Author: Stephanie Garber
Page count: 402 pages
Released: January 31st, 2017
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Caraval begins with two sisters, living at home with their abusive father. Their mother has long since abandoned them, so Scarlett, being the eldest sister, does everything she can to protect Donatella (Tella) from their cruel father. Ever since they were little their grandmother told them stories of a game named Caraval, where magic existed and strange, wonderful, beautiful things happened. Scarlett has been writing letters to the leader of the game, Legend, begging for two tickets so her and Tella can see the wonders themselves. In her last desperate letter to him, she explains her abusive father and how she’s about to be married to somebody, somebody she hopes will take her and her sister away from their father forever.
And then the receives three tickets. One for herself, one for her sister Tella, and one for her fiance – who she has never actually met before.
And then shit gets pretty crazy.
The entirety of this book is spent with Scarlett looking over her shoulder, terrified of something bad happening or her father finding her. As she makes her way through Caraval, she meets knew, strange people, learning to open herself up and take chances. She learns to live a little more recklessly, and it’s magical just to see her grow so much over the space of a week. But my favourite thing about Scarlett is how honest she is with herself, and eventually everybody else.
Caraval is full to the brim of secrets and deception, and you truly never know if what just happened is real or part of the game. It’s so tricky. Every time something significant happens, and you think you’ve figured out the ending – give it a page or two. You’ll be wrong.
The writing is just as wondrous, words melting into quotes that I know I’ll look back on and love.
I knocked a star off this because the last 70 or so pages were just hectic, and not in a good way. It got too confusing, and I felt like things were a bit messy, using lies to trick the audience just for the sake of it, rather than for effect. But the ending leaves you hanging on, desperate to know what happens next!