By: Stephanie Garber
Overall Rating: ★★★★
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance…but is it? In order to save her sister she becomes tangled in the game – realizing magic, love, lies, and danger are around every corner (and not everything is as it seems).
Where is Tella? Who is Legend? And how is she going to get out of this mess safely. Panic ensures, madness creeps in and you won’t know what to believe.
Caraval was a rollercoaster of WTFs and OMGs. Imagine every amazing magician movie mixed with some fairy tale fantasy vibes. Nothing is what it seems and I couldn’t guess any of the twists, which always makes for a great story for me. I still don’t know who to trust or what is real. Now I need Legendary and Finale in my life STAT.
Caraval is a mood. I felt like I was in the Golden Age of Piracy on an island in the Caribbean, where everyone is called lovelies, dukes and counts exist (and they sell rum), and characters wear top hats and petticoats. Then, I was on a magical island version of Diagon Alley, where watches are magical and people trade in secrets. Caraval has it’s own living, breathing environment and you’ll want to get lost in it.
The Plot Twists & Reveals
Okay, bare with me here. But I am OBSESSED with movies about magic, and all I could think about while reading this was that it was a mix of The Prestige, Now You See Me, and The Illusionist. There’s a quote from The Prestige that speaks to this book so well and I had to share it because it captures my feelings so perfectly.
“Every great magic trick consists of three parts or acts….Now you’re looking for the secret… but you won’t find it, because of course you’re not really looking. You don’t really want to know…making something disappear isn’t enough; you have to bring it back. That’s why every magic trick has a third act, the hardest part, the part we call “The Prestige”.”
THIS BOOK HAS THE BEST PRESTIGE. I was in shock at the end and none of my guesses (save for maybe one) were correct. I LOVE a book that keeps me guessing until the very end. Garber was meant to be a magician IRL. She put on a SHOW.
Okay, seriously. I felt so tortured by that last note, but it was the ONLY thing I guessed right the entire time (or did I? I still don’t even know!). It set up book two perfectly while opening the door for an entirely new Caraval adventure.
The Character Growth
The characters could have used some revamping. Scarlett and Tella are crazy in their own ways and I found myself bouncing back and forth when deciding if I liked them or not. As of now, I love Julian (but he has some things to make up for), Scarlett redeemed her timid ways, and Tella is still just crazy AF.
The entire time Scarlett is looking for her sister I found myself not caring…at all. We don’t see enough of Tella in the beginning of the book to actually worry for her safety – at least in my mind – so I found it a void point in the plot. I cared more about Scarlett and hoping she didn’t die before finding out the truth (whatever “truth” actually is at this point. LOL.)
The Ugly Truth
This book was so good. If you’re into dark Harry Potter-vibe magic, pirate-esque characters, and a good mystery – read this!
Talk To Me
Have you read this book? If so, what did you think of it?