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Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Guys. This book. Oh my god. I cannot believe that I read nearly the entirety of this in like three days which is super abnormal for me now. This book had so many twists and turns and I was basically reading with my jaw on the floor the entire time.

The story

I didn’t know what to expect coming into the story. I hadn’t really heard much about what the book was actually about, I’d only heard that the main character was pretty likable and that I’d be in for a ride. Both were true. 

Caraval was this magical place that honestly, I’d love to visit. It was mysterious and intriguing and it actually reminds me a bit of Westworld. I feel like it’s a place where people believe that everything they do there isn’t real. They could kill someone and it’d be fake. But it carries with them despite what they may think and from that perspective I think that Caraval is a lot darker than it seems to be. 

In terms of the themes of the book, I was surprised at how dark it got. Considering the book is categorized as YA, I expected it to be rainbows and butterflies. I was pleasantly surprised to see that it was like a disguise. Caraval was much more than it was talked up to be. Not only were sins committed, but they were almost encouraged? 

The story was overall amazing. I felt fully immersed in Scarlett’s story and the decisions that she was making were relatable to what I’d do in the same situation. I found myself screaming at the book, laughing along or swooning with Scarlett as she discovered the secrets that Caraval had to uncover. 

“She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.”

The characters

I think this is probably the most important part of the book. Scarlett was a likable main character and a fairly easy narrator. From my own experiences, I found myself relating to a lot of her struggles and decisions. I found myself realizing that I’d do the same things that she would for the people that I love. She’d go to the ends of the earth for them, die for them, and so would I. At times it was evident that Scarlett had never had the chance to choose herself. Her main priority at all times of her life had been to choose the option that would be best for the safety of her sister. I found myself wanting more for Scarlett and wishing she could find herself through her experience at Caraval. The small parts of her that were being discovered were things that she should have had the chance to find ages ago. She deserved so much more than she believed she did and I’m happy that despite her devotion to her sister, she is starting to see that she deserves good things too. 

I have to be honest here, Scarletts sister, Tella, was kind of annoying. Don’t get me wrong, she made up for it all and I was pleasantly surprised at her by the end of the book, but at the same time, she just wasn’t doing it for me. She took Scarlett for granted constantly. It was always about her. I get that she’s supposed to be the spoilt sister, the one doted upon by Scarlett, but it just made mad because how could she not see how much her sister does for her? How could she not recognize how much her sister gives to protect her and keep her safe? I’m worried and excited at the same time to see what Tella is going to be like as a narrator. I’m wondering if she’s going to pull a Nesta and do a full 180 and become someone who I actually enjoy reading about. 

Julian, oh Julian what a complete surprise he was. It gave me whiplash from the amount of times I hated and then loved and then hated him again. Despite that, I fell for him in the process and I loved his devotion to Scarlett. 

Legend..what can I say here? There are mysteries to still uncover is all I can say. 

Worth the read?

Yes. Yes. Yes. If you’re into tons of plot twists, mysterious worlds and a lot of romantic tension, this is the book for you. It was spicy, easy to read, and had a world that would make you fall in love with fantasy. 

Welcome to Caraval.

Rating: 4.5/5★

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