A few days ago I read one of the best books I’ve ever read. It was so good I finished it in a day and a half (I read it so fast I’m having to reread). I have been ranting and raving and fangirling nonstop about Caraval for days and I’m sure my family and friends (cough *Em* cough😏) are probably utterly sick of it, but for those of you looking for a book to get obsessed with, here’s your chance.
my rating: 9/10 ❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀❀
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 (a.k.a. kidnaps) Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend (yes yes, so much kidnapping). 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. As it turns out, not all at Caraval is as it seems, and the lines blur between reality and magic.
Yes, I know you are signing into the library website right now to be the like the 60th in line to place a hold on Caraval 😉
I’ve been on a streak of good books recently, but Caraval is by far the best.
The only thing better than reading Caraval would be experiencing Caraval.
OH MY GOSH THE IMAGERY 😍 I don’t think I’ve ever read a book with as good of imagery as this. Jk, good doesn’t describe it. Amazing describes it. Caraval is like a magical version of Venice. It’s like I’m at Caraval with the characters. I’m a very visual reader and this was heaven. Garber’s descriptions make me want so badly to be there for a day and experience the magic and eat the food and buy the dresses. If you’ve read Caraval, you’ll know what I mean. It was just so enchanting, like the first time you read Harry Potter and you would die to be Hermione for a day.
Scarlett, first. She was kind of a neutral character for me. I couldn’t really connect to her and she was not the feministic type. She was kind of a downer and always relied on the guys around her. At the same time, she was plucky and very determined and turned out to be the unexpected heroine in the end. Tella would have been the much more obvious heroine since she was a lot more brave and reckless, but I like that the author made Scarlett the hero in the end.
At the same time, she drove me crazy.
Me throughout the whole story:
Me: SCARLETT! YOU’VE WANTED TO GO TO CARAVAL YOUR WHOLE LIFE AND NOW YOU’RE NOT EVEN ENJOYING YOURSELF, YOU’RE JUST FREAKING OUT OVER YOUR SISTER STOP IT
Me: Yes! EAT THE FOOD!
Me: NO SCARLETT, NOT THE POISONOUS FOOD
Me: Yes! Buy the dresses and the dreams in a bottle!
Me: Good job, Scarlett.
Me: JK WHAT NO HOW DID YOU LOSE TWO DAYS OF YOUR LIFE FROM BUYING THAT DRESS? UGHHHHH
Me: Explore! Have fun!
Me: NO don’t explore in the sketchy dark staircase
Me: NO WHY DID YOU DO THAT
Me: Stop pushing away the dude you’re in love with 😒
This was me throughout the entire 300-something pages of the book.
Julian: he was the perfect character at the beginning. Scarlett kept calling him a scoundrel, and he was sort of scoundrel-ish but he had a big heart. He followed through with his promises and was funny and helpful and a life-saver. . . literally. In the end, he kind of fell flat though since PLOT TWIST! HE’S NOT The JULIAN YOU THOUGHT HE WAS, HE’S A CARAVAL PERFORMER💔
there goes my favorite character 😒
Ughhhhh in the end it’s like you don’t know if half of what Julian did was actually him or just the role he had to play in the game. It made it sort of better for me when it turned out he was only supposed to take Scarlett to the show and ended up voluntarily staying with her longer, but really? You don’t know if how he acted and who he was was all lies. Ugh.
On the flip side, Tella seems pretty cool. She’s definitely the more obvious heroine since she was witty and sassy and strong even though she didn’t play as big of a role as Scarlett or Julian. I like her, though. She seems like a good character. I wish she played a bigger part in the story.
The ending (SPOILER ALERT):
Okay, so although I absolutely love the rest of the book, the ending sort of fell flat for me. I admit that it was probably just the Julian thing. That made me mad. I feel like the author was shooting for a happy fairytale ending, and yeah, Scarlett and Tella finally got freedom from their father, Tella encountered the real elusive Legend, and Scarlett and Julian got back together. It was hopeful, but I feel like a lot of Julian’s character was lost since the whole leadup to the climax was what defined him for me, and then by the climax, PLOT TWIST, it all goes down the drain when you figure out he’s an actor. I would have been so, so much happier with the ending if the author only kept Julian the same. I’m not saying the ending is bad, though. All of the other loose ends are mostly tied up. I’m not saying the ending was bad, because it’s not. It’s just not as gratifying as I wanted it to be, especially compared to how magical the rest of the book was.
Q & A
Did I like it? I LOVED it. Caraval is beautifully written, addictive, fast-paced, and exciting.
Did I love it? Yes, only the ending fell short for me.
Would I reread it? I’m in the rereading process 😉 it’s one of those books that is SO detailed so you have to read it twice to get the full effect
Caraval was such a magical book. Magical is such a perfect word to describe it. Everything about Caraval was magical. It’s a book that leaves you wanting more. I’m not sure if I’m going to be able to wait and wish for the sequel 😂 good job hanging in there while yours truly geeks out