ARC Review: Caraval – Stephanie Garber


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Series: Untitled – Book One
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Pages: 401
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Find It On: Goodreads. Amazon.

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A gorgeously written story of magic and mystery that I absolutely adored.

*I received this book in exchange for an honest review*

Synopsis:

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.

Review:

This has got to be one of my favourite books that I’ve read in 2016. It’s a fantastic story and one that sucks you from the outset. I spent a long time reading Caraval, not because it was a hard read but because the story is written so beautifully, the settings so richly depicted that I wanted to savour it, to take time over such a wonderful book.

The plot is fantastic and has so many layers to it, Scarlett and her upcoming nuptials, the game of Caraval, who Master Legend is, what Julian wants. There were so many things going on, it’s a complex and intense ride, and one that grips you right until the very last page.

I loved the way everything was described with colours, the prose is so beautiful and well done. This is the kind of book that once you’ve finished reading, you want to return to page one and start all over again. I feel like I could read it again and notice things I missed the first time round, because it’s just such a wonderful and complex story.  The magic is electric, it lures you in, and I found myself sitting down to read a chapter or two and still being there, completely absorbed hours later.

The world building is excellent, the story feels real and exciting, the characters are likewise all interesting and well built. Our main character Scarlett is a really interesting one. She isn’t just the simply pretty young heroine of many books, she’s complex and damaged and makes for a really wonderful protagonist.

I’m not sure there’s much more I can say about this book, it was truly superb and I loved reading it. I think it will definitely be a big hit when it is released in 2017, and I am fiercely looking forward to a second book in the series.

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