Caraval

Caraval

Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . . Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.Scarlett has never left the...

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Title:Caraval
Author:Stephanie Garber
Rating:
ISBN:1250095255
Edition Language:English
Format Type:Hardcover
Number of Pages:407 pages

Caraval Reviews

  • Mikee Andrea (ReadWithMikee)
    Apr 15, 2016

    4.5 STARS

    This book was just absolutely ENCHANTING! I didn't know how high or how low to set my expectations before going into Caraval but one thing is for sure by the time I closed this book: Caraval surpassed all my expec

    4.5 STARS

    This book was just absolutely ENCHANTING! I didn't know how high or how low to set my expectations before going into Caraval but one thing is for sure by the time I closed this book: Caraval surpassed all my expectations and more. I've always been a sucker for circus/carnival themed books but I never read another book that came close to one of my favorite circus tales and favorite books of all time, The Night Circus. But Caraval has easily set its place right next to The Night Circus as one of the most magical stories I have ever read.

    From the very first page up until the last, there was never a dull moment while reading Caraval. It was just an enigma wrapped in magic and deception. One minute you think you have the story and the characters all figured out, the next minute the storyline takes you on a completely different direction! There were just so many twists, turns, and puzzles that every page leaves you hanging at the edge of your seat.

    Although Caraval didn't really feel like it took place in a circus/carnival like I was hoping it would, the world building was still very mystical. Clues and objects are paid in your deepest secrets, greatest fear, or even days of your life. There are tunnels that drive you mad and make you question what is real and what is simply part of the game. Caraval was just full of so many surprises that'll keep you turning the page. I had so many theories right from the very beginning that kept changing and evolving as the story progressed. I was so immersed in trying to crack the big mystery that was Caraval and Legend. Remember that it's just a game. But is it really? ;) This book will definitely leave you with more questions than answers in the end so prepare to be mind blown!

    I can't even put into proper words how magical this book truly is. Of course I can't speak for everybody, but I can almost guarantee that you'll never read a story like Caraval! Stephanie Garber has made quite the entrance into this community with this captivating piece of work. I almost can't believe that Caraval is actually her first book! I can see so much potential in this author and in this world that she has created. I definitely can't wait for book two because something tells me that Stephanie has more tricks and magic up her sleeve for her readers! :)

  • Emily May
    Feb 03, 2017

    I feel the same way about

    as I did about

    last year. In fact, many of my comments are the same, so if you enjoyed that book then it's probable you will like this one also.

    is a fantasy

    . It relies on its dreamy descriptions,

    , and a heavy helping of romance to make it dazzle. To take a quote from my review of

    , "if you buy into these metaphors, put on your prose-tinte

    I feel the same way about

    as I did about

    last year. In fact, many of my comments are the same, so if you enjoyed that book then it's probable you will like this one also.

    is a fantasy

    . It relies on its dreamy descriptions,

    , and a heavy helping of romance to make it dazzle. To take a quote from my review of

    , "if you buy into these metaphors, put on your prose-tinted glasses and let yourself get drunk on the glittering descriptions, I suppose you might be able to ignore..." that's literally how I feel about this.

    It is about two sisters - Scarlett and Tella - who live on some random island in the middle of random world X with their abusive father who wants to marry Scarlett off to a count she's never met. Caraval is, as it sounds, a carnival-like game on another random island. People go there to play and if they win, they get a wish. The mysterious Caraval master is a guy called Legend, who Scarlett has been writing to for years, but he has now finally replied - and sent three tickets for Scarlett, Tella and Scarlett's fiance. Upon arrival at the island, Tella goes missing and it soon becomes apparent that finding her is all a part of the game. Scarlett must solve the clues and find her sister before Caraval is over.

    For one thing, this is a writing style that never appeals to me. So many metaphors and similes that I know are supposed to be evocative and exciting,

    . Phrases like this:

    I understand that some readers like this kind of mysterious, weird writing, but it just pulls me right out of the story. I'm sat there thinking "how the hell does something TASTE LIKE MIDNIGHT?" What does it even mean that Tella's expression fell like a doll that Scarlett dropped? Does it mean that Tella is like a doll being dropped (i.e. unhappy doll?) or is the author equating the downwards turn of her expression with the downwards fall of a doll? Or neither - it just sounds good?

