Review: Caraval

Author:  Stephanie Garber
Publication Date: 31st January 2017



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.

mythoughtsThe hype for Caraval was unreal! There were a few weeks where I couldn’t go on twitter, instagram or wordpress without seeing the beautiful cover plastered everywhere (I’m not complaining) – and I can see exactly why this book was such a highly anticipated release for 2017!

I never thought being clueless and confused in a book could be so much fun, but that’s exactly how Caraval made me feel. There are twists and turns in every chapter, and mystery from the get-go to keep you on your toes and always one step behind, even if you feel like you’re a step ahead.

My favourite thing about Caraval was the world building. It was absolutely fantastic in my opinion – I had a perfectly vivid image of what everything looked like from chapter one, and for me that most definitely is the difference between a good and a great book! Stephanie Garber’s writing is mesmerising and colourful, I will definitely be picking up anything she writes from now on.

One small issue I have looking back now is with the romance. It didn’t bother me so much as I was reading it, but once you remember that Caraval is set over a time period of just five days, there is definitely an element of instalove there! I was more preoccupied with everything else going on with the story, but if I’d have picked up on those elements more whilst I was reading, I know this is something that would have really bothered me.

Aside from the instalove, the only reason this isn’t a 5 star book for me is that I thought the pacing was a bit off towards the end. It seemed too quick and sudden for all of the wonderful build-up and I can’t say much else without spoiling the book, but I was quite angry for Scarlett and I just didn’t find the ending that satisfying in that aspect. But who knows, maybe I’m a bit ahead of myself and that will be resolved in the next book! Either way, I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and am already anticipating the sequel!


Have you read Caraval yet? What did you think? 😄


15 thoughts on “Review: Caraval

  1. I don’t think I even thought about the fact that the book only played over five days! That is the most instalove-y a book could get! I think if I’d realized it, I would’ve enjoyed the book a bit less too, but I was just so swept up in what was happening that I didn’t pay attention to how quickly this love developed!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Shoto

    I recently finished this and loved it! But I agree, I also had some issues with the insta-love. Scar and Julian knew each other for about 2 seconds ._. But I LOVED ambiance of Caraval – and all the twists and turns and not knowing what’s real and what’s not. I’m excited for the next book!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I totally agree with you on the weird pacing at the end! There was all this build-up and then…everything’s resolved! Also, along with the insta-love I had a problem with the fact that the whole time, basically, we think that Julian actually had some kind of relationship with Tella. I really dislike siblings fighting over a romantic lead so that made me not like the romance so much either.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. demislibrarys

    I read it in one sitting the day after release and I absolutely loved it.
    I totally agree with your review and the instalove and the rushed page, but I will definitely be picking up any other books Garber writes!


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