When I saw the cover for Caraval I knew I had to read this. I also been wanting to read a book with a Carnival type of story and thought why not? Caraval is a book by Stephanie Garber and this is the first in the duology. This book has a combination of magic, and puzzles with an element of mystery to solve.
Caraval focuses on the character Scarlet who lives with sister on an island. Scarlet and her sister Tella must grow up living with her very abusive father who just sees them as property. Scarlet dreams of one day going to the magical world of Caraval which is a fantastic show where people go and play a game in order to win a major price. So, Scarlet wants its so badly so she spends most of her life writing letters to the mysterious Legend who owns the Caraval.
Years later when Scarlet is seventeen her father wants to marry the mysterious Count who she hasn’t met. At the same time, Scarlet finally receives a letter from Legend. So, despite her father…Scarlet, Tella and with the help of a sailor named Julian to run off to the world of Caraval.
There at Caraval, Scarlet’s sister goes missing and in order to get her sister back, Scarlet must play the game that this world holds. Thinking it would be a simple task turns out to be more than just a game of risk, secrets, and consequences. Will Scarlet get her sister back?
This book was really enjoyable to read. I really enjoyed the concept of Caraval and the combination of magic and puzzles. I also enjoyed seeing the world come alive. If you like books with magic, and whimsical elements than this is a book to check out. In fact, most of the book describes Caraval as magical, and colorful. It’s actually somewhat dreamlike.
I also enjoyed some of the mysterious elements throughout the book with all the clues. The clues that lead you closer to winning the major the prize. I also like the idea of being careful with your choices or you may face the consequences.That said, I would’ve liked to have seen more Carnival elements within the book. The fact that the book made it seem like some big show, the book lacked any Carnival elements. I would’ve liked to see more characters that would feel like you are at a Carnival. Maybe jugglers, clowns, or acrobat? I also have seen much of the actual competition. It felt like this game was more a passive MMORPG game that people just show up and have fun.
As for the characters, I am left with mixed feelings. On the one handle, I like seeing the main character go through a transformation in the book. At the beginning of the book, we meet a scary, shy, and broken Scarlet and see how she learns to find her strength in the book. I also like how she would do anything for the sister and would make the hard choices to get her back.
But even though I do like Scarlet, as a character she does have some flaws in the book. At times Scarlet can be naive and can be overly trusting at times in situations where she should have asked questions. I also didn’t really like the love interest in the book. I feel like Julian could’ve used more of a backstory and be developed more. I feel like Julian was half developed and just gave us more questions about who he was.
Overall, I did really enjoyed this story and loved all the magical element and the dark mystery throughout the book. Despite that, I hope some of the supporting characters and some of the questions that were present in the story could be answered in the next book. Well, if you interested in checking out the book I do have the link below. And until my next post keep on reading.