Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Book: Caraval
Series: Caraval series book 1
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genres: YA, fantasy

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. – Quoted from Goodreads

My Rating: 4/5 STARS
My Review:
A lot of people have been talking about Caraval lately, it’s got a lot of hype surrounding it.  Before reading the book I’d read some mixed reviews of it and I’m glad I read those mixed reviews because it made me lower my expectations of it (which were pretty high to begin with because of the hype).  And because of that I enjoyed the book a lot more.

One of the things I liked about Caraval was how fast paced it was.  I liked how the author just threw us right into the story and into Caraval itself without feeling like we were missing something in the story.  Before I started the book I thought most of it would be the characters talking about Caraval itself without actually going there until near the end but I was really happy the author decided to just let us experience Caraval without the needless build up of explaining it.  I liked how almost all of the book took place in Caraval itself. 
I also liked how Caraval was described, it was very weird and twisted which made it exciting to read.  I was always trying to guess what was real or not along with the main character.  

What I disliked about this book was the characters.  I thought they were okay characters but they didn’t really stand out.  And I thought the main character, Scarlett, acted and thought in a very childlike way.  Not in an immature childish/ acting out kind of way but just in a way where it felt like she was a lot younger than she was.  Her thoughts and her way of thinking made her seem like she was around ten years old.  Like I said before, it wasn’t because she acted childish it was just that she had an almost childlike kind of quality to her personality that would’ve felt natural if this was a children’s book and not young adult. And because of this I found the romance in this story hard to connect with.  

I did like how the main theme of this book was about sisters and their love for each other but I felt Scarlett and Tella’s relationship with each other was missing some emotion.

Overall I think Caraval is a good read if you don’t go into it with high expectations.  I liked how Caraval itself was described and I liked how mysterious it was.  I was disappointed in the characters but the overall mystery of Caraval made up for it.

2 thoughts on “Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

  1. Nice review! I've been curious about this one, and about the game itself. Sorry to hear the characters fell flat, that's always a bummer, but at least the Caraval game itself redeemed the story. If I do read it I'll try to go in with my expectations in check. 🙂


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