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Finale – Stephanie Garber

I’m one of those readers that rates books super high if they make me feel anything at all. Caraval, book one in this series had my heart in a chokehold. I was extremely disappointed with the second book of the series, Legendary, which I finished yesterday through an audiobook. Giving Finale a chance was something I was wary of doing. I promised myself this year that I’d work on following my moods and listening to my heart when it comes to reading. I don’t have to finish a series if I’m not liking it, I don’t have to continue if my heart isn’t in it. Despite this, giving Finale a chance was like giving it a small glimmer of hope, and Finale ran with it. 

Was Finale worth my chances?

I was surprised at how easy it was to get through Finale was. To be fair, I did put it on 3x speed and binge-read it within a day as I wasn’t sure how long my interest would hold, but regardless, it wasn’t nearly as horrible as Legendary was. I found myself enjoying the little glimpses we got of each of the characters’ stories as they worked to tirelessly finish their difficulties with the fates and move on from Caraval. 

The sibling dynamics of the Dragna’s

I think one of the biggest reasons for my enjoyment of Finale must be having Scarlett back as a narrator. Tella just didn’t align with me. I found her pretentious, a little bit full of herself, and just not the kind of main character that I enjoy. Scarlett is a little more timid, I’ll give her that, but she’s also bold and exciting when she intends to be. The differences between the sisters are endless but their main and most important trait is their love for each other. I feel like when you put siblings in the same story together there’s often some sort of fight or lack of love between them. I love how Garber was able to create a trilogy where both pairs of siblings (Legend and Julian, included), were able to protect each other like siblings should do. 

Worth the trilogy read?

The main reason that I started reading the Caraval trilogy was because of the hype around the Once Upon a Broken Throne trilogy that Garber has written more recently. I think that the two series aren’t super connected but there’s a few tidbits and easter eggs that relate back to the Caraval trilogy. 

Was it worth it? I couldn’t tell you. I found it a struggle to get through these past two books, despite the first one being a genuinely good story. The last two books in this series were predictable, a little too young adult, and just not what I wanted from them. Tella’s narration made me bored, almost a little sick of the “magic” of the story. It didn’t seem remotely as magical as when Scarlett was narrating Caraval. 

With all of this, a few romances sprouted which I did find myself actually liking. The tension between Scarlett and Julian never ever ceased to have me in awe. I fell hard for Julian in the first book and definitely never stopped falling for him. Dante was an interesting love interest for Tella but I can see why the tension was there. They were both mysterious characters and Dante definitely had his secrets. 

I think the character that was the most interesting was Jacks, even though he was a side character. He was funny, witty, and almost too morally gray. That’s the kind of love interest I like. I love the enemies to lovers type of thing, and Dante and Tella just didn’t give me that. I wouldn’t have hated an ending where Jacks got what he wanted. Despite his hardships and the evilness of Jacks, he truly deserved a happy ending – which, if I’m right, is what the second trilogy is about. 

To answer the question of whether the series is worth the read, I’d have to say that if you’re looking for a magical romantasy that’s more middle-grade/young adult than new adult/adult, then this would be a good fit for you! The series was pretty good, the story was interesting if you’re okay with point of view switches, and the romance was pretty decent too. Give it a shot if you’re curious, but read it for Julian and Jacks most of all. 

Rating: 3/5⭐

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