BOOK REVIEW: Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

BOOK REVIEW: Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie GarberCaraval (Caraval #1)
by Stephanie Garber
Purchase on: AmazoniBooks
Add to: Goodreads


Welcome, welcome to CARAVAL, Stephanie Garber’s enchanting, NEW YORK TIMES bestselling fantasy debut about two sisters swept up in a mysterious competition filled with magic, heartbreak, and danger

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 attend. 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 whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, and her sister disappears forever.

Continue the adventure in Legendary and Finale―out now!


Caraval was a young adult fantasy that swept me away.  This book completely enraptured me and I had to know what happened next.  With jealousy, trust, betrayal, and love filling the pages, I absolutely adored this story!  But just a heads up, you definitely want to read this before Once Upon a Broken Heart.  I was told otherwise, and I wish I hadn’t read OUABH first.  There was a huge spoiler for me, that made me realize a scene was not what it seemed, ugh.

For the first time in her life, she’d felt special.  Chosen.  But once again, rather than feeling as if she were playing the game, it seemed as if the game were playing with her.

Scarlett was someone I easily liked.  She tried her best to protect her sister from her father’s wrath.  And she thought her arranged marriage would help her and her sister, Tella, escape from the little tiny island they lived on.  So her lifelong dream of attending Caraval was fading away, until she got an invitation to attend this year.  Tella and a sailor took Scarlett to Caraval, yet not everything was what it seemed.  Tella was taken by the creator of Caraval, and whoever found her first was not only the winner, but got a wish too.

Scarlett tried to wiggle free, but the look on his face stopped her.  He’d never stared at her like this before.  Sometimes he gazed at her as if he wanted to be her undoing, but just then it was as if he wanted her to undo him.

From the moment Scarlett found herself on the boat with Julian, I was hooked.  I loved that he called her Crimson.  And while Julian was a complete mystery, I loved the tiny bit that we knew.  He seemed to have a kind heart and his humor cracked me up.  Yet Julian had many shades of gray.  And I wondered what secrets he was keeping from Scarlet, because he seemed to know more than he shared.  So while I didn’t understand why I could be so nervous for a man that seemed to have lies swirling around him, I couldn’t deny I had fallen for him.  He captured me so easily in his web.

“Julian,” she said in a whisper, as if anything louder would destroy the delicacy of the moment, “why are you doing this?”
His amber-flecked eyes met hers, and something in them made her breathing hitch.  “I’d think that answer was obvious.”

The pages were filled with riddles galore, and I was glued to this story.  The world Scarlett found herself in was shrouded in mystery.  And it seemed like there were wisps of magic everywhere.  From her dress, to those she met, to even what her eyes witnessed, it had to be magic.  Or maybe you just weren’t supposed to trust what you saw.  But as the story unfolded, Scarlett learned that this game had a deadlier side.  Death, blood, and loss could be found in the pages.  And scenes left me staring in shock.  I couldn’t believe what had happened.  Who knew Caraval was so dangerous…..

Scarlett didn’t know how many times she repeated his name.  She said it like a prayer.  A plea.  A whisper.  A good-bye.

If you love young adult fantasy, I can’t recommend this book enough!  And if you love romance laced into your stories, you’ll definitely be happy.  The earrings, day of life and message in the clock had my heart soaring!  The moments that Scarlett and Julian were together, were everything!  Now I’m excited to read Tella’s story next!

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1 Comment

  1. Sophie

    I am so happy you finally read it and loved it Jenn!

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