little sentence or action.. Instead, I sat back down and just let the story unfold and it did just that. The book reads more like a magic story complete with a twisty and turny plot. Add in a sisterly bond that could withstand anything you can throw at it, and you'll have this story. I love the world and how Garber executed it. Got reminded of Alice in the Wonderland in the beginning, so I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be a retelling. The Game really does sound like a challenge to play, but it also sounds super dangerous. I love the random side characters that popped up and either helped or deterred our main character in some where way. Was not a fan of the romance, because I found it too be too quick and cheesy at times. I didn't really find their chemistry to be genuine, but I think that's just me since so many others loved it. The sisterly bond that was mentioned in the blurb wasn't as strong as I thought it would be. Gather one and all and experience the magical game of Caraval where every challenge will test your wit and your courage. You'll gobble this one up, I assure you. I still have the lovely setting in my mind where everything feels like a dream. RATING 4/5
Date published: 2017-03-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Surprisingly good I was surprised by this book. I really enjoyed it and read it very quickly. It could have had more depth but still enjoyable.
Date published: 2017-03-19
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not Feeling It I have to agree fully with previous reviewer JuliaK. I really, really wanted to like this book but I just couldn't get into it. It had a very strong sounding premise and many people compared it to the Night Circus, which I LOVED (to this day, I wish that circus existed!) I can see how the comparisons arise, with the illusions of a magical world but Caraval in no way comes even close to being as good as Night Circus. All I can say is just meh. I wasn't able to relate to the main character. To be honest, I found her to be annoying and naive and somewhat whiny. The book had a lot of potential...the idea was there, the vision is there, but it just couldn't come together as a story for me. I know I'm very much in the minority but despite the beautiful cover, I just can't bring myself to recommend this one and I"m sorry for that.
Date published: 2017-03-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from BEST BOOK OF 2017 I have read over 20 books this year, and this one is by far my favourite. If you are even considering reading this book - DO IT! You will not regret it!!!
Date published: 2017-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magical The story is amazing and beautifully written, the characters are so believable and the way the setting is described, it almost feels real, definitely worth the read, and remember, it's only a game ;)
Date published: 2017-03-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Magical and Intriguing !!! This book was full of magic, romance, and suspense. What more could you want???
Date published: 2017-03-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting, but didn't live up to the hype - 3.5 Stars I enjoyed the writing but felt as if there wasn't enough background to establish the world. I found it to be slightly confusing at times and the plot had definite potential, but I don't think it lives up to the hype it gets. I will still continue with the next book, but I don't think it's as good as people make it out to be.
Date published: 2017-03-02
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Beautiful, with okay plot It's still worth a read because of its uniqueness
Date published: 2017-02-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from so good! An atmospheric, imaginative treat! Beautifully written and immersive, this book draws you in and won't let you go!
Date published: 2017-02-21
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Beautiful cover, captivating tagline, ultimate letdown. Warning: I was really really disappointed with this book so this spoiler free review will be long and passionate (and unedited!!!). I had really high hopes for this book to take me on a magical journey of wonder and surprises right from the map on the first page. But surprise!, it serves zero purpose whatsoever and was probably just included to conform to the other YA fantasy novels with maps. The entire time I was reading Caraval, I had to actively remind myself not to compare it to The Night Circus, a book that left me feeling so many things. But author Stephanie Garber certainly tries to emulate Morgenstern’s elements of danger and magic so extensively that I could not help but do so. The beautiful slow burning world-building of The Night Circus (a general fiction rather than YA book) was just missing in this novel. It felt like more of a fanfiction to TNC than I would have hoped. Unfortunately, for me, Caraval did not live up to the hype that so many others have given it. Maybe it was the too unimaginative and overdone YA-love story elements that left it predictable and manufactured (seriously, so many phrases and unnecessary metaphors were repeated far too many times in the avoidable 400+ pages of this novel) for my taste. Two dimensional characters, predictable clichés, the author’s love of the “synonyms” button, a whole bunch of nothing –then all this information dumping at the end. Nothing really surprised me. Nothing really amazed me. It just simply happened and passed like a bait and switch with all the plot twists. BUT I can see how it resonated with many others and I feel like it would make a REALLY good movie if done properly! While it took FAR too long for me to get into it, the very end letter did capture me in and I’m willing to give the second book in the upcoming series a try if I can get my hand on a library copy or borrow it. I can’t see myself purchasing it. Although I can probably guess what will happen in that one too. I did like the sisterly bonding theme in addition to just a love story though! That changed my 1-1.5 star review into a generous 2. Even though I was not a fan of this book, Stephanie Garber undoubtably has great storytelling skills and a wicked imagination. I predict that this won’t be her last YA-fantasy novel/series and I hope not since everyone else seemed to have the highest of praises for this book. Maybe I just wasn’t the right audience for it.
