Cover Image: Caraval

Caraval

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Member Reviews

The marketing for this book was too highly focused on this being the next Night Circus. I was expecting beautiful writing and amazing characters. However, I was met with an average YA fantasy set at a circus type setting. The mareting should have been better because I was let down.
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A fun fantastical read for fans of Roshani Chokshi and Cassandra Clare. While I found myself less captivated by the story than I expected - I just couldn’t seem to fully immerse myself in the world Garner was creating - teen readers who enjoy high fantasy and world-building are sure to devour this title. Plus, with two more to look forward to in the Caraval series, readers won’t have far to search for their next reads.
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I absolutely loved this book- it was more than I expected. And I kept trying to guess what was happening and just when I though I figured something out I was wrong. I would highly recommend.
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One of the best books I’ve read in a long time. The twists and turns keep you on edge through but also there’s a strong story to it. Would recommend to all my fantasy readers.
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I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island that she and her sister and father live on; instead she dreams of the magic that surrounds Master Legend and his traveling show Caraval.  Ever since she was a little girl, and learned about Caraval from her grandmother, Scarlett has held out hope that Master Legend would decide to return to Trisda even though this is something he has never done before.  

Now that Scarlett is almost an adult, she has given up hope of Carval coming to Trisda, and resigned herself to an arranged marriage by her father.  Scarlett knows that the only way to keep her and her younger sister, Tella, safe is to marry a man she doesn't know.  

Everything changes though when she catches her sister with Julian, a sailor, in the basement.  Soon after an invitation arrives for Scarlett, Tella, and Scarlett's unnamed betrothed to come to Legend's private island and participate in this year's Caraval with the chance to win a wish!  

Scarlett doesn't realize though that the game of Caraval is bigger than she ever could have imagined, and the twists and turns she is about to embark on are nothing she could have ever imagined for herself.  

I really loved this book.  I'm disappointed it took me so long to read it finally, but I'm so glad I did.  Garber has created a magical world with Caraval, and the game will keep readers on their toes.  It's such an interesting read; with magic, romance, and adventure, many different readers will find joy in this title.  I highly recommend if for all libraries.
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Nope. I'm sad to say the near-universal hype surrounding CARAVAL utterly mystifies me. None of the characters are likable, and the whole thing felt like it was desperately trying to be a watered-down teen version of THE NIGHT CIRCUS. There is minimal to no character development, no rules to the supposed "game," and therefore no consequences. Everything about this book felt shallow.
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Caraval is amount one of my favorite books ever. It's got magic, loving sisters, family drama, and swoon worthy boys. The world that Stephanie Garber weaves is breathtaking and addictive. I want to run away and join Caraval. The side characters were well fleshed out and added to the mystery and magic of the whole experience. The end has a shock which sets it up perfectly for the next installment. If you loved The Night Circus, you'll love Caraval.
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This was a fast read and I truly enjoyed the different aspects of the game being played.  There were quite a few surprises and twists I didn't see coming.  I can't wait to read the second one!
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Apparently the time has come for me to be a black sheep again. Caraval has been massively hyped for months now, and a sea of high ratings has been coming in. This is one of those times where I end up feeling as if maybe I’ve read a different book than everyone else.



There were a few things I did like about Caraval. The setting’s cool, once Scarlett gets to Wonderland Caraval. The book shines most in the descriptions of the lurid, magical game/town/whatever Caraval actually is. I also enjoyed the system of payment, in secrets and lies and fears. That part was cool, and some of those elements were done in a really fantastic, creative way.

Otherwise, though, very little impressed me about Caraval. What’s the point of a magical setting if the heroine’s going to be the biggest drip, stick in the mud, who needs people to push her in the right direction throughout the entire game. Time after time, Scarlett forgets things she’s just been told, so she repeats them over and over, feeling clever for actually remembering, even though she literally just learned it. Several times someone told Scarlet something, and in the next paragraph she’d be like “Aha! I have figured it out!” because she has finally processed the thing someone straight out told her. Scarlett’s a shocking level of stupid. The only redeeming element is that literally everyone makes fun of her in the course of the novel.



