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  • Stephanie Garber

Caraval


5/5 STARS

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.

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To say I devoured Caraval would be an understatement; this book has literally blown my mind to pieces. Ever since I finished Harry Potter, there hasn’t been a book that could make me believe in magic again… until Caraval. It left me speechless: I’ve struggled to find the words to describe how incredible it was.

The writing was elegant and beautiful and captivated me. It drew my mind into the dark, dangerous game of Caraval and I was hooked. I turned page after page, spellbound. Each time I tried to put the book down, I succeeded for all of two minutes before my hands betrayed me and picked the book up again.

Garber has created a dark, mysterious and beautiful world and the characters within are equally as dark, mysterious and beautiful. All of them possessed such unique and alluring personalities: I found myself caught up in their lives and the choices made during the game. I felt their elation, their fear and utter devastation at betrayals they did not see coming.

The plot never slowed and never lost me. It was well-paced and I feel that’s what made the novel more exciting and what drew me in -- I could clearly picture everything in my head, like a movie, and those kind of novels are the best kind.

The ending took my breath away; I saw nothing coming at all (mind you I saw nothing coming the whole novel). The plot twists were masterfully created and after I turned the pages and cried a little on the inside at the thought of waiting for book two, I found myself thinking with a smile, ‘The game isn’t over yet…’

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