When I started reading this novel, I did so without too many expectations. I knew that it had gotten a lot of love from readers all over the internet, but I didn’t know why. I didn’t have a grasp of the plot or what kind of world I would dive into. That point of view ended up being very fitting, as I felt like I had fallen down the rabbit hole and straight into Wonderland.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber is the story of Scarlett and her sister Donatella as they encounter the mysterious world of Legend’s Caraval. Caraval is a game that runs for five days on an island where time and logic work very differently. Scarlett must find a way through this game of madness and magic to gain the ultimate prize: a wish.
I’m having a hard time describing the plot while giving nothing away because there are so many amazing twists and turns from the very beginning. I highly recommend reading this book if you have any interest in Alice in Wonderland, a meshing of fantasy and reality, or stories about circuses.
This book spent exactly the right number of pages on world-building. We know very basic geography about the world, and that’s all we need. It’s the same with the social structure: we learn what we need to know, and that is enough to keep the questions away and allow for Caraval to sweep away the reader.
It took me a while to warm up to Scarlett because she seemed so confused and contradictory as a character. Eventually, I grew to like her as she defined herself through the choices she made. This also made the book very character-driven. The choices that each character made directed the game and allowed for certain things to happen next. Scarlett built herself a wonderful arc of development throughout the book.
I loved this world. Caraval is quickly becoming a favourite of mine, and I can’t wait to pick up the next book in the trilogy. However, I firmly believe that this could also be read as a standalone. I felt satisfied with the ending and it wrapped up loose ends very nicely. Garber leaves a tiny crumb trail to follow into Legendary, but anyone who is looking for a standalone can ignore it. (Scroll down for rating)
Thank you for reading! I hoped you enjoyed this review and take some time to look at the others I have posted. I have two more posts planned for this year:
– 2020: A Year in Books
– Monthly Wrap-Up: December
In the wrap-up post, I’ll explain my plan for next year. I can’t wait to continue sharing my thoughts and knowledge with you in 2021. Cheers!
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