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By: Stephanie Garber
Fantasy, Young Adult
Abuse, Sexual innuendo, Violence, Magic, Death
Remember it’s only a game. Or is it?
I have to admit. I was reluctant to read Caraval by Stepanie Garber. It seemed as though all the young adult fantasy books in 2017 involved (fill in the blank evil parental figure) and a (female heroine) who has been oppressed by said diabolical relative. However, this book’s description, and the reviews on Goodreads, captivated me and pulled me in. This book cast a spell on me that enchanted me from the very beginning all the way to the end. Okay, bear with me. If you can get past the basics, this book will knock your socks off. (I am still looking for mine.) Caraval falls between the Harry Potter series (my all-time favorite fantasy series) and The Hunger Games a book I recently read, loved, and reviewed.
Scarlett, our main protagonist, writes to the “Caraval Master” every year hoping that he will invite her and Tella (her younger sister) to Caraval. Caraval is an elaborate “performance” filled with magic and intrigue, and the people that are invited are either players in the game or observers. Unfortunately, every year, Scarlett is disappointed when she does not get a letter in return, and it seems as though she had given up all hope. Out of the blue, the Caraval Master Legend sends Scarlett an extraordinary invitation. Will she take this once in a lifetime opportunity?
Here’s the glitch. Scarlett and Tella have a father who is Governor Marcello Dragna and demands complete obedience from his two daughters, and he uses any and all physical force and cruel deception in order to control their every decision. Scarlett and Tella are eternally loyal to each other, and they would never dream of being separated from each other. Enter, Julian, a mysterious sailor who promises to transport the sisters to the mystical land where Caraval takes place. Tella desperately wants to go with her sister to Caraval and escape the abuse. However, Scarlett is betrothed to a man who she does not know. Although Scarlett does not even know her fiancé’s name, she has built him up in her mind to be their savior. Scarlett is confident that her soon-to-be husband will rescue the sisters, and he will keep them safe from their father for the rest of their lives. Therefore, Scarlett hatches a plot to protect Tella from Caraval.
However, a twist of fate forces Scarlett to travel to Caraval to save Tella from the Caraval’s Master, Legend. Along the way, Scarlett discovers the rumors about the master illusionist Legend, the rules of the game, and most importantly, every time you use magic, there are severe consequences. Will she figure out the riddles, and save her sister from a sinister and manipulative mastermind? How far will Scarlett go to save Tella?
Caraval is spectacular! I was completely enthralled with the vivid descriptions and all the twists and turns! I am eagerly anticipating the second installment of this short series. Legendary is available today!
If you liked Caraval, you might also enjoy Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Parts 1&2
and The Hunger Games
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What is your favorite Book? Why?