    And here, have some more:

    Let’s forget for a second that death now has a “taste” - is the author just listing random words that sound cool? Think about it. How can something taste acidic AND moldy AND burnt? I just don't believe that good writing is collecting as many exciting, descriptive words as possible and shoving them all together, regardless of whether they make any sense.

    But whatever. That's just taste for the writing style. I personally thought the story was lacking too, unless you are seeking

    . From the very beginning, Scarlett goes on and on about the gorgeous men around her - Julian and Dante - often forgetting that her sister is missing because she is so caught up in her own romantic ambitions. And, of course, when Julian is seen talking with another girl, said girl is described as "some tart in a bar"; in comparison to Scarlett who blushes every time Julian looks at her.

    Do you think that she means "sculptures" and "paintings" instead? Or is it a stereotype I don't know about that artists are supposed to have a certain sort of profile? Anyway...

    I found so much of this book unsatisfying. I gave it an extra star because it remained interesting enough for me to read to the end, but there's not much more than a flowery romance contained within these pages. The mysteries and reveals are not particularly exciting, and there's a poorly-executed end moment where a character reveals everything through a long speech - like a magician dropping character at the end and telling the audience how they did it.

    Also, as a side note - and I wasn't sure if I was going to mention this or not - I got a very strong sense that I had read this story before. Most people probably won't know what I'm talking about. But back when I was about eleven/twelve years old, I read a book called

    by the same author who wrote

    , about a girl who gets pulled into a game and must find her friends before the time is up. There's also a mysterious, gorgeous guy called Julian pulling the strings (holy shit, I was in love with him back then) and this book is

    . Really. It makes me wonder if the author read it too.

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  • Brittney ~ Her Bookish Things
    Oct 04, 2016

    *Full Review Update!!* (Spoiler free)

    This has made it in to my

    . I can't even function normally to describe it... I am absolutely floored. Zero complaints. I enjoyed every sentence.. every page.

    I couldn't get enough. It was whimsical, off the charts electric, romantic, mysterious, enchanting, enthralling... full of twists and turns. So many that I thought the ending couldn't possibly live up to the mystery this c

    *Full Review Update!!* (Spoiler free)

    This has made it in to my

    . I can't even function normally to describe it... I am absolutely floored. Zero complaints. I enjoyed every sentence.. every page.

    I couldn't get enough. It was whimsical, off the charts electric, romantic, mysterious, enchanting, enthralling... full of twists and turns. So many that I thought the ending couldn't possibly live up to the mystery this created.. but it absolutely did.

    My advice is to go into this knowing NOTHING. Seriously, I wanted to throw like 10 billion quotes in my review because I loved it THAT MUCH but its going to be so much more mysterious if you just dive right in. But I'll say this - I was hooked from the first page. There's a series of letters that Scarlett writes to the 'Caraval master' Legend over a series of years. This story begins when he finally writes back.

    I loved the writing and the pacing so so much. It wasn't too slow but it wasn't too fast either - it was just right for the character development. Scarlett was the perfect choice for an MC and I loved being in her mind without any outside perspective. Everything about the plot and the other characters are a complete mystery. Good luck trying to guess everything... you'll need it. The best part of the experience for me personally was trying to guess who was who and who was good/bad.

    I literally cannot comment on any of the other characters because it would be a spoiler - but oh man.. you guys. I think I'm in love.

    And the end? CLEVER. Wow. I LOVED IT SO MUCH. I thought Stephanie was writing herself into a hole with all the mystery but boy oh boy did she deliver.

    The setting is another win for this book. If you like the Night Circus, you'll be pleased. (The plot is totally different but the magical circus/carnival like atmosphere is on point.)

    Alright, I know I've done nothing but hyped up this book. Do yourself a favor though- go in with zero expectation, spoilers, hints, etc. Just enjoy the ride.

    Now excuse me while I go work on fan art because this has taken over my world.

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  • Cait • A Page with a View
    May 28, 2016

    I'm not sure if I should call this one of my favorite books of 2016 or 2017, but it's definitely at the top of both lists! I can totally see why Fox already bought the movie rights!!

    The story is completely unique, though, and TOTALLY pulled me in. I'll write a more detailed review closer to 2017, but here's some general gushing for now:

    Every single

    I'm not sure if I should call this one of my favorite books of 2016 or 2017, but it's definitely at the top of both lists! I can totally see why Fox already bought the movie rights!!