Date published: 2017-02-20
Rated 3 out of 5 by from i likehow simple but interesting the title is its like the saying goes about judging a book by its cover
Date published: 2017-02-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great So happy I read this book!
Date published: 2017-02-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Debut Novel Caraval is Stephanie Garber’s break-out novel, released on January 31, 2016, and it is a fabulous one, rich with detail and intrigue. Described as spell-binding, enchangting and decadent, Caraval certainly doesn’t disappoint. As far as debut novels go, Caraval is as strong as they come; Stephanie Garber crafted a magnificent, magical piece here. Stephanie Garber presents readers with a sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.Right from the get-go, readers will be hooked by Scarlett and Tella, and by the intrigue of the mysterious Caraval, and Master Legend, its fabled ruler. Scarlett and Tella are headstrong and spirited, but cowed by their father’s chronic abuse. Afraid to act out for fear their father will hurt Tella, Scarlett is prepared to turn down her long awaited invitation to Caraval to keep her sister safe, and secure her marriage. But Tella, and her strapping suitor, Julian, have other plans, and they quickly whisk her off, successfully escaping her father’s wrath and her impending nuptials. But once they arrive at Caraval, Tella vanishes, leaving Scarlett, with Julian’s help, to seek her out. Caraval isn’t all that it seems, though, and neither is Julian, leaving Scarlett reeling as she desperately seeks answers, thwarting those who would stop her, and dodging danger, seemingly at every turn. That being said, it is evident that the plot of Caraval was fast-paced, engaging, and winding. The breakneck pace of Caraval was highly engaging, and drew the reader in nearly immediately. Garber resisted info-dumping, which can be a double-edged sword – while she ensured her reader’s were engaged, she did leave a bit to be desired when it come to setting descriptions and character background (though she slowly filled in the gaps throughout the novel, as needed). In addition, the winding, whimsical nature of the story was fascinating, albeit a bit confusing at times. This can be in part attributed to Garder’s minimalist descriptions, and in part attributed to the completely unexplained and seemingly undefined magic system within Caraval. However, while sometimes frustrating, this added an additional element of mystique to Caraval, and I have the feeling that this particular omission was entirely intentional. Scarlett and Julian were arguably the main characters in this tale, with Tella absent for the vast majority of the adventure. The two are both hard-headed and passionate, and spend much of their time pushing against one another, which just lands Scarlett in increasingly more trouble. Scarlett, for her part, is inquisitive, but can be frustratingly hard-headed and naive, which will leave the reader banging their head off the book more than once. Julia is mysterious, but frustratingly so, and the two of them quickly become infuriating. However, their cat and mouse game, leading towards a proper romance that will leave readers wanting more.The mystery of Julian’s background was perhaps my favourite part of Caraval. Fromt he get-go, the reader knows there’s more to the roguish sailor than meets the eye. Is he Legend? Just another player with a vendetta? Scarlett’s mysterious fiance? Garber does a fantastic job playing all the angles, leaving the reader constantly second guessing just who they think Julian is – and every time you think you’ve got it figured out, Garber drops another twist leaving you doubting your own presumptions. Finally, Caraval hits on a pretty hard topic, even though it is not the central focus of the plot. Abuse, or more specifically, abuse of one’s child, is always at the forefront or in the periphery of the tale, influencing everything Scarlett and, ultimately, Tella do. From the beginning, it is revealed that their father is cruel, punishing the girls by beating the one sister while the one who misbehaved is forced to watch. He has killed before to punish them, and he is not above death threats, especially when it comes to keeping Scarlett in line. The girls are cowed by his abuse, and dream of an escape they have long since given up attempting. Once at Caraval, Scarlett is haunted by her fear of her father, and his rage should he hunt them down and punish them for their escape. Scarlett displays symptoms one might expect of a victim of abuse – shying away from others when angry, and irrational fears of her abuser during times of safety. Personally, I felt that Garber did a good job tackling this topic, which can be hard to talk about, never mind infuse into an already complex story. In conclusion, Caraval is an exceptionally strong first novel from a new author, and I was very excited that it will not be the end of the line for these characters or this particular story. Garber’s writing style and the quality of the story made Caraval hard to put down, and definitely left me wanting more! (4.5/5)
Date published: 2017-02-16
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Overhyped. My good friend Jamie decided to be wonderful and host an ARC tour, so a select few bloggers who weren’t lucky enough to receive an ARC of Caraval could get the chance to read and review it before passing it on to the next lucky reader. I will state that I was very excited for this novel, I was dying to read it because it sounded right up my alley and everything I could hope for. Unfortunately, this book didn’t grab me the way I was hoping for, but because it was such an anticipated release, I forced myself to finish it. I enjoyed this book, but as I said, it didn’t grab me until around 50%. I was interested in the story and wanted to know how it ended, but I didn’t feel that pull to constantly keep reading. Once things started to happen around 50%, I started to enjoy the story line. It still felt a bit slow to me but at least something was happening. I did enjoy Julian’s character though Scarlett did irritate me a bit. Sadly, I found this novel very slow and I wouldn’t have been bothered if I didn’t finish. I really wanted to like this novel but it just didn’t have enough to keep me interested. If you like stories with adventure and a bit of mystery, you could always try Caraval and I hope for your sake it grabs you more then it grabbed me.
