Caraval Book Review

Caraval Book Review

Rating: ★★★★

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber

Book Review

Fine. I’ll admit it. I was intrigued by the pretty cover. Then when I read the premise… magical island carnival with potentially diabolical ringmaster… and a young heroine desperate to save her sister… this book sky rocked to the top of my TBR.

The magic is where this book shines. My favorites were the magic of her dress, the description of the tunnels, the payment system that didn’t involve money and the carousel of interesting characters we meet throughout Scarlett’s journey.

The author also plays with time in a really cool way by flipping day into night, stealing days of her characters lives, and speeding up time when it suits the plot. The author also does a great job of keeping the action moving forward in an exciting way that keeps you turning the pages to find out what happens.


(yes unfortunately there’s a “but”)

The metaphors were confusing. Because this is a book about magic, sometimes I couldn’t decide what was a metaphor and what was supposed to be literal. For example, bakeries that look like cupcakes. The author evidently just meant that the building had a roof with snow on it? Because I tried to find a cupcake-looking building on the map and it wasn’t there. Often, the metaphors confused me so much it pulled me out of the story… which was unfortunate because it’s a great story.

But metaphors aside…. I really enjoyed this book.

All in all, this was a wonderful read. I was really interested to find out Dante’s secrets and to know if he and Scarlett were destined for a happily ever after or not. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a romantic adventure filled with magic and mystery.

Review continues with SPOILERS below… just scroll past the description.

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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.

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

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Spoiler Review

I was satisfied with the ending, though I wish we saw Scarlett’s sister come back to life in her arms instead of having her walk into the room nonchalantly after the fact. Seeing Tella come back to life would have been a huge emotional payoff because it would show that it was Scarlett herself who accomplished the magic with her wish. It would have been a great moment for both sisters to watch the life come back into Tella’s body, witness that tearful happy reunion, THEN have Tella confess her role in the whole thing. Tella just lets her sister believe she’s dead while she goes to change her dress for the party? After her sister used her only wish to save Tella’s life and not Dante’s? Hmmm… I feel like that could have been finessed a bit better.

All in all, this was a fun read. It would make a great movie.