    The story is completely unique, though, and TOTALLY pulled me in. I'll write a more detailed review closer to 2017, but here's some general gushing for now:

    Every single element was so well done! The way the whole story unfolds as a sort of mystery + quest with a deadline makes it a million times more addicting, but the characters, writing, and setting would have been incredibly strong on their own no matter what. There really isn't much I'd change about this book.

    Every time I had some complaint (like "do NOT try to make the abusive father sympathetic now") the story would just twist in a different direction that worked even better. I had a few complaints at first involving Scarlet's character and the men in her life, but then everything totally worked by the end! And by 80% I wasn't sure how on earth there would be a sequel but when I got to the epilogue I was like NO! OF COURSE! THIS IS BRILLIANT! NEXT BOOK PLEASE!

    So I was just constantly surprised the whole way through. The plot weaves all over the place and keeps throwing curveballs at you to the point where you don't know who or WHAT to trust anymore. I thought I called some plot twists at the beginning, but was

    off. This is one of those rare books you wish you could forget and then go back to read all over again for the first time because figuring everything out is an adventure on its own.

    I also loved how the relationship between the two sisters was the strongest relationship in the story. I mean, there

    romance, but it's not the central focus. And I liked that this is a complete story by itself, but then the epilogue has a cliffhanger that leads into a sequel that's already perfectly set up!

    Stephanie Garber is an incredibly talented author and this is a book that pretty much any age will love!!

    Thank you to the publisher for sending me an ARC!

  • Chelsea Humphrey
    Jul 06, 2016

    How can I write a review for this giant ball of awesome and do it justice? I was intrigued by the summary from the second I found this was coming out, but had no clue if it would live up to the hype. The back cover boasts of

    and Fox 2000 has already purchased the rights to turn this into a major motion film, which claims some pretty mind-blowing story is within the covers. This book was even better than I could have ima

    How can I write a review for this giant ball of awesome and do it justice? I was intrigued by the summary from the second I found this was coming out, but had no clue if it would live up to the hype. The back cover boasts of

    and Fox 2000 has already purchased the rights to turn this into a major motion film, which claims some pretty mind-blowing story is within the covers. This book was even better than I could have imagined and then some.

    The blurb tells you everything you need to know going in; honestly, the less you know the better and the more confused you feel, the more enjoyable your reading experience will be. Every single chapter had some sort of twist, and whether it was minor or major, it got me. EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. This book was somehow 400 pages, but it went by too quickly. I kept saying “Just one more chapter” and next thing you know, it was finished. Sort of. Because

    book #2 is coming! Well, once she writes it of course. (No pressure Steph. I’m only gnawing my nails to the bloody nub in anticipation.)

    Surprisingly, one of my favorite things about this book was the budding romance between Julian and Scarlett. I must be maturing (HAH!) and opening my reading door to some new things, because years ago this would have grossed me out to the core. The good news is it isn’t gross and cheesy; the tension continually grows throughout the book but it is really quite clean. This is something I wouldn’t bat an eye at letting my teenager read; the romance was tastefully done and, while refraining from being cheap and raunchy, sucked the reader in as the relationship grew. IMO, this showed what true talent the author had in being able to gain the reader’s interest in her romantic composition without relying on overdone sexual situations that are graphic and distracting from the heart of the story.

    I know Scarlett is supposed to the the show stopper here, but Julian stole the limelight for me. I fell in love with his character from the first page he showed up; he’s rugged, bold, and hilarious while carrying meaningful dialogue and playing a deeper role than just eye candy. I found myself cheering for him constantly throughout the story, and even when suspicion is cast his way multiple times (which both was rightly and wrongly cast), I couldn’t have cared less. This series I believe was set up, not as a complete focus on one character with many supporting roles, but as a character study on multiple people with a more complex story that interweaves multiple interests. While it is told mostly through Scarlett’s POV, we have a view into other’s interests as well, and the massive cliff hanger on the final page has set this up to be a strong series that should continue without a hitch.