Date published: 2017-02-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 4.5 Stars for me! Oh where to begin with this book?? It was wonderfully whimsical! After a countdown to the release date I am left amazed and wanting more! It was one of the best stories I've ever read. It reminded me a lot of The Night Circus but was way better at keeping my attention throughout the whole story. A great read and I cannot wait for the next one!!! There were a few things that could have been written better but it didn't take away from the story for me at all! Loved it.
Date published: 2017-02-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Didn't Live Up to the Expecatations The biggest thing I loved about Caraval was how magical it was. It wasn’t that magic was used so directly but that everything that happened had a little bit of magic in it. The outfits our characters wore were magical, the places they saw were magical, and even some of the other characters they met were full of magic. The magical aspects are what really held this book together for me because otherwise, I don’t think I would have finished. “Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.” Caraval was not a bad book, I just found that I was interested in knowing what would happen without being attached to anyone or anything. I think one thing readers should know before starting this book is that it’s more of a romance than it is a fantasy book. I was desperately hoping for more fantasy elements to pick me up and blow me away but that didn’t happen. It’s also very much a young adult book. Some YA books can be written for older teens but this one felt a little too young for me sometimes. I think my biggest issue with Caraval was the main character, Scarlett. I couldn’t connect with her at all. She took everything too seriously and overthought everything which started to drive me crazy about half way through. It’s hard to enjoy reading a book when you don’t feel anything for the characters. From the way the summary of the book is written, it makes it seem like this is a book about two sisters, one of which needs to be found. While that’s exactly what happened I didn’t feel the connection of these two sisters like I was expecting. Scarlett kind of floated between finding her sister and falling in love but feeling guilty about it. Her character was all over the place and I couldn’t keep it all straight. Speaking of being confused, the whole concept of the clues in Caraval threw me off. Scarlett was given a list of clues to find her sister but when she checked them off they didn’t make any sense to me. I figured the clues would be something like locating a place or a person and they were but in a completely roundabout way that didn’t actually make any sense to the clue in the first place. It honestly gave me a headache trying to figure them out. I think the author was trying to be vague on purpose which can work in some books but not this one. I had a hard time imagining the characters and places because the details we were given weren’t the right ones. There would be a paragraph explaining in detail what dress Scarlett was wearing but only a sentence about the place we were at. With all these magical places and people written into the story, I was expecting a lot more description and way less of the irrelevant narrative. Needless to say, I’m disappointed with this one.
Date published: 2017-02-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very Enjoyable! Caraval is the kind of book that has an abundance of amazing, gushing reviews about how glorious the writing is and how magical the story itself is, and how brilliant the characters and their development are. All the hype definitely intrigued me, as if the synopsis wasn't enough, and I was scared of being disappointed going in. I found very quickly that I agreed with the gushing reviews though, and proceeded to immerse myself in the spectacular journey Scarlett finds herself embarking, which I very much enjoyed! All the trickery and deceit, magic and twists and surprises no one sees coming, really entwine together perfectly to give us this magical, thrilling, and mind-twisting tale full of intriguing characters and situations. Definitely going to be buying the hardcover because the ebook isn't enough!
Date published: 2017-02-05
Rated 1 out of 5 by from A For the Lover of Books Review Number of pages: 407 Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1 Rating (out of five stars): 1 I think this is the only book I will give a chance before it has been reviewed by people who I share similar opinions with. I’m sick of going into books with rave reviews and hating them with every fiber of my being (though it does make for a nice review). If you don’t want to endure the usual ranting, I hated Caraval. You might like it, but my job here is to give my honest opinion (which I would always do anyway). If you would prefer a scale of how much I hate this book, I am three sentences into this review, and my blood is already boiling. Let’s start with the writing. I have seen Caraval compared to The Star-Touched Queen, a book where I loved everything except the main character, but they are nothing alike. The writing in The Star-Touched Queen is beautiful and lyrical, while the writing in Caraval is severely lacking. Much like Caraval itself, the writing has moments of beauty, then it seems to forget what it was doing entirely, revealing the unoriginal simplicity beneath. Next we have the characters, and man are they annoying. Here’s a secret, if you have to keep explicitly stating you’re true desire, and people with weird truth magic tell you said desire is not you’re true desire, chances are it’s not you’re true desire. It is not the poor reader’s fault you’re insta-romance that you keep trying to deny exists, yet could not be more obvious if it announced itself, is taking up too much of you’re already pitifully small head space. Scarlett and Donatella are supposed to love each other with all of their hearts, yet Scarlett does not do a single thing to convince me that she truly loves her sister more than herself and her new love interest. Everything she supposedly does to save her sister feels emotionless and fake. If you truly want to find your sister, your thought process should not go from “I have to hurry and find my sister” to “but look at this random guy I just met’s muscles” a second later. If someone knows what I have to do to find the plot of this 400 page novel, could you please tell me, because I’m at a loss. I swear 50% of this novel is Scarlett talking about Julian, 40% of it is random filler/fluff, and 10% is stuff actually getting done. That means this book probably should have been a novella, not an insanely boring novel that I had to skim read the majority of to even finish. There’s also this strange and mostly useless plot device where Scarlet sees emotions as colours occasionally. It is never explained, and useful roughly one time. Why introduce something you will never explain or use? I know that Synesthesia is a condition where you see colours as emotions, but it seems like something strange to add to randomly disrupt the plot/ add in strange metaphors. Overall, I hated Caraval with a passion, earning it 1 star out of 5.
