Another book that has been on my tbr for a long time that I’ve finally ticked off the list is Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Caraval is the first book in the trilogy by the same name. I was so excited to finally start this series and I’m so glad I did!
Side note: Did I have a small fear that I would set my book on fire with my sparklers? Yes, yes I did.
The story follows two sisters, Scarlett and Donatella – or Tella – Dragna, however this first book in the series primarily follows Scarlett. They are the daughters of the Governor of The Conquered Isle of Trisda. They have lived a somewhat privileged life since they come from a prominent family, however they constantly live in fear due to their abusive father. Now, Scarlett has been betrothed to a Count who lives far away. She has never met him and has only corresponded with him through letters.
Ever since Scarlett was a little girl she has been writing letters to Legend, the mastermind organizer of Caraval, asking him to please come to Trisda. Caraval is a once a year magical performance where the audience participates – think a big carnival with different sights, shows, shops, fortune tellers, artists, etc. The winner each year gets to have a wish granted. Scarlett wrote dozens of letters over the years with no response until she writes to him to say she is now engaged and no longer needs to attend Caraval. Then, her invitation arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Scarlett and Tella run away from home to attend Caraval. As soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped and now Scarlett has until the end of Caraval in 5 nights to find Tella or she will be gone forever.
The whole world of Caraval is so fun, magical, and mysterious. I felt like I was there with Scarlett. The book has fantasy, magic, mystery, and love. The love story isn’t the main focus, but there is one! There are so many twists and turns in the story that I honestly could not figure out what was real and what wasn’t and who was good and bad all the way up to the end!
Two quotes that stuck out to me in the book – one is the intro to the game to give you a taste of the whimsical fun and mysteriousness of it all and the other is a love quote.
“Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game.”
“She remembered thinking falling for him would be like falling in love with darkness, but now she imagined he was more like a starry night: the constellations were always there, constant, magnificent guides against the ever-present black.”
I can’t wait to see what happens in the next book!
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