Mini Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Posted by Jessi (Geo) on January 17, 2018 | 1 Comment

Mini Review: Caraval by Stephanie GarberCaraval by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Published by Flatiron Books (1/31/2017)
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: Hardcover, 407 pages
Source: I own it

3 Stars

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, 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. 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 thoughts

Confession: I read this a year ago and I’m just now getting around to reviewing it. Oopsie.

It’s been so long that I’d forgotten most of what happened, so I had to read a recap. I enjoyed it for the most part! I loved the concept of Caraval, and the carnival itself was fun and twisted. It had a very strange and magical quality to it! I liked that you never knew what was real or not, or who to trust. It was mind bending at times.

The world was 100% of why I enjoyed this book. What fabulous world building! Stephanie really brought the twisted world to life. It felt a lot like Alice in Wonderland at a carnival!

The main complaint I have about this book is that I was underwhelmed by the ending. It had built up the entire book to that point and it felt rushed. I was expecting an explosion and instead I got a fizzle. An emotionless one. View Spoiler »

While I enjoyed the story, I didn’t care much about the romance or the characters. The setting intrigued me but I didn’t connect to much else about the story, so the lack of emotion killed a bit of the enjoyment for me. Still a good read, though!

Overall Assessment

Plot: 3.5/5
Premise: 5/5
Writing style: 3.5/5
Originality: 4/5
Characters: 2/5
World-building: 4.5/5
Pace: 3/5
Feels: 1/5
Cover: 4/5
Overall rating: 3/5

Jessi (Geo)

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One response to “Mini Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

  1. I made the exact same comparison: I felt like it was Alice and Wonderland at twisted carnival! I was very impressed with the world as well, and loved how I didn’t know what to believe. But yes…the ending wasn’t what I was expecting it to be. I will, however, be reading the sequel when it comes out!

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