Overall Impression: It’s official, I have a new favorite book!!! I have been hearing amazing things about this book for MONTHS, and I’ve been so, so excited to read it. I was NOT disappointed. This book not only lives up to all of the buzz it’s receiving, it surpasses it. By far. There aren’t enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe just how gorgeous, enchanting, and just plain AMAZING this book is.
Wine Pairing: The world of Caraval sparkles with so much magic and luxury that we’re going to skip the wine on this one and go straight for the champagne. This Perrier Jouet Belle Epoque Champagne is ALMOST as lovely as Garber’s prose is.
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.
Book Rating: Even though it’s still 2016, and this book comes out in January of 2017, I’m very confident in saying this is going to be my favorite 2017 read.
Cover Rating: This cover is lovely and whimsical and matches the tone of this novel really well. I cannot wait to get my hardcover edition!
Swoonworthiness: There are multiple swoonworthy characters in this book, but “mysterious sailor” Julian certainly delivers in the romantic interest department. And the end of this book hints at yet another potential swoonworthy character for the next book. (Please, PLEASE tell me there will be LOTS more books!)
Adventure Level: The world in this book is absolutely spell-binding and would be enough to keep you glued to this story on its own. However, the characters also have to solve a series of clues in order to win “the game.” These clues are by no means easy to uncover, and solving them puts the players in very intense situations that will keep you turning those pages.
Mashup: This book is The Night Circus meets The Crown’s Game but more intense. The Night Circus is one of my all time favorites because of its amazing visuals, but I loved Caraval even more. Not only does it deliver in the imagery department like The Night Circus does, but it also has an incredibly strong plot. Like The Crown’s Game, the players participate in a very high-stakes competition, but there area a lot more players in this game, and it all goes down in an even more engrossing setting.
Why You Should Read This Book: If I haven’t given you enough reasons in all of my above gushing to go and pre-order this book IMMEDIATELY, then here are a few more specifics:
The characters are likable yet flawed and constantly keep you guessing. You’ll fall in love withScarlett from the very beginning and keep rooting for her all the way through. Her sister Tella will drive you crazy and make you adore her at the same time. You’ll want to fall in love with Julian, but you know you can’t trust anyone in this cast, not during Caraval. The mysterious Legend is intriguing to say the very least and will leave you wanting more. There’s also some baddies that you will just love to hate.
Garber’s writing is just gorgeous. She brings the world, which drips with magic, wonder, and luxury, to life with her sensuous descriptions that include taste, touch, smell, and color in a way that will make you feel like you are actually there. For example:
Somehow the battered space still managed to smell like Tella. Sharp molasses and wild dreams.
The plot is done perfectly. It twists, turns, and leaves you guessing until the very end.
I simply cannot get enough of this book or recommend it highly enough. I will be anxiously awaiting my hardcover copy to get here on January 31st, so I can experience the magic all over again.
It took seven years to get the letter right.
It was about the same size as her village on Trisda, but it felt spectacularly bigger, the way a word feels bigger with an exclamation point tacked onto it.
Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.
*Wine Recommendations are, of course, for those of legal drinking age only.*