Friday, January 27, 2017

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval (Caraval #1)
By Stephanie Garber
Release Date: January 31, 2017
Source: ALA
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.

There is SO MUCH hype surrounding this book and it hasn't even come out yet. I have been meaning to read my ARC copy of this for months ever since I got it from ALA, but I didn't manage to read it until the month it was releasing. I was definitely excited to enter a magical world that promised me mystery and romance. 

Scarlett has lived a life of fear for herself and her younger sister and has dreamed of going to Caraval, the magical performance that her Aunt used to tell her stories about. Scarlett has written to the the man in charge of the performance for years and this year he has finally written back with tickets for Scarlett. With the help of a sailor, Scarlett and her sister are swept in to the game of Caraval and realize that it's harder to keep the game apart from reality and know what to truly believe or who they can truly trust. 

From the beginning, I was so frustrated with the secrets. Don't get me wrong, that's definitely not a bad thing and shows just how much mystery and intrigue this book brings to you. I wanted to know EVERYTHING right away and I didn't want to have to wait until the end to figure out all of the answers. This, though, kept me reading right until the last page where even more mysteries were brought to the surface. Scarlett had no idea what kind of game she had entered and we were right along there with her. Who were the good guys and who were the bad guys? Who was this mysterious master of Caraval and how was Scarlett going to win the game and save her sister? I didn't know what would happen with each turn of the page, which kept me on my toes and buried in this story. 

Me being me, I latched on to the romance that was hinted at the beginning of this book and gobbled it up as it progressed throughout this story. I loved that Scarlett was fiercely protective of her sister and there was that sister bond in this book, but I also loved how Scarlett found herself falling in love for the first time while her fiancĂ©, whom she has never met, was waiting for her at home. But who could resist the unnerving, handsome man Scarlett finds herself playing the game with? Scarlett tried to fight her feeling so hard, but sometimes you can't fight an attraction like that. 

Overall, this book definitely kept my attention and I could not put it down. While I didn't absolutely love this book like a lot of other people have, I still loved Scarlett's attempt at playing Caraval and uncovering the secrets of its game. You are kept in the dark throughout the novel and you have so many questions along the way only to have even more questions as you continue. This book was definitely a unique read with a magical world that will suck you right in.

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