Caraval by Stephanie Garber \\ Vivid World + Complex Characters = Perfection!

January 2, 2017 // Posted by Lisa in Reviews // 11 Comments

Caraval by Stephanie Garber \\ Vivid World + Complex Characters = Perfection!Caraval
by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Find It: GoodreadsAmazonBarnes & Noble
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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.

lisa chats

This book, guys! THIS BOOK!! As most of you know, I’m quite hesitant about reading fantasy books. I struggle with them often, making my enjoyment of them rather hard to come by. But, oh boy, did I LOVE Caraval!! Everything about this book was utter perfection and I can’t even handle my own excitement right now!!

Scarlett and Tella, two completely opposite sisters, have been living a rather poor life. Their father is horrible to them, and both sisters do anything they can to protect the other from him. Scarlett has gone so far as to agree to an arranged marriage with a man she’s never met, solely for the purpose of escaping her father’s bad temper and evil ways, and in hopes of bringing her sister along with her. Caraval has always intrigued the sisters since a very young age when their grandmother told them all about her experience there herself. After many, many letters written to the brilliant mind behind Caraval, they are finally invited to join Caraval as special guests. When Tella is kidnapped as part of the game of Caraval, Scarlett must play the game, and win, in order to save her sister and return home in time for her wedding.

I loved the strong sisterly bond between Scarlett and Tella. They had each other’s backs at all costs, and I loved seeing such a strong familial bond between siblings. There was also a bit of a romance in this story, which I won’t say too much about since I don’t want to give anything away. I’ll just say I totally shipped it. Hard. The characters in this story are some of the best I’ve ever read. The way Stephanie Garber can make me care about even an evil character is incredible.

Everything about this story was amazing. The world of Caraval was so magical and intriguing. I adored how nothing was as it seemed, always keeping me on my toes. Caraval isn’t just a game… it’s a performance filled with deception, trickery, and loads of twists and turns. When you finally think you may have an idea what’s real and what’s fake, another twist knocks your socks off. This story is seriously incredible. The vivid world of Caraval Stephanie Garber creates and the boatload of complex characters, along with her absolutely gorgeous lyrical writing, made this my favorite book of 2016!



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About Stephanie Garber

My favorite place in the world is Disneyland because it’s the one place on earth where I feel as if the fantastical stories I love to write about could actually come to life.

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. I’m also a blogger on PUB(LISHING) CRAWL. But I probably spend most of my time on Twitter where I tend to overuse exclamation points and emojis.

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.

My debut YA fantasy novel, Caraval will be published January 2017 (Flatiron Books/Macmillan—US and Hodder & Stoughton—UK). Caraval has sold in twenty-five foriegn territories and the movie rights were pre-empted by Twentieth Century Fox.

lets chat

Have you read Caraval? Is it on your TBR?



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  • Wow this sounds amazing, Lisa! I love a strong sister relationship so I’m sure with that aspect, I’d like the story. Plus the world of Caraval sounds very intriguing!I’m so curious about the romance now!! Lovely review!
    Genesis @ Latte Nights Reviews

  • This one is definitely in my TBR! I came in a little late to the party as fantasy is not my usual genre but the reviews have been amazing! I just put in my NetGalley request yesterday. Fingers crossed.

    • I’m not usually a fantasy reader either, but a few of my bookish friends told me I had to read this immediately. I can see why – it was AMAZING! I hope you enjoy it as well!

  • GAHHH so much hype around this book. It really made me interested in it to be honest because I wasn’t very hyped for it before. But now I am. Definitely.

  • I absolutely agree with your review–CARAVAL is absolutely fantastic and magical and wonderful. I’ve been raving about it to anyone who’s willing to listen for a year now! It’s definitely going to hit the NY Times Bestseller list 😀 Lovely review!

    Brittany @ Brittany’s Book Rambles

    • Thanks, Brittany!! So happy to hear someone else that was as floored by it as I was. The wait for book 2 now will be torture!!!

  • I’m so so excited to read this! January 31st can’t get here fast enough!!

  • Caraval was INCREDIBLE. I was so pleasantly surprised by how much I wound up loving this book. Now I just need the sequel…

  • I so wanted to love this one, but something about the characters didn’t fully work for me. I really liked the whole setting though and I’m intrigued by that ending, so I’ll be picking up the next book for sure.
    Glad you enjoyed this, Lisa!