Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I received this book for free from a in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval (Caraval, #1) by Stephanie Garber
Published by Hodder & Stoughton on January 31st 2017
Pages: 402

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

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What can I say that hasn’t been said already about Caraval? Gush, I truly don’t know if I can even put my feelings into words, even after listening/ reading to this book a while ago. However, I will try my best, I can positively tell you that I 99.99% truly, immensely and wholeheartedly enjoyed Caraval. However, the other 000.1% was a bit irritating.

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

Many of you already know or read that Caraval is a story about two sisters, Scarlett and Donatell (Tella) that are trying for the better word, “improve” their current lives, away from their awful father. In doing so, they escape their home and head to the magical festival, even if it just for a short moment at the Caraval. What was simply to be a quick visit, soon turned into a frantic searcher for Donatell (Tella).

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“She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.”

I was constantly surprised the entire way through the whole story. The world building was magical and fascinating, I loved all the insane events with the hidden hints with all the mysterious tricks. The whole story was full of extensive turns and magnificent twists, it was simply marvelous after I switch from audiobook to reading. Why did I switch from audio to reading you may ask? well

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“Hope is a powerful thing. Some say it’s a different breed of magic altogether. Elusive, difficult to hold on to. But not much is needed.”

As I said above I truly did enjoy Caraval 99.99% of the time, the 000.1% was a bit bothersome which I will explain. No fault of the author at all, I know its the way the story was meant to be. However, the audiobook narrator for Scarleton, prevented me from 100% enjoying this story. At some point, It was so irritating that I had to stop the audiobook and read the rest of the way through. I just couldn’t take her overreacting and literally huff and puffing throughout the whole time I listened. Every few sentences there it was! Goodness, it was bad. Some books are just better read than listened to.

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“No one is truly honest,” Nigel answered. “Even if we don’t lie to others, we often lie to ourselves. And the word good means different things to different people.”

In the end, I did immensely and wholeheartedly love, Caraval. I would have given it 5 stars if I had just read it on my own. Sometimes your imagination is way better than someone else’s. So if you haven’t read Caraval yet, do so. Don’t think that I didn’t love it because I truly did and can’t wait for Legendary.  Just, pass on the audiobook on this one and you’ll be fine.

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“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 magic in this world.”


About Stephanie Garber

I’m the international and New York Times bestselling author of Caraval.

When I’m not writing, I teach creative writing at a private college in Northern California, where I’ve been known to turn assignments into games and take students on field trips that involve book signings.

To help pay my bills during college, grad school, and the breaks in between, I worked as a barista, a waitress, a bartender, a customer service representative for an energy consulting company, and as a sales girl at Bath and Bodyworks. I also spent years working with youth; I worked as a counselor at space themed summer camp, volunteered at a school for deaf children in Mexico, and I took multiple groups of college students overseas to spend their winter vacations serving at youth hostels in Amsterdam. But out of everything that I’ve done, writing young adult novels has been my favorite job.

My debut YA fantasy novel, Caraval is out now (Flatiron Books/Macmillan—US and Hodder & Stoughton—UK). Caraval has sold in thirty foreign territories and the movie rights were picked by Twentieth Century Fox.

Posted February 5, 2018 by Helena Reads in Posts, Reviews / 14 Comments

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14 responses to “Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

  1. Great review and OMG I think that audio would have done my head in, especially since I had a few mixed feelings about the overall story anyway. I am excited for the sequel though because one of my complaints about Caraval was that it didn’t have enough of Tella.

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