Friday, April 7, 2017

Guest review: Caraval

by Stephanie Garber
407 pages
Fantasy fiction
First book in a series
Reading level: high school

Reviewed by Farah, one of our "Millennial" friends, and a member of the Genre X book club

Caraval is a tale of two sisters, Scarlett and Donatella, who escape their cruel father when they enter the dangerous games of Caraval. Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance in which the audience participates, are over. However, this year Scarlett finally receives an invitation; but this is soon followed by the revelation of secrets about the true nature of Caraval, whose sole target this year is her sister Tella!

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.

First of all, what attracted me to the book was its stunning cover, which is smooth to the touch and renders the title as part of a star, like Caraval should be. Cover aside, you’d want what followed to be just as attractive, and it was, with an elaborate design, a map, and various letters. 

I was impressed by this book. It had a unique style, concept and execution, all of which kept me hooked until the end. Although it’s not (specifically) a competition, it plays a game with the reader, and the writing paired with the characters combine to create a thrilling and exciting ride. What I loved about it is that there’s growth in this book. There’s no sort of “learning before the character” types of situations, because we learn WITH Scarlett, and become engulfed in the action of it, which keeps the reader on her/his toes. This novel kept me guessing, like any show you’d watch on TV. Stephanie Garber did an amazing job, by never letting us know for sure what will happen next. This novel was magical and written somewhat like a fairy tale, which I adored. There is romance in this novel,but it wasn't overbearing or the sole focus of the story. It was sweet, yet we always focused on the plot.

This novel is part of a series. This one was published this year, but I do recommend to read the next ones in the series. I’m sure you won’t be disappointed in it if you loved this one. I give this book a 4.5 out of 5.

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