Welcome to Caraval,
where nothing is
quite what it seems.– GoodReads
I read Caraval…*checks calendar* last May.
*stares at self*
Well! Let’s see if I left any notes.
I definitely remember a lot of my reactions given the intense pacing of the book once the game begins.
Let me tell you though, I actually wanted to strangle Scarlett the first seventy pages or so.
The fact that I adore her now says something about her character development and also Garber’s utter talent for making me do such a drastic 180.
Seriously. Reading the first few chapters I was unimpressed and concerned about Scarlett’s lack of…observational skills and she seemed whiny to me. And yet she had her reasons for acting the way she did and later on she had to keep changing to adapt to the game and that’s when she hit her stride as an MC for me.
I did like the complete contrast of Scarlett and her sister Tella. Initially you do think ‘oh Tella seems the sort to be the MC’ (and we’ll get there but not this book) but after finishing the book I realized I actually liked how absurdly tentative and hesitant Scarlett is when she starts out because once more that growth is just incredible.
The world of Caraval itself is just purely atmospheric joy. I could dedicate multiple pinterest boards and playlists to that vibe and never grow tired. Garber excelled at the world-building of Caraval and the deadly game just made it feel so intense from start to finish the moment Scarlett steps into it.
Scarlett will stop at nothing to save her sister, and she has no time for boys. That being said, there are boys, and I loved them (lol). Actually out of the whole trilogy, Julian Santos is my favorite character! He serves so many purposes as a character and his role in Scarlett’s life is ever adapting much like her as she twists and turns herself for the game to save Tella.
The magic system is so much fun, it’s this neutral chaos that just never is good or bad, just used by those who would use it for one or another or neither, as we’ve seen, Garber lives in this ‘grey’ area and I think that’s what makes the book so enjoyable. It’s never clear what is real or not, we never know if someone is good or not either as you never know their real motive, which means Scarlett doesn’t; and once again that makes it SO GOOD.
The ending, even when I thought I had guessed it all, still took me surprise because well…
Narrator Voice: She did not guess it all. Not even close.
This also made me quite happy, I liked that I was still shocked and thrilled.
Tella was a hoot and her role in it all was so satisfying, also the ending is the perfect set up into book two. I was unable to keep from just diving into it and usually I’m the person who can ‘can’t wait for the next book’ and it’ll be years before i force myself to grab it from the bottom of the TBR mountain.
The writing style was enjoyable and engaging, it was easy to get lost in the book and not even realize that I’d finished it all in a matter of hours. Garber knows how to hook you in and drag you through the world of Caraval, and I say drag because no one comes out unscathed from that book no matter how much you love it, and neither do the characters.
Because it didn’t start in Caraval and I feel that’s where the book is strongest, I gave it four stars. It took me a little too long to like Scarlett as well but you get past that little bump and it’s all golden. I’m crazy about this trilogy and I decided to start dropping reviews for it in anticipation of Once Upon a Broken Heart’s release which I will be reviewing my eARC of it on publication week. (Though I have a mini review of it up now for those of you curious. I loved it, I loved it even more than this trilogy)
4/5 HUGE CUPS OF COFFEE. GO FORTH AND READ THIS MAGNIFICENT BEAST IF YOU DARE (or you know don’t if it doesn’t appeal, I’m not here how to tell you how to live your life lol)
Have you read this? What did you think of it?