Caraval by Stephanie Garber



Author: Stephanie Garber

Published on: 31 January 2017

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance

Pages: 401

Format: Paperback

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Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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.

Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

This novel is amazing. On the surface, Caraval sounds like a circus which is filled with fluffy candy floss, laughter, and magic but it is more sinister and darker than what it seems to be. While reading the novel, I keep questioning the events that had occurred. ‘Is that just an elaborate performance or is that what the character actually feels at that point in time?’ Let’s just say, for the entire novel, I’m so confused about the motives of some characters, and the events that had occurred – whether they are just a performance or reality. It is only when the truth is revealed that everything makes sense. I have to applaud the author for coming up with such an elaborate and well thought-out plot.

‘We will try to convince you it’s real, but all of it is a performance. So while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away.’

That sentence in the novel makes me question everything that I’m reading. The events all feel too real to be part of a performance, and yet, I can’t shake off the feeling that with ample amount of magic, the performers can technically make it look life-like. At one point, I make a sound guess on who Legend is but I remember that sentence and start doubting myself. This cycle continues till the truth gets revealed.

Moreover, the numerous plot twists catch me off guard every single time. Just when I think I manage to predict what is going to happen, the story takes a turn and something unexpected take place instead. That is when I start doubting the guesses and hypothesis I make prior to the plot twist. At the end of the day, I guess this story causes me to play mind games with myself.

I don’t want to spoil the novel for readers who haven’t read it. My suggestion would be to read Caraval without any prior knowledge about it. And that is when you will experience the wonders and magic of Caraval. 😀



  1. I’m so glad that you liked this book! It’s one of my favourite reads of 2017! I loved that I never knew what was happening and like you said, whenever I thought I had something figured out, something else entirely happened! It was full of twists and turns but SO GOOD! Lovely review 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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