Scarlett as a heroine is frustrating, because with a more dynamic character at the fore, like her sister Donatella, this book could have been so much better. I’ll never understand why so many books choose to focus on the boring character rather than the fascinating best friend or sibling. Side note: THESE NAMES. The one attempt to really make Scarlett interesting is her synesthesia thing, where she sees her emotions as colors, but it’s so poorly done. In some scenes she notes her colorful emotions, but then she’ll go around feeling a lot of things and not experiencing that. This seems to come and go.

Then again, Julian was my favorite character in the whole thing, able to actually make funny jokes and flirt and not be one characteristic. I actually shipped the ship at the start. But then Scarlett and Julian are so serious and dramasaurus and they have known each other for like five fucking days but it’s true love blah blah blah kill me.



Almost every element of the plot I saw coming from a million miles away. Twists are telegraphed. Even when they’re not, you figure them out way before Scarlett does because she’s not bright. Scarlett has to be told what to do at every single point because she can’t figure things out on her own. It’s funny when she tries, because she’s usually wrong. Sometimes, though, she spontaneously figures something out or recalls something, and it feels like such bullshit OOC cheating.

And, much as I like the setting, I know absolutely nothing about the actual world this book takes place in. Scarlett’s constantly pearl clutching and worrying about her reputation, and she wears a corset, so it’s vaguely historical, I guess. But her sister doesn’t worry about that shit really, and I know basically nothing else about this world so Scarlett just feels like a stick in the mud grandma. And for all that Scarlett was supposedly obsessed with Caraval, she knew absolutely nothing about it.



The writing varies. Some parts work well, like the descriptions of the setting. Julian’s banter is good, though he’s really the only character in the book that can do that, and even he doesn’t always. For the most part, the writing tends to be too simplistic for me, and then would veer into ridiculous purple prose, which is only my thing in the right context, and this was not it.

For all that, I basically could not put this book down, because it’s most definitely crack fantasy. It’s not very good fantasy however. But hey, loads of people strongly disagree with me on that, and maybe you’ll be one of them. I might read the second one to be honest, because this was super readable, but I might not because I do not give a shit about these characters.
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The cover to Caraval is what first drew me into the series and made me curious. Plus the title invokes imagery in my head of beautiful circus-type things. The Night Circus is one of my favourite books of all-time so it definitely made me wonder if it was perhaps the YA equivalent.

While Caraval is definitely it's own thing, separate from The Night Circus, I still thoroughly enjoyed the tale of two very different sisters who both want to escape from the life of fear they live. Their father is a monster and with no real end in site to his wrath towards them, an escape to an enchanted mystery game is just what they need.

Of course, things go terribly wrong right away once the girls manage to escape from their father and arrive at Caraval (said enchanted mystery game...) when one of the girls becomes the heart of the mystery that everyone else must solve.

I loved how the characters grew and came into their own-- and honestly? I was reading the book thinking that everything felt so predictable (which isn't always a bad thing!) but the twists and turns that Stephanie Garber writes in were wonderfully refreshing and kept me on my toes the whole time.

Another thing that I loved about Caraval is that despite the fact that this is part of a series, Caraval still manages to wrap up the story presented in the book. There's definitely lots left to be explored but I felt entirely satisfied by the ending and where things were left. I'm curious to read more (because a good writer throws in stuff to hook you in!) but if I never got around to it, I was given answers and resolution that made this book worthwhile.

