[Book Review #83] ARC: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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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.

Book Specifications:

Author: Stephanie Garber

Format: ARC

Part of a Series: Yes. Caraval #1.

Release Date: January 31, 2017

Publisher: Flatiron Books

No. of Pages: 401 pages

Price: $18.99

Genre: Young Adult, Fiction, Mystery, Adventure, Action, Fantasy, Magic, Romance

Book Review:

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I borrowed an ARC of this book from my friend Louisse of The Soul Sisters which in no way swayed my opinion about the story. I also got the chance to listen to the audiobook a bit early, approved for me by Flatiron Books. 

Ever since it surfaced the book blogosphere, and twitterverse, I’ve been so massively in love with Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Other than it’s breathtaking cover and the fact that Stephanie is an absolute darling on Twitter, I also adore the premise. It’s basically a mild fantasy story that focuses on the value of sisterhood, and taking risks, and you know how much I love reading stories like this.

Okay so first off, I wanted to highlight the beauty that is the inside of this gorgeous book. Not only is it an eye candy on the outside, the inside pages are equally as gorgeous. With chapter pages that are attractive and aesthetically pleasing to the eye, one won’t argue about the value of this treasure. I actually can’t wait to see an actual print of this, specifically in Hardcover format. Also, a map is in the works, so I’m definitely looking forward to seeing a finished copy.

The hype that the book produced with it’s first few pages was no doubt maintained up until the last page. I adore how Stephanie was able to concoct several highs and lows in the story, keeping up with the standard that was set during the introduction. With scenes that were all gripping, exciting, and just filled with whim, Caraval will no doubt have readers on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

People were marketing this book as one that was filled with both fantasy and whimsical tones, and it didn’t disappoint. From the start, and just with the synopsis alone, one would know that this book is about the great value of family and sisterhood, and I’m so glad to have been more than delighted with the story’s outcome. Not only was it centered on Scarlett, our MC, trying to find her sister, Donatella, while having to survive the clutches of Caraval, and it’s master, Legend, but it was also mixed with little servings of swoon, and romance. (Hello, Julian!!!) I love how subtle the romance was between him and Scarlett, and also how the romance aspect of the story didn’t overshadow the overall theme of the book. I liked that.

I also liked how all throughout the story, the message of Caraval being just a game remained loud and clear. Even the reader tended to have clouded judgments from having to choose what was really going on, and I love the added mystery that this brought to my unique reading experience. Seeing this succeed just added up to my overall satisfaction with this book.

Audiobook Review:

The Audiobook of Caraval, narrated by Rebecca Soler, should you ask me to describe it in one word, I would definitely answer: MAGICAL. It’s cliché, I know. But that’s the only word I can think of. Rebecca did an amazing job at giving both Scar and Tella their fairly unique voices, and I can’t believe she actually pulled it of, since it is a bit challenging to do so. But yes! Hearing the dialogue between the characters, as well as listening to how the narrator describes the world building made the reading (or listening, rather) experience a lot more unique and exciting. Although, obviously, this is my first time to review an audiobook, so that’s probably one of the many reasons why I’m so elated.

Overall, considering everything: the writing, the story, the plot, the characters, the audiobook, Caraval is one amazing book to start the new year. This will definitely not disappoint, and I definitely recommend it for those who like to read Fantasy stories with more than just action, magic, and action scenes.

“Take a break from the usual fantasy story and read Caraval! Nowadays, most fantasy books would highlight suppressed powers, love interests, and massive wars. With Caraval, you get to read something that highlights the unparalleled values of FAMILY, and SISTERHOOD, something that I honestly haven’t read about in such a genre. This book will take you on an unforgettable adventure with characters that might be rough around the edges at first, but will come to be some of your favorites in the end.”

RATING:

Characters – 5.00

Plot – 5.00

Writing Style – 5.00

Pacing – 5.00

Ending – 5.00

TOTAL – 5 Stars

Quotable Quotes:

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

“No one is truly honest. Even if we don’t lie to others, we often lie to ourselves. And the word good means different things to different people.”

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.”

About the Author:

Stephanie Garber is the author of Caraval, which will be published January 2017 (Flatiron Books/Macmillan—US and Hodder & Stoughton—UK). It has sold in twenty-five foriegn territories and the movie rights were pre-empted by Twentieth Century Fox. Caraval is her debut novel.

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2 thoughts on “[Book Review #83] ARC: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

  1. Fantastic review! I’m so glad this book lived up to the hype for you. I’m always nervous when going into a book that has so much excitement around it… but I’m still looking forward to finally getting my hands on a copy! 🙂

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