Date published: 2017-02-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Did not Expect Something So Good From a Standalone Novel This book definitely brought me on an adventure. It's beautifully written, and it kept me guessing throughout most of the book. I was so hooked - I finished it in basically one sitting. If you liked books like The Night Circus, Six of Crows, The Winner's Curse, then this is a must-read! This book is a fantasy novel, and I really liked it considering fantasy books are hard to please me since I'm so into sci-fi novels. You will not regret reading this!!
Date published: 2017-02-04
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Was surprised by how much I liked this since I normally read horrors or psychologically thrillers.
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Definitley Worth Reading!!!! I loved this book! Stephanie Garber has definitely out done her self with Caraval. The story was fantastic with so much detail and the characters were amazing. In this story we follow the main character Scarlet, she's selfless, kind and willing to do anything to rescue Donatella after she's kidnapped upon her arrival at Caraval. Julian is mysterious and full of secrets, but everything about he's character sucks you in and makes you want to trust him. The setting is beautiful and described so well you feel like your actually there. The plot is so unpredictable leaving you so surprised with all it's twists and turns, you could never predict how it was going to end. I would definitely recommend this as a must read, it's definitely become one of my new favourites. It was wonderfully magical and anyone who's looking for something to read should pick this up. :)
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from My New Favourite Book--A MUST READ!!! I've been hearing nothing but hype about this book and the premise is of course intriguing. So I decided to see what the fuss was about. And it has become one of my favourite books ever. Absolutely mesmerizing from awesome start to spectacular finish. I couldn't get enough. I actually lost sleep because one of the major twists at the end kept prodding my brain. The world building was vivid and absolutely beautiful. I truly felt like I was transported to a magical place given how everything was described. The "clues" were substantial and led main character Scarlett on an unforgettable adventure. She's a stellar hero, brave and selfless and tentative about his new experience. Julian is worth melting for––a heartthrob I just couldn't get enough of, and whose secrets had me biting my nails. The twist at the end literally left me stunned. I couldn't believe it. I'm still actually trying to process it. As a whole, the story was elegantly written by an author who I get the feeling will soon find her career exploding into motion. This is a must have for 2017. Do not miss out!
Date published: 2017-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Such a great book! One of my favourites.
Date published: 2017-02-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magical, Mysterious and Mesmerizing Caraval is every bit as magical as the title, the cover, the synopsis and even the hype suggests. Whilst I had some problems with it, there's no denying it's a beautiful magnetic story that will capture the hearts of dreamers. The mechanics of Caraval are a little hard to grasp but the magic and mayhem within is excellent. The allure is in how wrapped up you will be once you start reading. What's real? What's not? Ms. Garber expertly keeps you guessing. I had moments of confusions but I feel those just infuses how otherworldly the story really is. Throw logic away because it won't do you any good inside this book. At the heart of the story Caraval is about two sisters who go above and beyond for each other. In the face of their father's cruelty they had each other. From Scarlett's love and desperation to protect Tella to Tella's unwavering faith in Scarlett we can easily tell they're each other's everything. At the beginning of the story I was annoyed with Tella. Her actions and attitude didn't help the situation they were in and then she vanishes leaving her sister all alone inside the strangest but most alluring place. Not good. However as I kept reading, I realized the danger and deceit Scarlett weathered made her braver and more decisive. It made her strong. I can't say much without giving away spoilers but every thing that happens inside Caraval is more than what meets the eye. I had some concerns regarding the romance so I was really glad to see Ms. Garber addressing the (possible) issue before the relationship took off. I hardcore rooted for the two characters. Theirs is a slow burn, hesitant love full of sweetness and care. A delicate relationship waiting to bloom. I had a nagging suspicion with the identity of Scarlett's love interest because really, no one in Caraval is who they appear to be. I've never been happier to be proven wrong ;) As parallel to the rest of the story, the ending is a magical one. It takes a bit of thinking to work out but it's a really lovely albeit risky twist. That sort of love is infinite. There are still untold secrets and knowing we'll be getting more leaves me feeling content (for now). Caraval is a story that will sweep you off your feet. The gorgeous writing with the mysterious characters and the atmospheric setting will make you dream. Whether you're a bystander or a player you definitely want to be a part of this world. I can't wait to enter it again and be thoroughly enchanted.
