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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-01-09 18:36
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Caraval - Stephanie G. Garber

Title:  Caraval

Author:  Stephanie Garber

Genre: Fantasy

Year Published: 2017

Number of Pages: 407 pages

Date Read: 10/11/2017

Series: Caraval #1

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Source:  Purchased

Content Rating:  Ages 15+ (Themes of Child Abuse and Deaths)

Trigger Warnings:  Child Abuse

 

Caraval

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.” 

2017 is the year of new releases that are full of books that contain adventure, romance, horror and excitement and I happened to stumble upon a new release for this year called “Caraval” by Stephanie Garber and I was seriously blown away by this book!

Scarlett Dragna has lived on a tiny island for most of her life, along with her little sister Donatella Dragna and her cruel and powerful father Governor Dragna. One day, Scarlett’s father has decided to arrange a marriage between Scarlett and a Lord that she does not know and even though Scarlett believes that this would be the only way to escape her miserable life on the island and her abusive father, Scarlett still thinks that something is missing from her life. It wasn’t until that very day that Scarlett meets a roguish and mysterious sailor named Julian who offered Scarlet the chance to visit the place of Scarlett’s deepest dreams: CARAVAL! Even though Scarlett was unsure about going to Caraval because she feared that her father will punish her severely for her disobedience, Scarlett decided to leave the island once she finds out that her sister Donatella had suddenly vanished from the island. So, Scarlett and Julian set out to the mysterious island of Caraval to find Donatella; but once Scarlet gets to Caraval, she will soon discover that her sister Donatella is a part of some sort of sadistic game where whoever finds Donatella will be able to receive a wish from the legendary magician Legend himself! So, Scarlett and Julian try to compete in the game in order to find Donatella before it is too late!

Wow! Stephanie Garber has truly woven a truly magical and intense story about the importance of sibling love while also exploring the importance of true love! Stephanie Garber has done a brilliant job at detailing the magical world of Caraval as the concept of this world is that everyone is doing a performance for the people and you have to decide what is real and what is not real in order to survive the game! I loved the fact that this book focuses on a carnival theme as it is rare for me to read a young adult book that involves carnivals and games as a major plot of the story. I loved the way that Stephanie Garber focused on the sisterly relationship between Scarlett and Donatella as it is also rare that I had read young adult books that focuses mostly on the relationship between siblings and I loved the fact that Scarlett truly does care about her sister Donatella and is willing to put her life on the line in order to protect Donatella from any kind of danger in the world of Caraval. But what I loved the most in this book was the relationship shared between Julian and Scarlett! When I went into this book, I actually thought that this book was just going to be about the sisterly relationship between Scarlett and Donatella and while that was a major part of the plot, it was Julian and Scarlett’s relationship with each other that really sold me! I loved the fact that Julian and Scarlett both brought out the positive aspects in each other, such as Julian bringing out the bravery in Scarlett that she has held back due to her father instilling fear in her and Scarlett bringing out a softer side to Julian who was introduced as being aloof and not caring about who he hurts to get what he wants until he met Scarlett. Even though their romantic bantering was downplayed in this book, it was still interesting seeing how different these two are from each other and yet, they become quite a compatible pair!

Caraval

For anyone who does not like some language in this book, there is some language in this book, although it is not as strong as some other young adult books. Also, this book deals with the subject of child abuse as both Scarlett and Donatella are beaten up by their father for various reasons and that might be uncomfortable for some readers to handle.

[***SPOILER WARNING!!!***

This is a bit of a small nitpick for me, but the fact that it turned out that Donatella put her own sister through the game and tricking her into thinking that she died to prove Scarlett’s love for her kind of rubbed me the wrong way. This made me see Donatella as being a bit manipulative towards Scarlett in making a deal with Legend without telling Scarlett and it made me question about whether or not Donatella actually cared about Scarlett’s feelings during the whole ordeal.

***SPOILER WARNING!!!*** (hide spoiler)]


Overall, “Caraval” is a wonderful book about the importance of sisterly love and anyone who loves reading books about siblings will surely enjoy this book! I will definitely be checking out the second book as soon as it is released!

