Author: Stephanie Garber
Rating: 4/5 Stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
How Did I Get This Book: ARC for Review
Format: Paperback ARC
Why Did I Read This Book: A dark and mysterious carnival-like three-day event ran by a mysterious man called Legend? Sold!
Review Written By: Lisa Golding // City of YA Books
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and 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.
First thing I will say about this book is that it draws you in, the world is decadent and I felt myself get swept away by the words on a number of occasions. Stephanie kills it with the world building, she won’t tell you that the sky is blue or that the dress is red, she will show you, which is a million times better. The relationships were real, romances built over a period of time, a sister relationship which is probably one of the better sibling portrayals I've seen in a while. Our protagonist Scarlett spends the duration of the novel searching for her sister who went missing on their first night, leading to a lot of shenanigans and adventures with her sailor 'friend' Julian. I use the word friend lightly, they were more or less thrown together by Scarlett's meddling sister Tella.
My favorite character by far is Legend. He is quite possibly a few books short of a library if you know what I mean, but he is possibly the most intriguing, swoon-worthy yet slightly nuts character I've read in a long time, and bravo to Stephanie for achieving that! I find myself hard pressed to find negatives in this book, even days after reading it. The main character is truly a lady so at times she felt whiny and annoying