Book Review – Caraval

Welcome aboard, train wreck.

I’ve been having a helluva time dealing with reality lately. Things are scary out in the world and even scarier inside my head. With one kid getting ready to graduate, one I can’t seem to keep in the house, planning a Disney trip, work, and just life in general, well I don’t wanna anymore.

But that’s not an option. What’s a train wreck to do?

Enter socially acceptable escapism. And this book checked all the boxes to let me escape for a while.

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by Stephanie Garber 

by Stephanie Garber

The acclaimed New York Times bestseller! Welcome, welcome to CaravalStephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of the unbreakable bond between two sisters. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world…

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.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.

About Stephanie Garber

Stephanie Garber is the #1 New York Times and International bestselling author of the Caraval series and Once Upon A Broken Heart. Her books are published in over thirty languages.

I couldn’t think of any better way to describe this than Night Circus meets Hunger Games. Check out my review of Night Circus here

Scarlett and her sister are stuck on an island with their abusive father. They get the opportunity to runaway to the magical, mystical town of Caraval. And they take that chance. Once there, Scarlett is thrown into a game of life and death. With her sister’s life hanging on the line. Scarlett is partnered with a rouge pirate who is annoying, rude, brash, and devastatingly handsome. Faced with clues, challenges, and racing against time, Scarlett must find her sister and rescue her from the elusive leader of Caraval, Legend. All while remembering she’s engaged to a count she doesn’t know and falling in love with Julian the pirate.

Listen. I’m 44. And I read cozy mysteries, horror, and YA fantasy. And this was absolutely one of my favorite YA fantasy books. TikTok made me buy this. But Caraval will make me continue the series with Legendary and Finale.

Legendary: A Caraval Novel
by Stephanie Garber
Finale: A Caraval Novel
by Stephanie Garber

Seriously, you have magic, trauma, overcoming challenges, and one of my favorite romance tropes: enemies to lovers.

Scarlett was a little annoying. Like, you are finally in this place you have dreamed of all your life. Stop being a wet blanket and do the damn things. I loved Julian’s arc. Because it’s more of a spirally rainbow that knots up on itself. And I hate both Scarlett’s father and Legend because I have trauma from my last relationship and they hit too close to home. Cue a call to my therapist.

But let talk about the seeing colors of smells. This hit me. My oldest and I have synesthesia. Smells have colors. We often will say something smells green. Or that purple is the color of Gramma’s perfume. So when Scarlett can see the purple of her father’s perfume, that touched me. I loved that aspect. I hope to see more of it in the next books.

I devoured this book. Three days. No audiobook. Working during the day. And I inhaled this book and didn’t exhale until I was passed out on my couch. The ending left me wanting more. Which is good. Because there’s two more books and I have a plane ride coming up.

There wasn’t one place where this dragged for me. This book grabbed me by the brain and pulled me in until my heart followed me in. I want to forget this book so I can read it again.

My hopeless romantic ass loved this. Like yes, follow your heart girl. Stop living life on someone else’s terms. Do you, baby. And if your sister and Julian come along, hell yeah. The more the merrier. Make it a party.

I really do hope you pick this up and try it out. If you’ve already read it, let me know what you thought of it.

This content contains affiliate links. When you buy through these links, I may earn an affiliate commission. Again, if you like what I post, please like, comment, share, and subscribe. Please consider donating to help keep this going. $1 and I’ll ask you what your favorite book is so we can talk about it. $5 and I’ll write a review of a book you suggest. $10 and I’ll write a blog suggested by you. That’s all I’ve got for today, train wrecks. All aboard.

Oh yeah. The author created a Spotify playlist. And it’s so good. Like, people at work are so tired of hearing this. And I don’t care.


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