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog

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review 2017-11-29 16:02
Caraval
Caraval - Stephanie G. Garber
“It is not fate, it is simply the future observing that which we crave most. Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

 

I don't remember the last time I read a book that I enjoyed as much as I enjoyed Caraval. I am such a fan of Garber's writing style. Her magical prose leaped off the pages and held me spellbound. I love the way Scarlet experiences life in various shades of color.
 
“Every touch created colors she had never seen. Colors as soft as velvet and as sharp as sparks that turned into stars.”
 
Two sisters have always wanted to see Caraval, a magical performance/game (by invitation only) where you have a chance to compete with others for a reward. The day finally arrives when Scarlet and Tella receive an invitation to Caraval and the reward for winning the game is one wish. Unfortunately, Scarlet's abusive father has arranged a marriage between her and a man she has never met and the marriage is due to take place shortly.
 
The two girls find themselves on the run, journeying with a mysterious stranger, to the island where Caraval takes place. When Tella disappears, Scarlet discovers that her sister is a part of the game and it is up to Scarlet to solve the clues and find her sister before time runs out.

“A second in Caraval seemed richer than an ordinary second, like that moment on the cusp of sunset, when all the colors of the sky coalesce into magic.”
 
 When things take a nasty turn, and secrets unfold, Scarlet no longer knows who to trust or what is real and what is part of the game.  This story kept me on my toes. I did not want to put the book down. There were so many twists and shocking moments!
 
Scarlet is an amazing sister. She goes through so much to try and save Tella. As much as I love my own sister, and I'd like to think I would do whatever it takes to save her, there's a chance I may have left her little butt behind on that island. "I'm supposed to do what!? Sorry sis, you're on your own. Send me a postcard if you ever escape." 
 
This story had everything, danger, mystery, romance, wonder, excitement.  Any book that challenges my imagination to soar will receive 5 stars from me. I cannot wait to read the next book in the series! There is so much more to learn and see. I will be counting down the days.
 
 
-Shey
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review 2017-10-01 20:32
Great magical world with dark undertones
Caraval - Stephanie G. Garber

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.

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review 2017-09-27 20:04
this is like a flowery, whimsical dream on a rollercoaster where you are blindfolded and constantly asking "where are we going?" and "are we there yet?"...in a good way
Caraval - Stephanie G. Garber

In a world where nothing is certain but your unwavering love for your sister and the undeniable fact that you're dad is an evil lump of rotted plum smelling $h!t, what will you do to escape? What will it take to save your sister in the process? What alliances will you forge and what sorted things will you allow in those pursuits?

 

This dreamy, beautifully whimsical, oft times overly colorful, action packed marvel will keep you guessing until the epilogue and long after. PLUS there are phenomenally developed characters and even a few swoon worthy ones (no Insta love ANYWHERE to be found). Who will you root for and who will you absolutely detest? Who can be trusted, can anyone be? I was team Julian all the way. Now I won't tell you if they get their Happily Ever After but I will tell you that the journey they did take together was perilous and full of surprises EVERY twisty turny chance it got. I listened to this one on audiobook which was not only an enjoyable way to share this with the hubby (who happened to love it as well) BUT was economical to boot because there were innumerable plot twists and untimely deaths that my ereader would have been thrown against the wall in protest...repeatedly. Now I don't want to spoil a single expertly crafted moment for you but I will say that I didn't want it to end and I'm SOOO freaking curious to know what happens next, what was promised and who exactly is Legend?!?!? I wish I could experience it again anew but alas, I cannot but you...you can so why are you still here? Go on now and enjoy every last morsel this book artfully dishes out! You'll (most likely) thank me later

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review 2017-03-17 02:49
Caraval (and the epic sigh of meh)
Caraval - Stephanie G. Garber

I'm not sure there is much worse to a book lover than waiting forever for a book to come out and then for it to fall flat. This book was just so....meh. Not bad, really. But definitely not what I was hoping. I wanted magic and romance and adventure. We got a heroine that was too stupid to live, a sister that was so horrid I wanted to set her on fire, and a love interest that I just had a hard time connecting with because the whole book gave me trust issues. The adventure was lacking and far too simple. The love was way too cliche and forced. The magic was hardly there at all. The whole Caraval show that the book hyped was never really shown. It was just in passing. I am so disappointed. I wanted all the magic of an Alice in Wonderland with the feel of a carnival. I just got a bit of a mess. At least it was an easy read. A blood-pressure-raising, maddening easy read.

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