Hello once more! This post will be a review of this year's release Caraval, by Stephanie Garber. It is a young adult, fantasy novel - the first in a series of books that are still to come. I listened to this book on Audiobook :)
"Remember, it’s only a game…
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away." (Goodreads)
I enjoyed this book :) It is a light read, full of magic and real adventure. The story is fast-paced and it has that hook that makes you want to know what in the world happened to Tella. Where is she, and why is she the one players have to find? I found the plot to be appealing, well-organised and well-built. I appreciated that, throughout the book, the are small details that enrich the story (by that, I mean characteristics or things that happen that are not necessarily essential for the story, but that make it more beautiful and complete, if that makes sense). Great books have them, and that's why this book started off very high on in my rating scale.
The writing was easy to read, and the world Stephanie Garber built was amazing. I was gratified by the careful descriptions of the different parts of the magical island, which were indeed very well-built. I loved the imagination she put into this book - so much magic! I loved the game Caraval, the way it worked and how different characters were strategically placed to help or deceive the participants. Also, there are a couple of plot-twists which did surprise me!
About the characters, there were some very interesting ones, like Julian - I loved how intriguing he was, and really liked his not-so-clear cuteness. There were a lot of secondary characters that caught my attention because they were so very genuine and full of magic. However, the main characters didn't quite get to me. I was loving Legend at the beginning - with his mysteriousness and all, but he got to a point where he was just too exaggeratedly dark that I kind of lost all connections with him. Also, although Tella was a firm representative of strong, independent women -which I appreciated, the thing with Scarlett was not that she thought herself responsible for her sister and wanted to get married to get away from their horrible father in a "legal" manner, but that she only thought about that. It was very frustrating to have to read the same thoughts over and over again - Scarlet had to save her sister (I honestly grew tired of reading "save my sister"). She is in the most magical, exciting game in the world -Caraval, which she had wanted to go to since forever, and she cannot even enjoy it because she has to save her sister. And, by the way, the only means to save her is actually playing. So if you have to play in order to find and save your sister, you might as well enjoy it, am I right? That was honestly very frustrating... Also, I would have liked to read more about Tella, but I believe Stephanie Garber plans to give her a greated role in the second book.
The audiobook edition was okay. I'd say the narrator, Rebecca Soler, made it sound like a middle-grade read rather than a YA -too thick of a vocalisation, and sometimes too exaggerated, which I didn't really like. I wouldn't pick this book as an audiobook if you can choose not to, although it is perfectly listenable if you don't mind it. I guess I grew tired of so much emotion together with the "Save my sister" moto 😂
Although Caraval started as a 4.5 for me, ultimately it dropped to a 3.5 towards the last part. I did enjoy it, but honestly the more I read, the more I wanted it to end...
Have you read Caraval? Leave me a comment so I can know how people liked it! Also, don't forget to participate in this giveaway - two copies of great YA, paranormal novel, The Hereafter by Jessica Bucher :)
If you'd like to try this audiobook or any other one for free, you can follow the link below and get two free audiobooks plus 30% off any other audiobook you may like - a month's Audible membership trial, all free of charge and you can cancel at any time! I'll get a small something is you use my link :)
If you liked this book, you might also like...
Follow WL! :D