A mesmerizing romance.
An unbreakable bond
between two sisters.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.
5 magic trick stars
“Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game.”
Stephanie Garber swept me off my feet with Caraval! It was tricks upon tricks upon illusions!
I finally jumped on the bandwagon and read Caraval, to my daughter’s utmost pleasure!
Is the hype deserved?
Absolutely! I am now reading Legendary because I am on a roll!
I don’t know what I could add to the countless reviews about that one but here I go with my two cents.
“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.”
First I adored the narrator! Rebecca Soler has a perky voice perfectly fitted for Tella and taking on more measured tone for Scarlett. I particularly adored her voice when she narrated little Tella and Scarlett. That brought the story to life!
Second, I was mesmerized and terrorized in equal part by Caraval.
Caraval sounds like Carnival and if it’s not one, the story conveys the show, illusion and wonder you can find in a carnival. The details about the isle, the castle, the merry go round were lush and vivid. Trading secrets or one day of your life for information or gowns made the magic feel real!
But the underground tunnel revealing the worst in people, the murders, the glamor fading to reveal ugliness were also terrorizing!
I thought this would just be a game. Just some magic tricks.
But I soon didn’t know what was real and what wasn’t. Were the characters really dead or was it a trick? Could you lose a day of your life?
“What happens beyond this gate may frighten or excite you, but don’t let any of it trick you. We will try to convince you it’s real, but all of it is a performance. A world built of make-believe. So while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away. Dreams that come true can be beautiful, but they can also turn into nightmares when people won’t wake up.”
What was certain was that Governor Dragna, Scarlett and Tella’s dad was an evil bully! I despised him so much!
Legend played a very convincing villain too and the jury is still out about him.
Third the sisterhood love and friendship was inspiring and heartwarming!
Scarlett was the voice of reason. The big sister wanting to protect her little sister Donatella or “Tella”. And she was ready to do anything to protect her. To make sure she was far from their bully of a father.
She loved Tella so much that she was ready to marry a stranger as he had promised to take care of her sister as well. And then, later on, when Tella was Caraval’s prize and her life was in danger, Scarlett went beyond everything to save her sister.
In Caraval, Scarlett had an amazing growth. I suspect Legendary will be Tella’s turn to grow. Scarlett became bolder. She finally understood that her father hurting her sister was not her fault but only her father’s. And she would never let that happen again!
“But Scarlett had already been broken. For years her father tore her down. Over and over, she had let him. She’d allowed him to make her feel worthless and powerless. But she was neither of those things. She was done allowing her fear to make her weaker, to eat away at the meat on her bones until she could do nothing but whimper and watch.”
Tella is the more daring one.
“Tella loved danger the same way candlewicks loved to burn. It never seemed to scare her that some of the things she lusted for might consume her like a flame.”
She also seems to have no care for the consequences of her action. She loves kissing boys, having a good time.
BUT her love for Scarlett runs just as deep as Scarlett’s.
I wish I had a sister and that we had such loving relationship.
Last but not least: the romance.
When you throw an alluring sailor in the story or other very handsome bad boy, you have attraction, covet looks and midnight kisses.
“He tasted like midnight and wind, and shades of rich brown and light blue. Colors that made her feel safe and guarded.”
Even if maybe all this is just a lie. Just part of the game. But I so wished for that romance to be true!
To sum it up: Stephanie Garber tricked me and enchanted me. I jumped into Legendary as soon as the word “end” was uttered!
Thanks for reading!
I’m so glad you enjoyed this one. I ended up loving the series overall but the first book was actually my least favorite of the three, mainly because Tella was my favorite character and she’s in the other two books so much more. You have me curious about the audiobooks now though so I might have to do a re-read via audio and see if I feel differently about Caraval.
I think the narrator played a huge role in me enjoying that book Tammy!
I read this as an ARC, but now you have me sold on the audiobook. I am glad you enjoyed this. It is one of my favorite series
It is an amazing series! I binge read all three books in less than one week!
I’m glad you loved this, I think most readers do love it. But I personally didn’t care for it, but I know that’s an unpopular opinion! I did love idea of the magical carnival, but I found parts of the story confusing.