by Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: January 31st 2017
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 . . .
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved 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 far-away, 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. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.
"She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out."
This book as been EVERYWHERE recently and now I understand why! It is written beautifully and keeps you on your toes from the first page right up until you close the book. I was mesmerised by the world in which Stephanie Garber was able to create and I got lost in the world of Caraval along with Scarlett.
Caraval is the story of Scarlett as she dreams of a better life, away from her abusive farther. A life where she is married to a kind man that takes her and her sister out from under their fathers tight grip and into a world where they can be free. However, a week before her wedding Scarlett receives the letter she has been waiting years for, an invitation to the mysterious Caraval. Caraval has its own set of rules and when Scarlett and her sister Tella arrive on the island the games begin. Tella is kidnapped and every player in this years Caraval has only five nights to find her. The person to find Tella first will receive one wish but for Scarlett it is more than a game, it is her sister and she will do anything she has to get her back. Scarlett was told twice that this was a game and not to believe anything she may believe to be real but when her heart is at risk the line between what is real and what is not begins to blur.
Unfortunately this is one of those reviews where I have to keep it short and sweet because the reason this book had me on tender hooks throughout was that I didn't know what was coming. So as not to risk any spoilers I'm going to keep to the bare minimum. Caraval is full of unpredictability's and I found myself getting turned around just as often as Scarlett. I felt like I was there with her, my jaw hitting the floor more times than I could count and my heart breaking right along side hers. The characters are well thought through, flawed and captivating. They make this story, as you come to care for them and what happens to them as the nights of Caraval play out. It had moments that made me laugh, moments that made me smile and moments that had me hoping I had read it wrong.
Overall Caraval had everything you could possibly want from a YA book! It was magical, enchanting, heart-breaking, entertaining and most of all beautifully written. I have no idea what is in store for us in book two but I eagerly await to re-enter this world once more when it comes out. For a debut novel I am stunned and if this is just the start of what Garber has to offer I can't wait to read more!