Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Summary: Tella arranges for her sister, Scarlett, to be kidnapped and taken to a magical island where they can play a mysterious game known as Caraval. All Scarlet wants is to go back home. But when Tella gets kidnapped as part of the game, the only way to save her is to win. But the game is dangerous and nothing is what it seems.

Thoughts: I haven’t read a book so ridiculously magical in a very loooong time. Not since The Night Circus came out, to be exact. This book was very character-focused and light on the world-building. Usually, this is not something I look for in a fantasy novel, but with Caraval, I think any more world-building would have just upped the word-count without adding much to the plot because – put simply – everything important in it, revolved around the competition and the mystery around it. The prose in this book was so gorgeous. Scarlett felt things in color, and the writing reflected that very beautifully. As a character, I found her a bit hard to sympathize with at the start because she was very uptight and whiny – and for the better half of the book – very dependent on Julian – the love-interest and the sailor who Tella got to kidnap her. But I really loved their relationship’s progression and how she grew more confident of herself towards the end. And Julian is my favorite character in this book! What I loved most about Caraval was how every time I thought one thing, it turned out to be something else. Nothing is what it seems, for real. That’s so very literal in this book. Prepare to doubt every word you’ve read! Caraval is a thrilling book full of magic, intelligent twists and mysteries and a beautiful setting you’d be wishing was real.

Stars: 5/5

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