Review of Caraval by Stephanie Garber

caravalCaraval
By: Stephanie Garber
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Publisher: Flatiron
Format: Print ARC
Source: Publisher

My Rating:
star

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

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.

My Thoughts:
This book was so beautifully written and the story- gah I loved every word. Caraval has easily became one of my favorite books ever. I can’t wait for everyone to read it and love it too. I loved the magical atmosphere Garber infused into this book. It truly felt mysterious and the world was so beautifully described. Scarlett sort of sees emotions in bursts of colors and this gave the book something unique and magical. All of the descriptions were so vivid and lush. Tell me this doesn’t make you want to cozy up with this drink…

Browned suger and melted butter with hints of cream and toasted cinnamon. It tasted like the best parts of the Cold Season, mixed with just a hint of heat. ARC page 188

The story was told from Scarlett’s point of view. She was the older sister and felt a responsibility to take care of her younger sister- Tella. Tella feels she needs to get the most out of her life and struggles with how responsible Scarlett is. Their father was cruel and a really intimidating villain to me. He smells of overripe plums and so when the color purple, or plums are mentioned I actually felt anxiety. I feared what he’d do to the girls which amped up the tension. When one sister stepped out of line he’d punish the other sister since he knew their love for one another would hurt more than personal physical punishment. He was manipulative and vindictive.

Early on, Scarlett gets thrown in with the character of Julian. He’s instantly likeable to me even though he seems untrustworthy. But, I couldn’t help but fall for his charm. These two are unlikely companions throughout the novel. Julian had insider knowledge of the game and so he helps Scarlett along her path to find her sister. You never exactly know if Julian was telling the truth and we are left as in the dark as Scarlett on whether to trust him or not.

I loved that Caraval was as foreign to me as it was to Scarlett. I journeyed with her through all the twist and turns. I never knew exactly what was real and what wasn’t. I would think I had something figured out then that would get thrown out. As Scarlett encounters characters I never knew if they were good/bad/ neutral. I didn’t know who to trust.

The character of Legend was incredibly mysterious. I don’t even know what to make of him- what exactly are his motivations? Is he purely evil? I just don’t know! I can’t wait to learn more in the next book. The open ended questions are intriguing rather than frustrating. I was riveted completely and I feel that this world could be explored so deeply and there are so many characters that could have their own stories written about.

I loved every detail Garber included, each character (even tiny side characters) and it all flowed so perfectly and created such an immersive reading experience. It all felt very initial and it was evident the author knows her world and has many other twists up her sleeves.

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Final Thoughts:
I am in love with the game of Caraval, the world, the characters and the writing style. Give me all of Stephanie Garber’s words please.

Stacking the Shelves

I feel like lately SO MANY amazing books have been releasing and my mail has been really spectacular. I am such a happy reader. I immediately had to start reading Caraval and A Shadow Bright and Burning. I’m not far in ASBaB but I’m more than half way through Caraval. It has been one of my favorite books I’ve read. Period. I’ll be starting The Sleeping Prince very soon. I’m so excited.

Stacking the Shelves hosted by Tynga’s Reviews is a weekly meme where you show what books you’ve purchased, gotten from the library, received from giveaway, as gifts or for review.

The Books

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I purchased The Rose and the Dagger and The Star Touched Queen and the rest were sent to me by publishers for review consideration. Thank you Flatiron, Scholastic, Random House and Harper!

You might know that I’m showcasing my convention haul from TLA a bit different by taking an individual shot of each picture. I will be using a hashtag over on Instagram for each of these pictures: #mfafTLA16bookhaul. You can find me here.

I’ve shared these books so far:

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This Is Our Story by Ashley Elston
Poisoned Blade by Kate Elliott
Gifted by HA Swain
Heartless by Marissa Meyer
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco
Blood For Blood by Ryan Graudin
The Telling by Alexandra Sirowy
Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson
The Reader by Traci Chee
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron
Vassa In The Night by Sarah Porter
And the Trees Crept In by Dawn Kurtagich
Furthermore by Tahereh Mafi

How was your week? Get any great mail?

Recent Books on My Radar

Sometimes I like to peruse Goodreads and get excited about books that aren’t releasing for AGES. I guess it’s a form or self torture but I still love doing it. I thought I’d share some of my latest finds with you!

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Also, my blog might be pretty quiet this week because I’m going to a conference at the end of the week if the weather permits. Near where I live we had some major flooding last night and there might be more. We really hope not but there’s rain in the forecast.

Books I’m Excited For

Add these to ye olde TBR Wish-list. I’m including the title, author, GR summary and link

Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.

Borders-0327883214Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and 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.

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24763621Wintersong by S. Jae-Jones

Beware the goblin men and the wares they sell.

