Caraval by Stephanie Garber

17265822_105480236635798_3677812986992394240_nCaraval by Stephanie Garber

*4.5 crowns*

Truthfully, I set impossibly high standards for this book. I wasn’t sure how it would ever live up to any of them, but somehow it did. The hype on this book has been so unreal, and there is most definitely a reason. It was everything that I wanted The Night Circus to be, but wasn’t for me. If you haven’t somehow heard of this book, I shall give you the blurb…or some nice space to scroll right over. 😉

Once Upon a Time…

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 . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

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.

Now, I won’t be giving any real spoilers to this book, because I went into this book blind, and I think that’s the best way to do it. Not knowing too much really helps put you into the headspace to read this and engage in this gorgeous world. I would definitely recommend not knowing anything other than there’s a circus place, and Scarlett is going to find her sister.

Garber’s writing is lush and beautiful. She managed to create a lively, wonderful setting in just a few paragraphs, and some of the quotes were so beautiful that the quote lover in me squealed. There were a few parts that didn’t sound as smooth, but they were easily ignored by the wonders she created elsewhere. Trust me, with writing like this, I can’t wait to dive into another one of her books.

The plot twists were some interesting as well. I never saw anything coming, and I was simply hooked. I just kept wanting to go and go and go until I found out the end, and when I did, my mind was blown. Trust me, I didn’t see that huge plot twist, and I usually pride myself on being a Book Detective.

I also enjoyed the characters quite a bit. At first, I wasn’t super crazy about the love interest. He seemed a little too YA Male cliche, but by the end, I did like him quite a bit. I never super connected to Scarlett, but I still rooted for her and wanted her to succeed. All of the other side characters were interesting and added quite a bit to the story.

Scar…I mean Anna is here to say hello again! She is totally not who I pictured this entire book.

The romance was good as well. I did totally ship Scarlett and her love interest together, but truthfully? The romance fell on the backburner for me. That’s right – somehow Garber managed to get this Book Princess to focus on something other than the feels! I was just so enthralled by the plot and the atmosphere.

This book was everything that I had originally hoped it would be. It had some minor issues, but this book has been like a slow simmer for me and keeps getting better the more I think about it. It had a captivating, solid plot; it had great characters; it had a good romance; and most of all, it had a lush writing that I so wanted. Carnival books are making a comeback this year, and Garber certainly lived up to hers. I cannot wait for the companion book in this series, because I can’t wait to see where Garber takes us next.

Rounded up to five crowns, and an Anna rating – which I mean, how fitting can you possibly be?


Check it out:

What do you think? Have you read Caraval? Do you have books that you’ve held to insanely high expectations? Let’s discuss in the comments below!


Tonight’s the last night for Round 3 of Book Madness, so make sure to get your final votes in and chances in for the epic prizes they have up right now! Make sure to check it out here! And maybe say hi to Inej for me? 😉 Here is my original post here!

And also, I do have a giveaway going right now for my ARC copy of Gilded Cage by Vic James. Don’t forget to enter here if you live in the U.S.!

Enter here for the Rafflecopter giveaway!

37 thoughts on “Caraval by Stephanie Garber

  1. BROKE MY BLIND CODE JUST TO READ YOUR REVIEW!!! GOSH I WANT TO READ IT! I WANT TO KNOW! I WANT TO BE SURPRISED/SHOCKED/FLABBERGASTED!!! 😁 Next month I’m reading this. No doubt about it! *hopefully* Lovely review, as usual!!! 💫💖💫💖💫 Mandy, you just made my excitement levels SKYROCKET! Give yourself a pat on the back. 🙆

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Love, love, LOVE this book!!! Excellent review, Mandy! Garber’s world-building is just phenomenal in this book. I am DYING to read the next one. So excited that it’s going to be a series, because it totally could have been a standalone as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I KNOW. It was so mean to end it like that. Like, I just want to know moreeeeee. Do you know if it’s going to be…um…SPOILER…Tella’s story? I kept me so hidden away from anything I had no clue what the second story is even going to be about and if we know XD

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Some lovely people with bad judgement (my parents) are letting me loose in a book store later today, and this review has convinced me to pick this book up! I’m so excited to get to it!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m glad you liked this one as well! I though the writing was strong and descriptive. The romance was secondary for me as I really enjoyed the game and the magical elements. That ending was perfect! I didn’t see it coming and I thought it was probably the most entertaining part of the book. The characters were great, but I think they have a lot of room to grow! Great review! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I definitely agree with the room to grow! I’m hoping the second book definitely takes that on, and I can’t wait to see what Garber does with it. And lol, you’re right about the ending. It totally thought I had it but it just got me. XD thanks so much!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Ohhhh, I absolutely love this review! It’s like you’ve looked into my brain and wrote all my thoughts down! 😀 I adored Caraval and it’s definitely one of my favourite releases this year! And wow, now that you’ve said it, I won’t be able to stop picturing Anna as Scarlett!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. LOL, thank you!! Yes! I was so scared that it wasn’t going to live up to its hype, but as you said, it turned out to be SO GOOD. :O I’m so pumped for book 2. And lol I’m not sure whether or not to say sorry because at least I wouldn’t be the only one. I didn’t picture Tella as Elsa, though, surprisingly. XD

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I know! I’ve been doing the same thing lately, and it’s literally driving me insane. It’s like, girl, you need to wait because this wait is a killer for everything. XD I’m just as impatient as you are for books. XD

        Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m glad this one lived up to its hype! That’s so rare nowadays… I grow curious about it every day. But alas, there’s so little time and so many books XD
    I’m glad there weren’t any spoilers in this so I could enjoy reading your awesome post and still look forward to this mysterious story!
    Great review, Mandy 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I know! Most books literally get so hyped up and just fall sooooo flat. But this one did mostly live up to its hype. But I know what you mean. XD There is literally no time and SO MANY BOOKS.
      And thankies! I tried because that’s how I went into the book, and it really was so nice that way.


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