Date published: 2017-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved the first 90%! This is going to sound like a negative review even though I rated it 4 stars because while I absolutely loved the first 90%, the last 10% of it changed my rating from a 5 star to a 4 star. The ending was SO disappointing considering how much I loved the first 90% of the novel. And on top of how this story concluded, I’m not sure I like how it was left open to continue. But like the first 90%? SO good. The characters, the setting, the magic, and literally everything else was so good. I liked seeing how Scarlett grew throughout the novel from fearing her father and his punishments to understanding that she was magic. I thought that Scarlett was a great character to narrate this one because she wholeheartedly believed in the magic of Caraval to begin with and seeing her amazement and wonderment as we traveled through and solved the different clues was almost as much fun as trying to figure out what was happening. I liked the setting as well. I thought everything was beautifully described and so vivid in my mind. I could easily picture everything that was used in this novel and if I could control what I dreamt about, I could probably place myself in the world of Caraval. It was the right mix of real world and fantastical so that the reader could ground themselves in reality while expanding upon their imagination to create the rest. Now for the ending. *sighs* Not only was it confusing af but it was the biggest deus ex machina I’ve ever read in my entire life. For those of you who are unaware of the meaning/trope in literature, deus ex machina is when some new event, character, ability, or object solves a seemingly unsolvable problem in a sudden, unexpected way. And man, I don’t want to give it away but it was ridiculous how easily everything was solved at the end considering how much tension there was. The fact that View Spoiler ». I was just super not impressed with the ending, especially after how much I enjoyed the first 90% of the novel. Am I still going to get my pre-order? Yes. Am I still going to read the next novel? Yes. Am I happy with how this ended? No. I would recommend checking this out from the library. But if you pre-ordered it, I would keep that receipt close just in case.
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Magical & Enchanting YA Debut Welcome, welcome to Caraval... and a world of dazzling magic and dark illusions in Stephanie Garber's much-anticipated YA debut. Because in this mesmerizing fantasy, magic is blended so seamlessly with reality, and an elaborate show is about to begin. Hidden in the shadows, Master Legend has already moved his talented troupe of players into place. And a girl who has forgotten how to live and dream will sacrifice everything for her beloved sister. Over the years, Scarlett has given up hope that she'll ever see Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience becomes participants. Her grandmother's stories of Caraval and its infamous leader, Master Legend, always captivated her and her sister, Tella, as children, but those days of dreaming are over, crushed by their cruel and abusive father. Now, all Scarlett wants is safety, to escape the tiny Isle of Trisda and place her hopes in an arranged marriage. But much to her surprise, at long last, Scarlett finally receives an invitation to this year's Caraval, sent by Legend himself... and only days before her wedding. Defying their father, Scarlett and Tella arrive at Legend's private island with the help of a mysterious sailor, only to discover they have a very important role to play in this year's Caraval. Tella is suddenly kidnapped, and Scarlett only has five days to unravel the clues and find her before the other competitors in the game. Nothing is what it seems at Caraval. Because even though Scarlett has been told everything is a performance, that the players are simply playing a part, it's getting harder to distinguish what is real and what is not. Who can she possibly trust? Years of suffering abuse from her father's hands has taught Scarlett to be cautious and wary, to not take chances and play it safe. But with the beguiling wonder of Caraval staring right in Scarlett's face, it's time for her to take a leap of faith. To believe in the power of wishes and magic again like she did as a kid. Stephanie Garber's Caraval will instantly cast a spell on you with its thrills and delights, passion and deadly intrigue, and an unforgettable conclusion that will leave you gasping in shock. This book was absolutely addictive, constantly leaving me on edge because I could never guess what would be revealed on the next page. There were so many surprises and twists and turns, and sometimes the tone could be whimsical and light, and sometimes it got really intense and grim. I loved Caraval all the more for its unpredictability! And now I can't wait to find out what Stephanie Garber has in store for us next.
Date published: 2017-01-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Review from Giselle at Book Nerd Canada There is something about Garber's writing that will make readers sit up and take notice. It draws you in and keeps you immersed in the world she created... and what a magical world it was! I pretty much fell for the writing. So easy to read and digest that you won't be confused at all. The only confusion readers will have is what the Game is really about! For me, I had the most fun trying NOT to decipher every single little sentence or action.. Instead, I sat back down and just let the story unfold and it did just that. The book reads more like a magic story complete with a twisty and turny plot. Add in a sisterly bond that could withstand anything you can throw at it, and you'll have this story. I love the world and how Garber executed it. Got reminded of "Alice in the Wonderland" in the beginning, so I wasn't sure if it was supposed to be a retelling. The Game really does sound like a challenge to play, but it also sounds super dangerous. The creativity of the locations and settings were truly enchanting to read about. I love the random side characters that popped up and either helped or deterred our main character in some where way. Was not a fan of the romance, because I found it too be too quick and cheesy at times. I didn't really find their chemistry to be genuine, but I think that's just me since so many others loved it. The sisterly bond that was mentioned in the blurb wasn't as strong as I thought it would be. Gather one and all and experience the magical game of "Caraval" where every challenge will test your wit and your courage. You'll gobble this one up, I assure you. I still have the lovely setting stuck in my mind where everything in it still feels like a dream.
