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. Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.
My rating: 3.5 stars
If anyone has read my reviews, it's clear that characters are very important to me. I can deal with any book that has strong characters even if the story isn't that original or good. So with that being said, my reason for such a low rating for this book has everything to do with characters. I just did not relate to any of them. Not Scarlett or Julian or Tella (because she' wasn't in most of the book). Certain things happened that just had no affect on me. I did finish this book in one day because the mystery was too great and I had to know what was going to happen next. I wanted to know who Legend was and that's what fueled me to keep reading. I also really enjoyed Garber's writing. I thought it was so lyrical and beautiful and she has a way with words. The world she built with Caraval was magnificent and vivid. I thought the story was unique and well done.
I just did not connect with the characters. I thought Scarlett was naive and her instance on marrying someone she'd never met and a man that her cruel father picked for her. Her father was clearly a man who did what was best for him and would benefit him in the long run that he would not have chosen a man who would treat Scarlett any better than her father. I just found it annoying how she argued and defended this man against anyone who dared said anything about him when she'd only had letters from him. She wasn't a strong character and so scared of everything. And everything seemed to surround getting home to marry a stranger. I did like her fierce determination to protect her sister. I think that's what blinded her to the faults of her fiance and what it could mean for her in the long run. Throughout the book she was focused on saving her sister and when it came down to her sister and a boy, she chose her sister even when she knew she was in love with the boy. I thought that was amazing and showed her selflessness. I liked some of the things Tella had to say and the way she forced her sister's hand in getting her to Caraval. She wasn't in the book except in the beginning and in the end. I liked Julian from the beginning and hoped he and Scarlett would have something once I realized Tella had no interest in him. But it was hard to connect with his character because of who he was and how shifty he seemed to be.
I will read Legendary since it's about Tella and I still want to know who Legend is. I hope it is revealed in the next book. I'll start it in a few days and I hope I like it more than I ended up liking Caraval.