Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: January 31, 2017
Genre: mystery, romance, fantasy
Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .
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.
Step right up readers, you’re in for a treat because this year’s performance is not one you’ll want to miss.
Scarlet has always wanted to see the magical game of Caraval. After seven years of writing letters to master Legend, Scarlet loses hope of ever seeing the game. Until, that is, Legend responds . . . with three tickets to this year’s game.
Scarlet and Donatella (Tella) are sisters living under the cruel control of their father. Neither have ever left the isle of Trisda, so when Legend sends three tickets to Scarlet, Tella seizes an opportune moment to take herself, her sister, and a sailor – whom she’s just met – called Julian, to a secluded island for this year’s game of Caraval.
When Scarlet and Julian reach Caraval, they realise Tella has been abducted. In their attempts to find her they realise the first clue of this year’s game is in Tella’s disappearance. Given just five clues, and with only five nights to play, Scarlet must figure out why Legend has abducted her sister if she is going to leave the game with her sister alive. But remember to not get to wrapped up in the performance . . . it’s all just a game.
Not knowing who to trust, Scarlet desperately tries to crack the clues before the other contestants. Not only will she be led to her sister, she will also be rewarded a wish – something every contestant is desperate to win.
Stephanie Garber creates a world of charm, where the line between reality and fantasy is easily blurred; a game that combines theatre with an adventure-packed game! From beginning to end I was clueless to the plot, there was never a predictable moment. There were times I felt very lost in the book, not really knowing where the story was going but by the time I reached the ending, everything fell to place perfectly. I chose to give this book five stars because I was captivated in Garber’s world of mystery from the opening pages, I couldn’t predict any part of the book, and I completely lost myself in the performance of the characters – I was more bewildered than Scarlet (in a great way). Caraval is mysterious, enchanting, and seductive; a game for the adventurous. I would recommend this read for anyone 15+.