BOOK REVIEW: Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie GarberLegendary (Caraval #2)
by Stephanie Garber
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Synopsis:

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever...

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . the games have only just begun.

“Not everyone gets a true ending. There are two types of endings because most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, where the situation feels hopeless. But that’s when hope is needed most. Only those who persevere can find their true ending.”

Some books are instant reads. Some books take a while to sink in. Some books you know you need to wait until you’re in the right mood. And some books-some books will be good no matter when you start them. That is this book.

“Scar, I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I swear there is nothing going on between Dante and me. You know how I feel about boys who are prettier than me.”

But, in this case, it was also that other book that I wasn’t in the mood to read until recently. And do you see what the result was? Do you understand how it wickedly dipped it’s claws into my heart, gouging me from within, causing rivulets of blood to seep into my soul? We all know Garber loves her blood, though, am I right?

For it was also said the Prince of Hearts was not capable of love because his heart had stopped beating long ago. Only one person could make it beat again: his one true love. They said his kiss had been fatal to all but her—his only weakness—and as he’d sought her, he’d left a trail of corpses.

I needed this book when I was at my lowest of lows, when no other book was doing it for me, when I didn’t even know it was the cure. I’ll admit that, while everyone probably knows I’m an emotional mood reader, this book took a little longer for my interest to pique. Was it because I had gotten the Caraval ARC so long ago that the new release seemed underwhelming because of time? Was it because my daughter was born only two months before and I just was too exhausted to pick it up, then lost track of time and forgot all about it and eventually decided ‘eh, I’ll pick it up when I pick it up since it’s not shiny and new anymore?’ Was it really a time thing? Or was it something deeper? Did I know my heart would yearn for the more complex, yet so wonderfully simple, things in life the older and (dare I say) more mature (sophisticated?) I got? No matter the reason, I wasn’t ready for this book, and if I had read it sooner I’d have ruined it. That’s what I do know.

So enter Tella.


I’m not the type of person that likes when main characters change, so I was having a somewhat hard time reconciling the fact that I was no longer going to be following Scarlett and Julian as closely. But once this book got past the first couple chapters-I was hooked. The love interest, to me, didn’t seem like he was going to bring anything new to the table, and perhaps he didn’t, but all of sudden, when we got to that ball, early on, I was done. In fact, that scene was pivotal in so many ways it shaped the tone for the rest of the story.

Scarlett was Tella’s person—the one someone in the world whom Tella could always count on. Tella might not have believed in falling in love, but she had literally bet her life that Scarlett loved her. Tella would destroy the world before she allowed anything to happen to her sister.

Tella is headstrong. Tella loves adventure and men and living life to the fullest-and she loves her sister so dearly she trusted that she’d come through for her during Caraval. But Tella doesn’t believe in love. She doesn’t believe in giving herself over to someone so fully they can hurt you. Unless it’s her sister, or, in this case, her mother, expending that love to anyone else is a risk-and she’s not willing to take it. But Dante is dark and alluring and he always seems to come through for her. And I’m so trash for it-I really am.

Tella had exchanged things with other young men, but never hearts, and though she still had no plans to relinquish that part of her to Dante, she was beginning to understand how hearts could be slowly given away, without a person even realizing. How sometimes just a look, or a rare moment of vulnerability like the one Dante had just shared with her, was enough to steal a fraction of a heart.

And that’s the thing with this series-I feel like I can’t say much about anything, yet the art and the fangirling and the obvious love for it is everywhere, so how do people not know things? I’ll stay true to myself and not spoil anything…but man do I want to. Scarlett is on her own secret missions, Julian knows something he’s not telling anyone, Tella meets a mysterious new guy, Jacks, who is more than meets the eye, and the stakes of Tella winning the game are so high-they might just cost her her life. This book is so out of this world imaginative without being crazy (I lie-it’s so crazy), I can’t help but to fall deeper and deeper in love with it the more I think about it.



The seamstress shook her head, again muttering something about Tella having no idea what sort of game she was playing.
But Tella knew exactly what type of game she was a part of: one that would destroy her and the people she cared about if she didn’t win.

