Book Review- Caraval

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 407
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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.

Caraval was SUPPPPER hyped up. Like I saw (see?) it EVERYWHERE. No one can get enough of it. So of course, when I saw it at the library, I was like “well, checking it out won’t hurt.” And yeah, it didn’t hurt. It just didn’t bring me the amazing story that I thought I would find.

I had a number of issues with this book. Firstly was Scarlet. She just annoyed me to no end. She was whiny and acted like everything she did was Such. A. Big. Deal…. Like girl, get over yourself. I’m sorry. Also, I get that she loves her sister. Like believe me, I get it. But she just went on and on and on about it. Every other sentence was like “Oh my dear Donatella, oh how I love her so, but here are all the issues I have with her…. but still she is so dear to me.” HONEY, WE GOT IT THE FIRST TIME. Just chill.

Donatella, on the other hand, is probably the most selfish person out there. She loves Scarlet, and wants to save her from marrying this Count that she hasn’t met yet, but still, there are better ways to go about it, even with a father as terrible as theirs. I really just couldn’t get on board with Scarlet or Donatella or their relationship or anything about them really.

Julian, on the other hand, was maybe the only character I really liked. He was witty and fun and pushed Scarlet to be almost-bearable. I really liked the character development that he went through, and that he did what he thought was right, even if it could get him in trouble.

As for the whole Caraval aspect of the book (cause, ya know, that IS what the book is about), it really just didn’t appeal to me. Yeah, I liked the whole “It’s a game” thing. I thought that was awesome. But everything else was kind of weird. The whole magical aspect of the game was a little hard to get a grasp on. Basically magic isn’t real, but some of it is? I’m still not really sure. The whole thing was just kind of confusing.

I was really hoping for an amazing ending to this book. Something that would tie everything together and make sense of all the confusion. But I didn’t exactly get that. I just got more confused. And then irritated by the Scarlet and Donatella relationship.
The Epilogue was honestly the best part of this book. It threw a new twist on the whole book and honestly saved the whole thing. Will I read the second book? Probably, but only because of the epilogue.

Okay, so I know it seems like I hated this book. I didn’t. It was entertaining, and I don’t regret reading it. I just happened to have quite a few problems with the book. But really guys, it wasn’t terrible.

I would recommend this book to people who love fantasy and adventure. It wouldn’t be my top rec, but hopefully (obviously) other people enjoy this book a whole lot more than I did. Maybe this book was just too over-hyped, and my expectations ruined the story. Maybe Caraval just isn’t for me.

I am going to give Caraval three out of five hearts.

♥ ♥ ♥

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41 thoughts on “Book Review- Caraval

  1. This is the first review I’ve seen of this book, and it’s sitting on my shelf waiting for a read. I’m bummed to hear about the redundancies and whininess and the game/magic being underwhelming. Of course, that always happens with hyped up books! … Still gonna read it, tho. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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  3. Okay I clicked on this review and I was thinking, “Please don’t be another raving review.” And it wasn’t! Yay! hahaha. I totally don’t understand the hype about this book either! Maybe it’s really just the cover. I agree, Scarlet was so annoying, the magic was weird, Donatella was the worst…but the epilogue! AH! I don’t think I’ll read the next one just out of pride…well…maybe I’ll read it…

    Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I enjoyed this book, but Donatella really annoyed me! Like you said, she was so selfish and there were so many different ways to could have gone about helping her sister without doing everything she did. Great review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Great review. Yeah, I didn’t like Tella at all. I almost decided to not read it just because of how she was in the beginning. The book was100% better in my opinion when she wasn’t there. Even with the reveal at the end I still didn’t like her too much. And I don’t know if Scarlett was whiny so much as she was a worrier. Still, I can see where you’re coming from.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hey there! It’s Nicka from Read by Nicka dropping by 🌻

    I’ve been hesitant to read this book for quite a while now because of the mixed reviews I’ve seen. Anyways great review! Have a great day ✨

    Liked by 1 person

  7. THIS REVIEW IS EVERYTHING! You have explained everything that I wish I could’ve said in mine. 👏 But when I finished the book I missed the world of Caraval a bit. The hype was so high for this book and it wasn’t what I expected either. I love this review💓

    Liked by 1 person

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  9. I received this book in my Owlcrate box a few months ago, and I’ve been putting off reading it… I feel like every book that’s super hyped up, I end up not enjoying as much. Your review reaffirmed my suspicions. Although I’m still going to give it a shot, I appreciate your honest review!

    Liked by 1 person

      • A lot of people talk highly about it. Maybe that’s why i put it down, though it’s not fair of me to judge from the first page and i know that. I remember the first book i picked of Jim Butcher, read a few pages and put it down again. i did that three more times before i got bored enough and had no new books before i read the entire thing. i didn’t like it that much, but i read the second, wanting to know what happened next, and i have since read all 15 books in the series.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Yeah I tend to put books off when other people love them because I’m scared of being disappointed (case and point: Caraval). And I’ve put off books (like Werelords) because of the first page, but then gone back and really enjoyed them. Sometimes it just takes a chapter or two to really feel a book out.

        Liked by 1 person

      • oh, thank god someone actually read it! how about the court of thorns and roses? the first book was alright, but the second and third? it was amazing. how about Ilona Andrews? i’ve been reading the Kate Daniels for a few years and am totally into it. and yesterday i finished the third book in the hidden legacy. Like with Sara Maas’s trilogy , the first book in the hidden legacy was alright, but the other two rocked.

        Liked by 1 person

      • No I haven’t read the Court books yet, but they are high on my TBR! And I’ve never heard of the other authors but I am going to check them out now! They sound really good!

        Liked by 1 person

      • Ilona Andrews is a best seller author (Ilona – wife, Andrews – husband). the kate daniels is set in post apocalypse Atlanta and the first book wasn’t very exciting. don’t raise hopes there. but the second throughout 10 are wonderful.

        Liked by 1 person

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