Date published: 2017-01-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review from This is the Story of My(Reading) Life I'm pretty sure anyone who reads YA has had Caraval on their radar since it's synopsis was released at some point last year. Was it the comparison to The Night Circus that caught your attention? For me, well I read and liked The Night Circus it was more that word Circus that seems to get me every time. Anything that says it's going to offer me a unique circus setting and I'm instantly sold. Scarlett has dreamed about Caraval her whole life. She spent much of her childhood being told the tales of the magic of Caraval and writing to Legend, the master of the games. Never hearing anything back doesn't detour her until her mother goes missing and her father turns into a cruel monster. Now Scarlett is set survival and protecting her sister. Fast forward to present day where Scarlett is engaged to a man she's never met but dreams that he's going to save her and her sister from the confines of their father. Until an invitation for Caraval arrives and spirals her into different directions. Scarlett is a naive girl that has spent too much of her life in fear and dreams. Her sister, Tella is literally her saving grace. Her need to protect her is pretty much the only thing keeping her alert. Scarlett is under the belief that someone will save them. This unknown fiance has been spun to greatness in Scarlett's head. Where Tella knows that they must save themselves. The sisterly bond is strong and is the driving force behind the story of Caraval. Things may spiral out of control and the realm of reality for Scarlett once she's competing in Caraval. But she never forgets that's doing this, competing, to save Tella. Caraval is a character all of its own. A vivid mix of The Night Circus and Wonderland spawns to create something uniquely its own. It's easy to call Caraval a circus, but it's not really. There's the magic of a circus on the surface. But truly Caraval is a game. There are performers and participants and like Scarlett, you never know who is who. Trust and reality are a fickle thing. It's easy to forget yourself, to go mad and get lost in the game. Which is what, I'm sure, the grand master Legend thrives on. Scarlett wants nothing more than to meet Legend. His tales and decent into evil are, ahem, legendary. But just like the mysterious game he created, Legend seems to one of myths only. Caraval and its magic are what kept me turning the page. Of course, there's a romance. I'm pretty sure that is a requirement of publishing a YA book. It's pretty clear from the get-go who Scarlett's romantic interest is going to be. Just maybe not who he truly is. We met Julian, a rugged sailor, "conversing" with Tella. From there he's annoying and saving Scarlett at every turn. It's one of those I don't want to like you but I'm finding myself attracted to you against my better judgment. Scarlett isn't stupid, enlisting Julian to help her, to help each other through the game is a need. Scarlett finds herself lusting after Julian a bit too much. But hey attraction, who knows when it's going to show up. Like 90% of the characters(including Caraval), Julian is full of lies, a past, and mystery and it's near impossible to tell what's real and what's just part of the game. And their lies Scarlett's biggest issues in falling for Julian. I guess my main grips with Caraval, the ones that kept me from loving it as much as I thought I would from the get go were the romance and the pacing. The romance I just wasn't interested in. I wasn't swooning or shipping. It added nothing to the plot for me. But the pacing, that's my main issue. The first half of the book was a page turner. I mean most chapters end on a small cliffhanger. But at some point, the story just lost speed. I just wanted the climax. The shock factor was wearing off and it was too easy to predict what was coming. And unfortunately, the ending was a little too neat. I thought Caraval was a game of chance and blurring the lines and well the conclusion failed there. Don't get me wrong, I'm super eager to see what the sequel will bring me. Garber has created a unique and vivid world in Caraval. Her writing and the tone of the story fits together perfectly with that world. The tale of two sisters escaping their small life and cruel abusive father into the legend of Caraval is an intriguing one. Reality is a gray area. Trust and lies go hand in hand. The players and performers of Caraval create a journey that spins your head in the most delicious way.
