Book review: “Caraval”


Book title: ”Caraval”

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publication year: 2017

Number of pages: 407

Format: paperback

Amount of stars I gave on Goodreads: 4,25☆


Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.


I was sent a copy of ”Caraval” by Hachette UK. And this review consists of my honest thoughts on the book.

First off this book was actually a lot better than I thought it would be. It was one of my most anticipated 2017 releases and it was really hyped, so I kind of lowered my expectations for this one. It managed to really impress me and left me needing the second book because the ending was such a great cliffhanger, if you can call it that.

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

Scarlett as a main character was actually annoying. I felt like she whined too much and spent too much time analyzing everything. She did start to make more daring decisions in the end, but it was still rather late in the book. I think her love for her sister Donatella was really warming and well written.

Julian was a great character as well. I really liked how I could never be too sure of his motives while reading. The book itself actually doesn’t have that much of a character development happening in it, but it didn’t really bother me about this book.

The book was also not really fancy with the world-building. It was quite casual, let’s say, but I liked it still. I was really impressed with the book overall. It was not too hard to read and I guess I am so used to reading fantasy books that are really heavy on details, characters and everything that it was really liberating to read a book like ”Caraval”.

“Briefly, Scarlett let herself imagine what it would be like to go to Legend’s private isle, to play the game and win the wish. Freedom. Choices. Wonder. Magic.”

I am really excited to see what happens in the second book and figure out more about the game master Legend. From what I gathered while reading ”Caraval” , he is not the nicest fellow and I love a good villain with no redeeming qualities. And in light of that I seriously hope that Legend will not be made into a character who is actually good deep down and falls in love with Donatella.

“Some would probably call him a villain. Others would say his magic makes him closer to a god.”   

Caraval itself is said to be a game, but to be honest there was really nothing game-like about it. It seemed more of like an alternate reality where people just had to find someone. From the way it was written it seemed as if Scarlett and Julian were the only ones searching. I wish there would have been more competition and conflicts with the other players.

The romance in this book was fortunately not instant, but I still feel like it was a little bit too fast. Maybe it would have been better to drag it out a little and make things more serious in the second book.

“She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.”   

It was a really good book, it lacked a few things, but I did like it and cannot wait to read the sequel.

Check the book out on Goodreads here.



3 thoughts on “Book review: “Caraval””

  1. Yaas, I’m rooting for Legend and Tella too. It’s weird that these two managed to capture most of my curiosity despite having so little appearances in the book. But I guess we’ll be seeing more of them in the next book. Here’s to hoping they fall in love… magically.😉

    Liked by 2 people

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