    There is an overall dark feel to this book, and there is some disturbing violence in a fantasy-related sense, but it was necessary and intriguing to the story line. The mystery surrounding Legend and his traveling Caraval performers was breathtaking; I found myself completely lost in this otherworld. To me, it had a historical fiction feel with a side of science fiction due to the fantasy aspect, which made for a unique read. I’m not sure what else to add, other than I have an advanced case of Caraval hangover and need the book #2 cure ASAP. If you enjoy Young Adult novels, regardless of your age, you’ll want to open your heart and your book shelf up to this one. I hate writing reviews this far in advance for a book that doesn’t come out until next year, but go ahead an pre-order, make a note to yourself to request at your library in January, or go to NetGalley and request your copy, because it will have a guaranteed spot on my Top 10 Wrap Up at the end of the year.

  • Lola  Reviewer
    Aug 14, 2016

    I’m very impressed with this book. The most important thing you need to know is that, although it’s marketed as such, it really isn’t a competition per se. I mean, it’s as much a competition as THE NIGHT CIRCUS is.

    Sure, it’s a game indeed, a treacherous game that you can lose yourself in at any moment, but it’s not a competition. I’m not going to elaborate, because I’d have to reveal some things that w

    I’m very impressed with this book. The most important thing you need to know is that, although it’s marketed as such, it really isn’t a competition per se. I mean, it’s as much a competition as THE NIGHT CIRCUS is.

    Sure, it’s a game indeed, a treacherous game that you can lose yourself in at any moment, but it’s not a competition. I’m not going to elaborate, because I’d have to reveal some things that will spoil some surprises, so you’ll just have to trust me on that.

    But it’s good, so good. It plays with the reader so well. It’s not only Scarlett who risks her life to win the game, it’s also us, or so I felt. I felt as I were a player myself. Sometimes characters are clueless and don’t see what is in front of them while we readers scream our heads off trying to make them SEE. This never happens in this book. Because whenever Scarlett learns something, we learn it too.

    The reader in me can’t help but try to guess what has happened and who that character is and what the characters will face in the future, etc. I just can’t help myself. And so that’s what I did. But even though I kept trying to have things figured in my mind before the main character ever could, I still ended up being delightfully surprised.

    What really shines in this book is the action. Every new chapter brings a new setting or mishap or character: the story progresses well. Sometimes scenes can be lethargic because of an exaggerated amount of description, but that too never happens in CARAVAL.

    What stole my heart was the magical, fairytale-esque writing style and narration. Though it obviously is a young adult novel – no cross-genre going on – I didn’t mind that it wasn’t more sexy or ghastly.

    It’s very worth reading if you’re a fan of fantasy novels, uncanny and treacherous stories and thrilling, intelligent plots.

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  • Hailey (HaileyInBookland)
    Dec 28, 2016

    This freaking book HOLY CRAP.

    I have a feeling this book is going to be a huge hit when it comes out, and rightfully so. This is the kind of story that you just want to devour because you can't get enough. It's a beautiful story about sisterhood and adventure, full of amazing characters and a delightfully dark world. It's this grotesque Wonderland like world where the Mad Hatter is calling the shots.

    Honestly cannot wait for you guys to get your hands on this. Keep an eye out for it because wow.

    This freaking book HOLY CRAP.

    I have a feeling this book is going to be a huge hit when it comes out, and rightfully so. This is the kind of story that you just want to devour because you can't get enough. It's a beautiful story about sisterhood and adventure, full of amazing characters and a delightfully dark world. It's this grotesque Wonderland like world where the Mad Hatter is calling the shots.

    Honestly cannot wait for you guys to get your hands on this. Keep an eye out for it because wow.

    Video review to come closer to publication date!

  • Hailey (HaileyInBookland)
    Jan 22, 2017

    This is my second time reading this as I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of the audiobook from Macmillan audio (thank you so much to them!) Honestly I loved it even more the second time. The audiobook was so atmospheric and beautiful and I just adore this story so much!!!

  • Kainat Ijaz 《UNPOPULAR OPINION ALERT》
    Feb 04, 2017

    I am genuinely trying to find out who started advertising this book and why? It's been blowing up GR for quite a while now. People with ARC were selling it on eBay at ridiculously high prices. That's how i stopped to notice it. Was that a publicity stunt? If it were, it's not going to help much because the book is shitty. There is nothing new

    I am genuinely trying to find out who started advertising this book and why? It's been blowing up GR for quite a while now. People with ARC were selling it on eBay at ridiculously high prices. That's how i stopped to notice it. Was that a publicity stunt? If it were, it's not going to help much because the book is shitty. There is nothing new or exhilarating here. If anything, it's ideas stolen from a bunch of other books, The Lunar Chronicles, Hunger games, Night Circus and such. There was no originality here whatsoever, on top of all that IT'S BORING AF!