Date published: 2017-01-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Good YA Read It's all a game...So they say! I was given early review access to Caraval thanks to Flatiron Books and NetGalley and I have to admit I was really excited. It seems as if everyone is buzzing about this book and it's release January 31st. I jumped into it with gusto... And was disappointed. I know...I know! Crazy right? And, like any of my reviews, this is only my opinion so you may love this book like almost everyone else that's read it, but I just didn't fall in love with it (aside from LOVING the cover!). I think the first big warning sign for me was the main character. Scarlett...oh, Scarlett how I wanted to like you but I just couldn't get past your internal monologue. It's a fate many characters fall prey to, but she was overly innocent and repetitive at times to me. And then there was the writing. This was both a bonus and a downside for me. I think Stephanie is an incredible writer with a vibrant imagination that I really connected with...sometimes. It was an odd paradox for me because I felt as if there were times where the description was just stunning and others where the dialogue was just so young. I don't think I quite connected with the synaesthesia either. When I finally realized that's what was happening it made more sense, but it really caught me off guard when all of the sudden emotions and thoughts had "colors" associated with them. I did, however, enjoy the idea of the story. I liked the magical world, the confusing and compelling idea of the plot, and the romance, though a bit heavy at times, was well described and somewhat believable (I won't go into this too much for fear of spoilers). I think one of the problems for me was the fact that people were comparing Caraval to The Night Circus (one of my favorite reads of 2016) and I just didn't see it. Maybe in as far as there was a magical circus type idea...but nothing beyond that. I wanted sooo badly to all-out love this book but it just wasn't there for me. I definitely thought about 60-70% of the way through it it really started to pick up and that's when I really got interested, but that's much too long (in my opinion) for a book to leave me feeling lackadaisical about it. I do, however, want to read the second book because I must know what happens, but I don't think this is a series I'll own in hardback, just on Kindle. Which is sad because...that cover!!! *Sigh* _____________ I received this book for free but was under no obligation to post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Get ready for a spell-binding, dangerous, and treacherous game… Stephanie Garber’s Caraval is a feast for the senses for young adult readers. Its lush setting and engrossing plotline will ensure that readers devour every word. The writing is smooth and even, not heavy-handed and suits the story. The book tells the story of a sisterly bond that causes one sister to travel far from home in order to discover what became of her sibling. Scarlett lives with her sister Donatella and father on a very small island and has never had the chance to take part in any adventures. Since she was very young she has been hearing about this magical caraval (something that only happens once a year) where spectators can be a part of the performance. She has been writing to the magician (Legend) to plead with him to bring caraval to her small island. These letters have taken on a tone of urgency since her father has arranged a marriage for her and she believes she won’t ever have the chance to see the spectacle. Then, she receives her invitation. Unfortunately, the spectacle this year features the kidnapping of her sister and a race to see who can find her first. This was an engrossing story that had many twists and turns. I can’t give too much away because it would spoil the whole plot but I will say that in the world of Caraval, nothing is as it seems, and you can’t believe anyone’s motivations. Scarlett has to stretch her boundaries from everything she has known before – she has to be daring, imaginative, and fearless. She also must suffer some exhaustion from trying to figure out who is lying to her! Side note: I really enjoyed the excerpts of the letters throughout the book – they advanced the plot and gave some visual background. Safety notes: There is a side-plot involving a sailor (who is also not exactly what he seems) and he plays the part of a friend/confidante/love interest but the book is not sexually explicit or descriptive. There are some scenes of violence but in the end, I would enthusiastically recommend this book to anyone who enjoys magic and fantasy and likes to be kept on their toes. Disclaimer: I’m an Indigo employee and I was gifted with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Let Legend take You on an Adventure I knew just a few pages in that I was going to love this book. From the very beginning, right to the very end, I was engulfed in this fantasy world. As the story moves along and the world builds upon itself, it pulls you in more and more. Just when you think you’ve seen all that Caraval has to show you on the Isla de los Sueños, something else appears to make it feel even more magical. From a carousel made of roses, a bridge that leads in more directions than two, a man who tells your future with the tattoos on his body; The magic surrounding within this book was both beautiful and eerie. The very BEST part of this book is the amount of love. I don’t mean the type of relationship that most people think of automatically. I mean the immense amount of love between Tella and Scarlet. (I hope my daughters have the same amount of love for each other when they’re older.) All they have is each other in this world, and it shows. You do see a romantic relationship developing between two characters but most of the focus is on Scarlet’s crusade to get her sister back from Legend after she goes missing. THIS part of the book is magical in its own right. No matter what obstacle is placed in front of her, she jumps those hurdles and rushes forward towards her main goal. Saving the most important love in her life. Her sister. Tella and Scarlet are two very different girls. Tella is the one who is willing to do things that her sister won’t. She’s quite the rebel. She wants to leave the world she knows and find something better for herself. Scarlet wishes for the same thing but she feels that her arranged marriage will make things better; that she and her sister will no longer deal with the turmoils of living with an abusive man. The one man who should be protecting them. Their father. She want’s what’s best for not only herself but Tella so she is following the path that she feels is the safest. Speaking of Scarlet, let’s take a moment to touch on the hardest thing she did in this book. The one thing that brought tears to my eyes when I thought of how long she had been holding this in for. Confronting Governor Marcello Dragna. It’s not easy to confront a man who has beaten both you and your sister. Stephanie has such a way with words throughout the book and the way she conveyed Scarlet’s feelings made it radiate with powerful emotions. Legend and Julian are some of my favorite male characters this year. I had so many questions surrounding Julian, his past, and his intentions. In the beginning, I didn’t know who to trust when it came to people associating themselves with Scarlet. Honestly, I didn’t want ANYONE getting close to Scarlet. She had been through enough. A lot came to light as the book went along, and sometimes I got a bit of a bad taste for him. In the end, I ended up loving him and his amazing golden eyes. He is now one of my biggest crushes of this year. Legend is still a mystery to most of us, but he took us on one hell of an adventure. I want/need to know more about him. You do end up learning a bit of his history but not all of it. My hope is that in book two we will truly know more. He’s already one hell of a character. Imagine how much more marvelous he is going to be when we open his box of secrets. This book is in my top 3 favorite books I’ve read in 2016. It took me on an adventure I will remember for weeks to come. I just want to sing it’s praises to everyone who will listen. If you pre-order any book in the next few weeks, it NEEDS to be this one. You won’t be disappointed.
