Hello, people of the internet!
Let me tell you lot one thing: the book I’ve just finished reading has been talked about and is currently a best-selling book. I don’t normally go for books which have a lot of hype, mainly because sometimes hype can make a book sound like a masterpiece when in actuality it is simply okay.
But then I heard that it is reminiscent of Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus – one of my favourite books of all time – I just had to read it.
Does it live up to the hype?
Author: Stephanie Garber
Published date: 31st January 2017
Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.
Scarlett and Tella have never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.
Caraval is magic. Mystery. Adventure.
When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is an elaborate performance. But she quickly becomes entangled in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak.
And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.
The plot alone did catch my attention. It was something both somewhat familiar to The Night Circus – which its use of magic masquerading as a performance, the fun carnival/circus with a dark purpose and romance – but also very different. Yes, whose those elements I aforementioned, it is similar to The Night Circus, but Caraval should be treated as its own book. It certainly deserves to treated as so. I just thought I’d make the comparison because of those similarities…and the fact that I adore both books!
Not once did I want to rush this book to get to the end. It is nicely paced with an interesting, lovable protagonist. Scarlett is a lovely character with a great story arc (seriously, when she becomes more confident and brave, I actually cheered her on!). The other characters were well-written in their own right. I liked the ones who were meant to be liked and I hated the ones who were meant to be hated. They may not be the most developed characters, but still good characters nonetheless.
The plot itself was unpredictable, the twists worked – in that not once did I groan, feel confused or openly cry out, “SERIOUSLY! THAT IS BU-“, and so on. It did develop the plot and keep me on my toes. I can say with confidence that the twists in Caraval are deserved and gone well. What a twist indeed! The only predictable part of the plot is the romance between Scarlett and Julian. I did see it coming as I was reading it, but I like the relationship between them. I felt the sections describing their love were especially brilliant. Their love didn’t feel forced to me; I don’t know if anyone else would agree with me, but the way it was written made me believe they were in love with each other.
The Caraval itself is a very magical place! I did feel as I was reading it that I was there experiencing it alongside Scarlett. I have read a lot of fantasy stories, but the shops, gardens and performers in Caraval are things I can’t truly compare to anything else. Yes, The Night Circus did have quirky characters who dealt with magic like the performers in Caraval, but (and this is a big but and I cannot lie) the performers in the Caraval don’t feel like copies of characters I have read in other books. They are people I can only find in Caraval. I think that it a huge accomplishment.
And last, but not least, is the cover…Oh my goodness is that cover gorgeous! And that’s only the dust jacket of the hardback! If you take it off, you’ll find another cover underneath. There are multiple covers for Caraval, including a top hat, a dress, a clock, etc. The cover I have is this one:
I encourage you to look up these covers and see for yourself. You won’t be disappointed!
Congratulations, Stephanie Garber on writing this wonderful book! You should be very proud. I’m going to give Caraval 4.5 stars out of 5. It is a dark yet magical book with twists and I strongly recommend it to those who love fantasy and magic.
Thank you for reading!