My rating:


(3.75 stars)

Hello again! I’m back with another review and this one’s on Caraval by Stephanie Garber. It focuses on Scarlett, whose trapped under her father’s tyrannical rule along with her sister Tella, and has been waiting for her upcoming nuptials to escape him. Then, one day, she receives an special invitation to attend Caraval, a spectacular performance of a game where the audience has to participate in a contest in order to get the prize . This year’s prize is a wish, but in order for the participant to win the wish, they have to find the target of the game. This target turns out to be Tella, who is spirited away as soon as they reached the site of Caraval. Now, Scarlett, with the help of a rakish sailor,  must find her sister without being swept away by the magic that is Caraval.

This book is sure full of twists and turns! Throughout it all, I kept on second guessing the intentions of everyone in the book, including Scarlett. I had so many farfetched theories about Caraval – and still do! My main problem with this book though was with the instalove between our romantic pairing. This is just my bias, but I don’t like how they fell in love after knowing each other for such a short period of time. Especially when there’s an unfair disadvantage of one person knowing more about the other. It just rubbed me the wrong way, but that’s just my opinion on it… Also, I got kind of bored of it at times, and I’d notice myself skimming near the end, until that epilogue turned it around.

Scarlett herself is an interesting character, and I say that without any sarcasm. You can tell she has the potential to be an amazing heroine but limits herself in the beginning to the standards set by her father. Granted, anyone in her situation, shouldering responsibility for herself and her sister, would probably react the same way. So it was understandable that Scarlett just wanted to play things safe, even though she had that spark of adventure in her. She tempered that away in order to protect herself and sister from her father’s cruelty. There is an immense development within the book where Scarlett starts thinking more of what she wants in life rather than just wanting protection from her father or being a protector for her sister. Tella, on the other hand, remains a bit one dimensional. Mostly because it’s not in her perspective so we get Scarlett’s limited view of her. Also, I don’t see much of Tella since she is essentially kidnapped, so I never really got to know her as well as Scarlett. And from what I do know, it’s kind of off-putting. But then that epilogue made me more intrigued in Tella, so there’s that.  Overall, I loved the idea of the story centred around two sisters, but to be honest, it was more focused on Scarlett. Maybe the next book will be Tella-centric?

Well, that’s all I have to say about Caraval by Stephanie Garber. While it was a good read, it wasn’t as great as I anticipated. Have any of you read Caraval? What did you think of it? If you have any thoughts on Caraval, please leave them in the Comments Section below. Thanks for reading!

–  Sumaya