Date published: 2016-11-03

Editorial Reviews

New York Times BestsellerEntertainment Weekly Top 10 YA Novel of the Year#1 ABA IndieNext PickPublishers Weekly Flying StartCBC Teen Choice Book Award FinalistTeen Vogue Best YA Book of 2017BuzzFeed Best Book of the YearALA's Best Fiction for Young Adults List"The Hunger Games meets The Night Circus in this tale of two sisters enmeshed in a deadly game. Grade: A-" -Entertainment Weekly"There are elements of Neil Gaiman fantasy, Wizard of Oz, and Hunger Games killer competitiveness in Stephanie Garber's debut. But what's most impressive is how original her wondrous Caraval really is. Garber creates a world brimming with energy, mystery, surprises, backstabbing, and even some unforeseen romance." -USA Today"Spellbinding." -US Weekly"Caraval is The Night Circus Jr., with a dash of Alice in Wonderland and a sprinkle of Fantasy Island. If blood and madness, 'shameless curves and immoral promises' entice you, well, come to the cabaret." -The New York Times Book Review"A magnificent debut, and a spellbinding tale of love, loss, sacrifice, and hope." -Publishers Weekly, starred review"This twisty, terrifically fun page-turner is ideal for fans of Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus, Neil Gaiman's Stardust, and fantasy novels where relationships between sisters drive the plot, such as The Hunger Games. A must-have fantasy debut for high school collections." -School Library Journal"Caraval sweeps you into a treacherous and romantic world that takes center stage in this story of two sisters and their longing for more." -Justine"A spellbinding tale of sisterhood, love and betrayal. I lost myself in this dangerous, enchanting world-and never wanted to come out." -Sabaa Tahir, #1 New York Times bestselling author of An Ember In the Ashes and A Torch in the Night"Enchanting and mysterious, Stephanie Garber's Caraval is a story rich with sumptuous detail, beautifully written." -Renée Ahdieh, #1 New York Times bestselling author of The Wrath and the Dawn"Caraval shimmers with magic. This is an inventive, delightful tale with several aces up its sleeve." -Marie Rutkoski, New York Times bestselling author of the Winner's Trilogy"In a book where nothing is at it appears, one thing is certain: Caraval is the darkly enchanting adventure you've been looking for!" -Kiersten White, New York Times bestselling author of And I Darken and Paranormalcy"A decadent and enchanting tale. Caraval will sink its teeth into you, and you will not want to leave." -Roshani Chokshi, New York Times bestselling author of The Star-Touched Queen"A tale of sisterly devotion painted in colors of cerise and shimmering gold. If you ever wondered how it would feel to step into a living dream, here's your ticket." -Stacey Lee, critically acclaimed author of Outrun the Moon"Stephanie Garber doesn't just dazzle-she makes me believe." -Jodi Meadows, New York Times bestselling coauthor of My Lady Jane"Caraval delights the senses: beautiful and scary, described in luscious prose, this is a show readers will wish they could enter. A double love story, one sensual romance and the other sisterly loyalty, anchors the plot, but the real star here is Caraval and its secrets. Immersive and engaging . . . destined to capture imaginations." -Kirkus Reviews"Readers invested in the sisters's fates (not to mention the outcome of steamy will-they-or-won't-the? tension between Scarlett and Julian) will hang on tight and enjoy the ride. Garber's darkly beautiful and brutal magical world is the star here, full of luscious details that invite readers to linger." -The Horn Book"An enchanting mix of mystery, romance, and magic, this immerses readers in its gorgeous setting with lush prose. The setting is a captivating blend of beauty and danger . . . the chemistry between Scarlett and Julian is intoxicating. Readers will want a return ticket to this one." -Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books"Rich, vivid scene-setting and descriptions make for entertaining reading . . . a colorful, imaginative fantasy with some steamy romance for good measure." -ALA Booklist