Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st 2017
Amazon ♡ Chapters ♡ TBD
Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and 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.
Disclaimer: I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affects my opinion of the book.
This is going to sound like a negative review even though I rated it 4 stars because while I absolutely loved the first 90%, the last 10% of it changed my rating from a 5 star to a 4 star. The ending was SO disappointing considering how much I loved the first 90% of the novel. And on top of how this story concluded, I’m not sure I like how it was left open to continue. But like the first 90%? SO good.
The characters, the setting, the magic, and literally everything else was so good. I liked seeing how Scarlett grew throughout the novel from fearing her father and his punishments to understanding that she was magic. I thought that Scarlett was a great character to narrate this one because she wholeheartedly believed in the magic of Caraval to begin with and seeing her amazement and wonderment as we traveled through and solved the different clues was almost as much fun as trying to figure out what was happening.
I liked the setting as well. I thought everything was beautifully described and so vivid in my mind. I could easily picture everything that was used in this novel and if I could control what I dreamt about, I could probably place myself in the world of Caraval. It was the right mix of real world and fantastical so that the reader could ground themselves in reality while expanding upon their imagination to create the rest.
Now for the ending. *sighs* Not only was it confusing af but it was the biggest deus ex machina I’ve ever read in my entire life. For those of you who are unaware of the meaning/trope in literature, deus ex machina is when some new event, character, ability, or object solves a seemingly unsolvable problem in a sudden, unexpected way. And man, I don’t want to give it away but it was ridiculous how easily everything was solved at the end considering how much tension there was. The fact that View Spoiler »the “players” just magically came back to life after was stupid af and only in there so that Scarlett and Julian could continue their romance in the next novel tbh « Hide Spoiler. I was just super not impressed with the ending, especially after how much I enjoyed the first 90% of the novel.
Am I still going to get my pre-order? Yes. Am I still going to read the next novel? Yes. Am I happy with how this ended? No. I would recommend checking this out from the library. But if you pre-ordered it, I would keep that receipt close just in case.