Book Review: Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

Type: Series
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Where To Get It: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | Book Depository  
Click Here ➳ Goodreads
Summary:  Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . . 

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

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.


I had long anticipated this book ever since I heard of it and once I got my hands on it, I couldn't let go.

Caraval follows Scarlett who lives with her abusive father and her wild little sister on a small island. What really intrigued me about this book the mysterious Caraval which was a fascinating concept that I haven't read before. Like everyone in this world, Scarlett was also mesmerized by the stories that her grandmother had told her and her sister about this magical performance. When her sister was suddenly whisked away by the mysterious Legend, Scarlett does the unthinkable and participated in the show to find her sister.

Scarlett reminds me of the same generic female heroine that I see in a lot of books. She is isolated from the word, or she doesn't see much of it but is thrust into a situation which is totally out of her character to rescue the person she loves. She is the typical protagonist and I am not against it or anything, but I just find it hard to connect with her, that's all.

Nevertheless, I really enjoyed the book. I was able to finish it in a day so it didn't take a lot of effort to get engrossed in the story.  A lot of unexpected events happened which I didn't see happen until the end so that was one of the aspects I enjoyed about the book. To be fairly honest, the book didn't really reach my full expectation.I still really enjoyed it but it just wasn't as compelling as I thought it would be. There was a cliffhanger at the end of the book which made me want to check out the next installment. 

The romance. What can I say about it? At the beginning of the story, I thought that I got the OTP figured out by a few chapters in, I realized that it was heading towards a different direction that I am not against nor am I supporting it. At the end of the book, I am still not on board the direction the romance took. Hopefully, it does change for the better, because it is not doing it for me. 

All in all, I would definitely recommend this book for all those fantasy readers out there. This is a book definitely worth trying because I feel like it is something different from the other fantasy books that I have read so far. There are some questions left hanging that I really want answers to, like Scarlett's fiancé who is one of my favorite characters so far.

My Rating: