By Stephanie Garber

Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . . 

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

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.


When I first heard about this book I was very interested. The synopsis of the book sounds amazing and the cover of the book (which is very important to me) was stunning. Even the back of the book was beautiful and had a picture of a ticket to caraval ( I am really sorry if at any point in this review it says caravan instead of caraval spell check is really not helping me here). The line on the cover "Remember, it's only a game..." really drew me in as well. I was ready to read about a whimsical, dark, circus scavenger hunt. Instead I got a girl just worrying about this sailor guy literally the entire time. They could have done so much more. The clues didn't even seem that hard! The heart made of black one? Scarlett just instantly thought it was Julian... WHO HAS THE TATTOO OF A BLACK HEART. Also, if you didn't even see the tattoo JUST FOLLOW THE SHADIEST JERK IN THE ROOM! It's really not that hard. I could tell that this Legend guy was clearly insane from the beginning, so the author could have used that to make a really dark, creepy, how far are people willing to go for this wish thing, kinda story. I just wish that she didn't focus on Scarlett and Julian the ENTIRE TIME! Scarlett was so obsessed with him! When she said that part about him being the most gorgeous person she had ever seen or whatever, I literally had to close the book and just stare at a wall for a second there. HE WASN'T THAT GREAT. He seemed pretty sketchy the entire time. As I keep saying THE AUTHOR COULD HAVE DONE SO MUCH MORE. I mean, if you are getting some kind of all powerful wish at the end of this competition, you know you are going to have to do some crazy most likely not legal stuff. You know? I mean some woman died one year! And if people just do/watch this for fun, you could have done so much more with the how far are people willing to go thing, as I said before. I just feel like there was a lot of wasted potential here. Not to mention, the ending was a disappointment. Her sister planned the whole thing? That makes absolutely no sense. First of all, if all she wanted to do was fake her death, I feel like she could have done that a lot easier (and less emotionally scarring on her sister) at home. Even if she did, for some strange reason need to fake her death at caraval, she could have skipped the whole sending the tickets and trying to convince Scarlett only to kidnap her. She could have just kidnapped her in the first place! Also, she could have just told her sister her plan. I don't buy this whole "it would have put to much pressure on her" thing. Also, does anyone else feel bad for all the other people playing? They were probably like "Yay I'm gonna win this wish!" only to find out that no, that have absolutely no chance. Even though they are probably working twice as hard than this girl who only stares at some guy all day, sorry the entire game is centered around her so you have no chance. Unless they were all performers too. But I feel like that would be quite a waste for Legend. I mean, what could Tella have offered him. Actually though...  I think that there is going to be a second book. I think that they should leave as a stand alone though. Then the book gets to keep some of the mystery and magic that I was hoping for when I first bought this book. I am making this book sound really bad, but it's not. I think that is something both Lark and I really have to work on. We only talk about the bad parts, even with books that we actually liked. I did enjoy this book, I just think that the author could have done so much more. Especially with the ending. I was waiting for a major plot twist to completely change the story. Reveal the twisted, insane Legend. Instead it ended with an awkward, unsatisfying, and underwhelming end. 

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