Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Excited by the mere thought of the game.

Initially we are introduced to Scarlett who has been writing to the main man, Legend, for a number of years without any success. Until the last letter she sends saying that she will be married soon and it’s ‘probably best’ that Caravel doesn’t come to her this year. Well blow me down she gets a response!

Typically, at this point the wheels start to roll and the cogs start to turn, you are waiting for the penny to drop, why now? Well I’m not going to spoil it but really you don’t find that out until the very end but it is very clever the way in which Garber keeps you guessing.

I must say at this point I was trying to decide if I really wanted to go on in this novel. I had heard many good things about it. I had heard its likeness toward the Night Circus. But I had also read lots of for and against reviews for this book and I really try to not let other reviews of novels influence me before I read something as I like to try and keep a balanced view.

Well. I loved it. I don’t care what others say, I really enjoyed it.

So, Scarlett (Scar/Crimson) and her sister Donatella (Tella) live a very strained life with their father. When you first meet Governor Dragna he is shown to be a brute and gives you the reasoning as to why the sisters want out of their life. For Scarlett, marrying would take her out of her fathers’ way and she would take Tella with her. But for Tella it was adventure. Fear and trickery are what takes them away to Legends Island, and when we arrive its in pure awe of what is waiting.

 ‘You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle’.

Scarlett wakes in a little dinghy boat with Julian steadily rowing. He has already left Tella on the shore and they will catch up to her shortly. But when they arrive, she is missing. They eventually make their way through the freezing cold, the woods in to a village of sorts. This is where the magic starts.

When they reach the entrance, they are asked to follow either the spectator’s path or the path to play the game. Of course, the path to play is the one that is taken. The story starts to unravel once they arrive at the lodgings – Tella has been kidnapped. There are five clues to uncover, the first one is freely given, the others you have to figure out by following the clues Scarlett uncovers.

‘Before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game.’

Scarlett starts to uncover a myriad of things which she starts to question. I did find Scarlett a little trying at times and I did shout at the book on a couple of occasions  saying you can live too it’s not always about your sister… but then I guess it was the magic of the Caraval, she kept having to remind herself why she was there otherwise it was like she would forget, in the end this was my justification of why Scarlett was so anxious all the time. She had basically mothered her sister and really hadn’t seen that Tella was actually all grown up.

Julian

Well well well, we must always have a romance but I did see this coming a mile off! However, I was very intrigued on how he fit into this puzzling game. One minute he was Mr helpful and the next he was nowhere to be seen! I just didn’t really know if he was on Scarlett’s side or not, which was a credit to Garber in the end (read it to find out!)  

Donatella

Well, what a conniving little miss troublemaker Donatella is! The twist in this puzzling story is actually very clever and I don’t think many people would have figured it out until the very last minute, if you did you peeked! I loved how it worked out. This just makes it even more enticing as now I have to read Legendary!

‘while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away…’

Caraval: the mesmerising Sunday Times bestseller Paperback – 30 Nov 2017 by Stephanie Garber 

Just magical.

–TalesfromNj

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