All her life, nineteen-year-old Liesl has heard tales of the beautiful, mysterious Goblin King. He is the Lord of Mischief, the Ruler Underground, and the muse around which her music is composed. Yet, as Liesl helps shoulder the burden of running her family’s inn, her dreams of composition and childish fancies about the Goblin King must be set aside in favor of more practical concerns.

But when her sister Käthe is taken by the goblins, Liesl journeys to their realm to rescue her sister and return her to the world above. The Goblin King agrees to let Käthe go—for a price. The life of a maiden must be given to the land, in accordance with the old laws. A life for a life, he says. Without sacrifice, nothing good can grow. Without death, there can be no rebirth. In exchange for her sister’s freedom, Liesl offers her hand in marriage to the Goblin King. He accepts.

Down in the Underground, Liesl discovers that the Goblin King still inspires her—musically, physically, emotionally. Yet even as her talent blossoms, Liesl’s life is slowly fading away, the price she paid for becoming the Goblin King’s bride. As the two of them grow closer, they must learn just what it is they are each willing to sacrifice: her life, her music, or the end of the world.

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29631300The Architect of Song by A.G. Howard

A lady imprisoned by deafness, an architect imprisoned by his past, and a ghost imprisoned within the petals of a flower — intertwine in this love story that transcends life and death.

For most of her life, nineteen-year-old Juliet Emerline has subsisted – isolated by deafness – making hats in the solitude of her home. Now, she’s at risk to lose her sanctuary to Lord Nicolas Thornton, a twenty-seven-year-old mysterious and eccentric architect with designs on her humble estate. When she secretly witnesses him raging beside a grave, Juliet investigates, finding the name “Hawk” on the headstone and an unusual flower at the base. The moment Juliet touches the petals, a young English nobleman appears in ghostly form, singing a song only her deaf ears can hear. The ghost remembers nothing of his identity or death, other than the one name that haunts his afterlife: Thornton.

To avenge her ghostly companion and save her estate, Juliet pushes aside her fear of society and travels to Lord Thornton’s secluded holiday resort, posing as a hat maker in one of his boutiques. There, she finds herself questioning who to trust: the architect of flesh and bones who can relate to her through romantic gestures, heartfelt notes, and sensual touches … or the specter who serenades her with beautiful songs and ardent words, touching her mind and soul like no other man ever can. As sinister truths behind Lord Thornton’s interest in her estate and his tie to Hawk come to light, Juliet is lured into a web of secrets. But it’s too late for escape, and the tragic love taking seed in her heart will alter her silent world forever.

NYT bestselling author, A.G. Howard, brings her darkly magical and visual/visceral storytelling to Victorian England. The Architect of Song is the first installment in her lush and romantic Haunted Hearts Legacy series, a four book gothic saga following the generations of one family as — haunted by both literal and figurative ghosts — they search for self-acceptance, love, and happiness.

New Adult: Recommended for ages 17+.

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27414389A Darkly Beating Heart by Lindsay Smith

A time-travel story that alternates between modern day and 19th century Japan as one girl confronts the darkness lurking in her soul.

No one knows what to do with Reiko. She is full of hatred. All she can think about is how to best hurt herself and the people closest to her. After a failed suicide attempt, Reiko’s parents send her from their Seattle home to spend the summer with family in Japan to learn to control her emotions. But while visiting Kuramagi, a historic village preserved to reflect the nineteenth-century Edo period, Reiko finds herself slipping back in time into the life of Miyu, a young woman even more bent on revenge than Reiko herself. Reiko loves being Miyu, until she discovers the secret of Kuramagi village, and must face down Miyu’s demons as well as her own.

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25760792Timekeeper by Tara Sim

In an alternate Victorian world controlled by clock towers, a damaged clock can fracture time—and a destroyed one can stop it completely.

It’s a truth that seventeen-year-old clock mechanic Danny Hart knows all too well; his father has been trapped in a Stopped town east of London for three years. Though Danny is a prodigy who can repair not only clockwork, but the very fabric of time, his fixation with staging a rescue is quickly becoming a concern to his superiors.

And so they assign him to Enfield, a town where the tower seems to be forever plagued with problems. Danny’s new apprentice both annoys and intrigues him, and though the boy is eager to work, he maintains a secretive distance. Danny soon discovers why: he is the tower’s clock spirit, a mythical being that oversees Enfield’s time. Though the boys are drawn together by their loneliness, Danny knows falling in love with a clock spirit is forbidden, and means risking everything he’s fought to achieve.

But when a series of bombings at nearby towers threaten to Stop more cities, Danny must race to prevent Enfield from becoming the next target or he’ll not only lose his father, but the boy he loves, forever.

The stunning first novel in a new trilogy by debut author Tara Sim, Timekeeper is perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare and Victoria Schwab.

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Do you have any of these on your list already?