Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre: YA Fantasy
Released: 31 January 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Series: Caraval #1
Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.
Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.
Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.
When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval 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 only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed 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.
A wonderfully magical and mysterious read that will pull you into the game of Caraval and the deceptions of its performers. But remember, it's only a game...
As her arranged marriage draws nearer, Scarlett fears that she'll never get to experience that magic of Caraval, a magical performance that involves players and watchers. But when tickets for Scarlett and her sister Tella arrive to this year's game, she doesn't want to risk the marriage that will get her off the isle of Trisda and her abusive father. With the help of the mysterious sailor Julian, Tella manages to get Scarlett and herself onto Master Legend's island and into Caraval, but as the game begins, Tella is kidnapped - she is the what the players must find in order to win the game and the prize of a wish from Legend. Despite being told that everything in Caraval is just a performance, she gets swept up in the illusion, with the help of an unlikely ally, determined to find Tella before the game ends and she loses her forever.
This book has received so much hype that I was both excited and apprehensive going into it. But after a few chapters, I was hooked, and like Scarlett, swept away by the magic and mystery that Caraval performs. In Caraval, nothing is at it seems, and almost everything is a performance, and that's just the same for this story. It was so easy to be sucked into the game, and as the game went on, it became easier to become disillusioned by the characters.
Caraval is such a magically beautiful and mysterious world. Stephanie made even the most simplest items mystical and magical. I loved the descriptions of the world and could read about Caraval all day. Magic seeped from the pages.
There are so many twists and turns in the book that, near the end, I was struggling to understand it all. Everything you think you know about Caraval is completely altered the further you get through the book.
I really enjoyed the ending of this book, and if it hadn't been for the epilogue, I would have been quiet satisfied with it being a standalone. I'm intrigued to see where this story goes in the second book of this duology, and only hope that the magic and mystery of Caraval continues.
I absolutely loved this book and devoured it in a few days. It is fast-paced and will have you hooked. Escape into a world cloaked in magic and mystery and get swept into up in the adventure that is Caraval.