Co review: Caraval

After buddy reading many books together Stephanie @ Bookfever and I decided to do something different and do a co-review.  

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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 rating:

Was there anything that stood out with the storyline to you?

Stephanie: Um everything? It was one of those stories that was just so unique and different from other YA fantasy books. The whole magical feel of it was superb so I would say that was the thing that stood out to me the most.

Christina: This was definitely a very unique book! You really did feel as if you were in a magical place when reading it, so yes a lot of things stood out. Storyline, scenario even the characters.

What are your thoughts on Scarlett, the main character?

Stephanie: I won't say she's my favorite MC of all time but I did like her and her determination to protect her sister Tella and to find her in the game. I also thought her character went through some growth throughout the story. She definitely wasn't the same person at the start of the book compared to the end, which is always great. I also liked how Julian called her "Crimson." Sorry, I just HAD to mention that! 

Christina: We all know we don’t want a whiny heroine, despite Scarlett not being on board at first and basically not really wanting an “adventure” I didn’t think she was whiny, nor annoying, but she wasn’t one where you think wow this girl kicks ass. However she was very realistic and thought she did a lot of growing throughout the book. And from what she’s been through, she’s strong that never changed. And in her own way, she did kick ass, she go through a lot to find her sister Tella and never gives up.

How did you feel about Julian, did you trust him? 

Stephanie: I really liked him but did I trust him? And I don't want to say if he is trustworthy or not in case there are people who haven't read the book yet but... there's a lot of mystery surrounding him so I wouldn't say I trusted him all the time, no. It was a fun games of figuring out who he was and when it was revealed I was a bit shocked so there. That's all I'll say. ;) 

 Christina: At first I didn’t really think he would be part of the story, thought he was just there really quick and would disappear, but as we went further and he was still there I started to like him more and more. Especially his nickname to Scarlett, Crimson. I will say though, I had a lot of theories about who he was through the book and trusting him? Never really know if I did, kind of went back and forth. 

How would you describe the book in one or two words?

Stephanie: Magical mindfuckery 😂
Christina: Magical and mysterious.

What's your favorite quote of the book?

Stephanie“Hope is a powerful thing. Some say it’s a different breed of magic altogether. Elusive, difficult to hold on to. But not much is needed.” 

Christina: Okay so I was trying to pick just one and I couldn’t… woops.

 “Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.” 

“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.”

What are your overall thoughts?

Stephanie: Caraval was magical, very mysterious and had the right amount of swoon, in my opinion. It was also a fairly quick read because I basically only wanted to read on and find out what would happen next. Every chapter ended in a way that made me thing damn, I just want to read the next chapter. It was like that with every chapter, basically. It had also quite a lot of action, which I loved. I really liked some of the secondary characters, too. cough-Julian-cough. And of course there's that ending that simply killed me. Beware of the cliffhanger! I need the next book NOW!

Christina: LOVED IT! It was magical, you felt as if you yourself couldn’t even trust what was going on. You barely knew what was real and what wasn’t, just like Scarlett. And it was amazing! I just love the whole concept of Caraval pretty much, opening at night, mysterious location and characters. Every chapter made you want to read more and more, because you just had to know what would happen next and then end just makes you want the next book immediately.

About the author:

I’m the international and New York Times bestselling author of Caraval.
When I’m not writing, I teach creative writing at a private college in Northern California, where I’ve been known to turn assignments into games and take students on field trips that involve book signings.
To help pay my bills during college, grad school, and the breaks in between, I worked as a barista, a waitress, a bartender, a customer service representative for an energy consulting company, and as a sales girl at Bath and Bodyworks. I also spent years working with youth; I worked as a counselor at space themed summer camp, volunteered at a school for deaf children in Mexico, and I took multiple groups of college students overseas to spend their winter vacations serving at youth hostels in Amsterdam. But out of everything that I’ve done, writing young adult novels has been my favorite job.


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