There’s just something so deep and moving, to me, when a male character plays like he can’t be the hero for the heroine and, in this case, truly means it and exercises it. But they are always always first in line to save the damsel in distress, to do sacrificial things that don’t seem like a big deal to them but are actually the world to the heroine and, actually, extremely deadly, and who would stop time, move the world, and alter the stars to make sure the girl doesn’t die and…these heroes speak to my heart, make my soul soar, and make a giddy fangirl out of me. And, even better? I love when the hero and heroine have a witty repartee going. And I love love love when the girl has another guy nipping at her heels, making the hero have to show a little grit of the teeth, a little tensing of that square jaw, and a flash of jealousy in those heavenly eyes. Again-trash for it.

DROWN IN IIIIT

And Julian like…I can’t help but be obsessed with him as well, too. His story is so amazing, to me, the way he would do anything for the girl he loves, even though he has serious commitments elsewhere-in this book we see Scar and Julian’s relationship tested, and Julian falters a lot…but I think we’re in for an epic end to that love story and I’m so here for it-I always loved these two, and I loved that we got to see it here. And that’s the thing-I never care for other couples when it comes time to move on, but we can’t truly move on from these sisters. They have two sexy as hell brothers, and I need both of their HEAs in my life, OKAY?!

“If you’re here to learn about Legend,” he said, “I can tell you more than anyone inside there.”
“Would you tell me who he is?” Tella asked.
“You know I can’t do that.”
“You could if you were Legend.”
Dante’s voice rumbled with a laugh. “If I was Legend I’d definitely never tell you.”
“Because you don’t trust me?”
“No,” he answered slowly, gently tugging her even closer. “I’d hold on to my secret because I’d want to keep playing the game with you, and if I told you the truth it would spoil all the fun.”

And the peril. Like…no it’s not crazy but there are so. Many. Scenes. That take my breath away, that made me gasp and smile simultaneously (because I’m a sick individual, we know this), and one scene even resulted in epic proportions unmeasured in recent history. Well, okay, I’ve had some good peril moments lately (and I bet in book 3 we’ll get mooooreeee), but there are two scenes that make my life complete. I love them. I need them. I want more of them. I shall return for them and re read them over and over and over again-I do so love a good hero saving ‘not his girl but he sure loves this girl’ scenes. I don’t think there are enough well written scenes that test the hero’s willingness to die for the girl…we need more of this, yes? Yes. Always. Infinitely. Never enough.

Tella claimed she didn’t want love—she liked to say love trapped and controlled and ripped hearts apart. But the truth was she also knew love healed and held people together, and deep down she wanted it more than anything. She enjoyed the kisses, but a part of her always wished that whenever she walked away from a boy he’d run after her, beg her to stay, and then promise he’d never leave.

And, because of said romantically perilistic scenes that had me so happy I could have peed my pants, I immediately took to the Twitter verse I’m so horrible at to find special editions of each (I am in such huge trouble here. SUCH HUGE TROUBLE). And. Every. Caraval and Legendary and Finale edition. That’s right-I’ve spent way too much, and gotten way too much merch. And I STILL haven’t found it all-but I’m SO CLOSE I CAN TASTE IT. My Finale luck has been immense, But that’s due to my awesome foresight (and UK Bestie, the unshakeable Pea) and ability to realize I need that bright red cover in my life, and all it’s brothers and sisters right next to it-all shapes and sizes and colors and ethnicities-we’re all equal here, okay? One love and all that jazz? I don’t discriminate-paperbacks, hardbacks, colored pages, signed pages, UK editions, different colored editions, book box editions…I want them all, I need them all. But, alas, I’ve failed on at least two-I’m hoping my luck changes! EEPS!

…there was more to life than staying safe.

So, here we are. I’m just a girl, loving a book, falling harder for a series many are obsessed with, spending more money than I have on merch and pining away for the final book. But maybe that’s the thing-my body wouldn’t let me read the second book so quickly because it knew I’d need the last book as soon as possible. But honestly, really, do you think this was an accident? Fooled you all. I had it planned the whole time, you sillies.

Now who’s the genius.

**********************

Why. Why did I wait so long to read this book? Where has this book been all my life?

Do you hear that? That’s the sound of my slump flying far, far away.

RTC

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