    The only characters who held my attention were Iko

    and Dante. Obviously, if you are interesting, you aren't good enough for this book. They are no one of relevance. :/

    Let's talk about Scarlet, our main character. I really tried to like just because of that name of hers. Scar from Lunar Chronicles is my absolute favorite! Unfortunately, similarities don't go any further than their name. This Scarlet is one of those characters who we are constantly

    is clever, adventurous, and ambitious. Let me tell you right now, she is none of those things. Scarlet is gutless and way too naive for my taste. I'm sorry, but i didn't find her to be very intelligent either. Many times i was baffled by her ignorance. These riddles weren't even hard to crack, but it took miss Scarlet pages and pages crying over totally random and irrelevant things till correct answers would slap her right in the face. THEN things would click in her tiny brain.

    Legend is the Darkling figure

    . He is the mysterious host of Caraval. He is dangerous. He is crazy. He is the villain. No one has ever met him, nor do they have any idea what he looks like. He wears a new face every year. And he sees everything. In other words, BLAH BLAH BLAH. At first, i was aboard. I was totally anticipating meeting this Leged. However, at one point his name started irritating me because it's all just talk. He isn't even in the book!

    Julian is a young sailor who helped Scarlet and her sister escaped their evil father. He gave me massive Captain Carswell Thorne vibes. Of course, me being trash for TLC didn't need anything more. When i started looking at Julian as his own character, not Carswell wannabe

    his character is flat/painfully predictable. Didn't buy the romance for a second. It was merely anticlimactic.

    This being said, please don't let me discourage you from reading this. What do I know, I am just a crazy woman who is super picky when it comes to fiction. It's just my, once again, unpopular opinion. UGH, i told you didn't out it there for decoration.

  • Melissa ♥ Dog Lover ♥ Martin
    Feb 20, 2017

    HOLY CRAP ON A CRACKER! Loved it! ❤

    I guess I should put up the big ole spoiler label just in case I get spoilery!

    First off let me just get this off my chest. I wanted to smack Scarlett about 15 times during the book because she said this one thing about 50 billion times.

    I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. <-- Okay those are not t

    HOLY CRAP ON A CRACKER! Loved it! ❤

    I guess I should put up the big ole spoiler label just in case I get spoilery!

    First off let me just get this off my chest. I wanted to smack Scarlett about 15 times during the book because she said this one thing about 50 billion times.

    I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. I have to get back to get married. <-- Okay those are not the EXACT words but still - ya get me?

    But I digress =)

    The sexual tension between Scarlett and Julian could melt butter! And gave me some twinges at times. Good twinges!

    I guess I should just crack on with the book =)

    Soooooooooooo, Scarlett and Donatell (Tella) have a jerk face for a father and they are stuck on an island with him. He will do horrible things to them or other people if they dare try to escape. But Scarlett has a way out, she is to marry some dude her father set her up with and take her sister, Tella, with her. Scarlett has never met this man and her father won't tell her anything about him. Like that's not sketchy.

    When Scarlett was younger she used to write letters to Master Legend for years trying to get him to come to their island with his Caraval. Of course he never comes but one day many moons later he sends a letter to Scarlett inviting her and Tella and a guest to his Caraval on an island down on the right.

    Scarlett is so happy but she knows she won't be able to go because she will be getting married soon but Tella gets her to go. It's an unsavory way but Scarlett, Tella and Julian (whom Tella met while he was visiting their island) all end up at Caraval. And it's crayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! Things and people are not what they seem.

    And they say that Legend creeps around watching people. You also have the choice of watching the show or participating in the show to get a special wish at the end if you are the winner. But the show can drive you mad.

    Turns out Tella is put into the show and everyone in the show must find her or she could die! What? Julian decides to help Scarlett out and it's so freaking good!

    I'm shutting my mouth and not saying another thing because you need to read it and find yourself in the crazy land of Caraval. I wonder where the next book will take us! =)

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