ARC Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber


Book cover for Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I received an ARC from Raincoast Books in exchange for an honest review.

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: January 31, 2017
Stars: 5/5

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

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Although 2017 has only just begun, I can tell that Caraval is one of the best books of the year. The concept is so original and the main character is so clever. I adored the world of Caraval and how beautifully described everything is. This book is a must-read!

Caraval is so different from anything I have ever read. It is hard to describe this book since it is so complex, but basically, it is about a girl who must save her sister by completing the game of Caraval. I loved the sisterly bond between Tella and Scarlett and how they would do anything to protect each other. I also really enjoyed the scavenger hunt-like elements in the book and all the challenges that Scarlett must face. There are so many layers that really make the story come to life, something that can be difficult in novels like this one.

Scarlett is the ideal main character for Caraval. She is so intelligent and able to solve each puzzle so quickly. If I were in Caraval, I would definitely be out by the first night. Scarlett is also so compassionate and really only does things for other people. She is so determined to win the game and save her sister and is so sweet. This girl also knows how to get what she wants, which was actually pretty funny at times.

One of my favourite things about this amazing book is the beautiful setting. While the ARC that I have doesn’t include a map,  I really felt like I knew this world. Stephanie Garber has honestly thought of everything, even the way time works on the island. Her descriptive writing style makes the world believable and will make the reader feel as if they are in the game as well. The world of Caraval is definitely among my favourites.

Caraval is a complex story about a mysterious game with a main character who is selfless and intelligent. The setting is so vivid and makes the whole story even more believable. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out!


19 thoughts on “ARC Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

  1. Kelly says:

    So many amazing reviews for this book so far…I don’t think I’ve seen a negative one yet! I just got an ARC of it, and I’m so excited to dive in! I’m so happy to hear that the world in this book is beautiful – I love world building, and it’s one of my favorite part of novels such as this! Your review has really made me want to start this like right now!

  2. Antonela says:

    I entered your January 2017 new release giveaway because girl, I NEED THIS BOOK ♥ Seriously, I read nothing but amazing reviews, and I just want to devour it as soon as it’s released 🙂 Looks like a magical and intriguing journey, the kind of story I fall for 😀 So glad you liked it that much!

  3. Jaime Lynn says:

    I am so glad you finally got to read this one. I had the pleasure of reading it a few months ago, and it was oh so pleasurable! I cannot wait for the next book of this series, because I can only imagine just how amazing it will be!

  4. Luna & Saturn says:

    This book is definitely the one we’re most anticipating for 2017. Glad to know that it doesn’t underperform at all. It’s great that the female protagonist is intelligent – she has agency. Love your review of Caraval!
    ~ Pendragons 

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