Definitely check out Caraval!
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Laboring writing and poor presentation, not a story I could finish.
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Full of mystery and magic, I could not put down this fast-paced ride once I had picked it up. Lush settings and a character-rich story made makes this a must read for anyone who loves fantasy, romance or just wonderful words!
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Thank you for the chance to review this book, however, unfortunately, I was unable to download this title before it was archived
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This book was one of my favorites of the year! It was fun, interesting, and exciting. i loved the characters, and the idea. The theme of the circus is original and lovely in the young adult genre, and the characters really tie everything together. Plus, i loved the maturity in the concept. Also the writing was amazing. It was written well and very descriptive. I really felt as if i was in this place.
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My head is spinning! Right from the start you are kept on the edge of your seat. The descriptive details were so vivid it felt like you were standing in each scene. Throughout the whole story, all these questions were constantly swirling around you. Who is Legend? Who can Scarlett trust? Is her mind playing tricks on her and you? Can she trust her own instincts and sense? It was a whirlwind of a ride
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CARAVAL by Stephanie Garber is an enchanting debut. Truly magical.

I was hooked from the very first line and was kept on the edge of my seat with all of its fabulous twists and turns.

Garber’s writing makes it incredibly easy to get swept up in the world of Caraval. I felt like I was living and breathing each moment with stunning clarity. I couldn’t put it down.

This is hands down one of my favorite reads of 2017—not to be missed! I can’t wait for the next book in the series.
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Oh my goodness… you guys, this was SO GOOD and so magical and amazing. I read it 9 months ago and I still can’t stop thinking about it. I also have not been able to figure out how to review it because I LOVED IT SO MUCH that I have no idea what to say. I can’t tell you everything I loved because then I’d just be typing out the book for you. There was nothing I didn’t love to pieces, so writing a review is a truly overwhelming task that I’ve been scared to even begin. lol. I was truly and utterly captivated by and immersed in this story from the first page, and even though it’s over it has not yet let go of me. Part of me is still in that story, unable to let go of it and eagerly anticipating the next book.

Caraval is a magical, whimsical, quirky, convoluted, mysterious, romantic, captivating ball of beautiful words and imagination. The story is dripping with danger and unknowing, with mischievous and  ominous characters. Stephanie’s writing is on point, and her imagination and storytelling ability are on FIRE. I wonder if she rents out rooms in her mind…? The world of Caraval is bigger than our world, and the game has so many layers and mysteries that it’s basically ingenious.

I was fully expecting and intending to write a detailed, organized, and coherent review. But… I don’t want to say anything more than this because it’s honestly better if you have no idea what to expect. I went in very skeptical (hello hype, and the book had not even been published yet!) and not quite sure what to expect. Best decision ever. The less you know about Caraval, the more mysterious and exciting it will feel to you. So don’t read any reviews. Just don’t do it. My review is vague enough that you’re pretty much just going to leave my blog knowing Caraval is a book you’ve got to read. If I’ve convinced you of this, I’ve done my job! If not, write to me and I’ll talk your ear off until you can see there’s no other option.
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After reading this book, I hyped it so much to my book club that the book was constantly checked out with at least 6 people waiting. 

The quick-paced action, the plot twists, the suspense-building centered on characters you love and love to hate . . . it's all wrapped up in this amazing book!
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Wonderful book for young adults.  The idea of something that has always seemed mystical suddenly coming true is exciting.  The heroine Scarlett is strong and clever and manages to have adventures while still taking care of herself and looking out for her beloved sister.  YA readers will love the romance and the themes of betrayal and things not being what they seem.  Caraval is the ideal fantasy book--dreamlike descriptions with very real-world emotions.
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Garber has created one of the most lyrical and beautiful books I have had the pleasure of reading. The story was suspenseful and unexpected without feeling gimmicky or over-the-top. It was gripping, edge-of-your-seat mystery from page one, and had me skipping sleep to finish it. I enjoyed never knowing who or what to trust was real. It was a well-crafted story from beginning to end.

I went into this book thinking it was a stand-alone title, and even though the main plot was brought to a satisfying conclusion, I was pleasantly surprised to find that there will be a sequel. I will (and already have) be recommending this book to every teen and adult I come across with even a hint of an interest in fantasy.
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