Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

30065677Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Pub Date: January 31, 2017
Format: Kindle eBook
Pages: 416
Source: NetGalley
Genre(s): YA, Fantasy, Mystery, Romance
Rating: ★★★★★
Goodreads || Buy on Amazon

Synopsis from Goodreads:

How far would you go to save your sister?

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. 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.

My review:

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself to magic in this world.”

Caraval was so incredibly fun (and torturous) to read—much like the game itself.

I don’t even know where to begin. This is a twisted fantasy of sorts. A mystery. A romance. A game. Life and death and love and lies. All the fun stuff that keeps you up at night. It’s the sweetest part of dreams and the spine-tingling part of nightmares. I couldn’t stop reading it! And that ending? Nope. That will not do. I need the sequel as soon as possible.

The synopsis tells you everything you need to know but I’ll give you the basics. Caraval is an elusive and magical show that Scarlett has always dreamed of attending with her sister Tella. After years of writing unanswered letters to Legend, the creator of Caraval, Scarlett finally receives the invitation she’s been yearning for. This exciting news comes days before she is set to meet the Count, who is a stranger to her outside of their correspondence through letters, and incidentally the man she is arranged to marry. With the help of a charming stranger, Scarlett and Tella risk their lives to make the journey to Caraval. But now they are not only running from their abusive fatherthey also have to worry about winning the game. Will they survive?

That’s all I’m going to say about the plot. You can’t really trust anyone and it’s hard to tell what is real and what is part of the performance, but it is nevertheless entertaining. Instead of trying to figure out what’s going to happen next and who the bad guy is, I recommend that readers just sit back, relax (if you can manage your nerves) and enjoy the show!

This is such a fast-paced adventure and it’s all wrapped up in a swoonworthy romance. I highly recommend Caraval to everyone!

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