WRITTEN BY: Stephanie Garber
PUBLISHED BY: Hodder & Stoughton
VERSION I READ: hardback – UK (rose)
(PLOT BY GR)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.
I have been waiting to reading this book since months and I finally received it in the January FAIRYLOOT which was a remarkable BOX! So I pick up this book the day after I opened the BOX and I decided to read it for this month #OWBOOKCLUB as BADASS FEMALE.
“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.”
“Caraval” is the Stephanie Garber debut as a writer and she completely nailed it; the book had a magnificent marketing team in the UK who did an outstanding job with FIVE secret covers (a rose, a dress, a clock, a circus and a hat) for the hardback copies. This book was surround with such an hype and I don’t usually get well with hype-books I tend to get too excited and when I am finally able to read the book I got underwhelmed by it but “Caraval” is the exception: it is such a good book and I got into it knowing actually nothing about the plot except the fact that “it is just a game”.
Caraval is a game organized by Legend where you can play (or watch) only if you have been invited to and you need to solve a mistery; rule n. 1 of Caraval is to remember that it is just a game and you cannot trust everybody you met — the winner is allowed to be granted a wish. A real wish. Caraval is the closest you will ever find yourself magic in this world.
The main characters are Scarlett and Tella, two sisters, who have been fan of Caraval and Legend since they were little girls and when they finally received tickets to the game they caught the opportunity as a loophole to run away from the abuses of their father.
This debut book has been an enchanted reading. There is no a single moment when Caraval gets boring or confusing. This book is just full of magic and you cannot put it down. “Caraval” is written in third person but the main focus of the narrator is on Scarlett and the reader knows only what Scarlett sees; the entire story is a mind game for both the characters and the reader: I didn’t trust anyone until the end, at some point I didn’t even trust Scarlett.
Stephanie Garber has been able to write a compelling story about two strong and fearless sisters who would do everything in order to protect each other with a magical setting. You will catch the magic everywhere in Caraval: my favorite one is a mood-dress which changes colors if you are happy, mad, nervous, afraid… and a bit of other magic at the end, but it’s SPOILERS so you will have to read it. In “Caraval” won’t miss a bit of love-story but always stay vigilant and trust NO ONE.
A finale note on how the author has been able to transform a literature beloved name in a kind of villain. You will understand when you will read it.