A game of magic and deception, illusion, intrigue, mystery and chance, and of course Caraval Master Legend. Not everything is what it seems, nor should you be. Don’t believe everything you read and look out for missing clues.
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.
My reading experience:
I hardly know where to start with this book, such was I taken aback by its ocular and olfactory prose, I was there, on Isla de los Sueños. Quickly drawn into the obedient lives of Scarlett and Donatella, two sisters abandoned by their mother and left with their violent father on Trisda, Conquered Isles of the Meridian Empire, Stephanie Garber creates a magical world of dreams and wonder. Scarlett has been told stories of Caraval by her Grandmother, and since she was a little girl, has desired to do almost nothing except experience the elaborate performance that is Caraval. Her whimsical sister desires nothing but to escape their father, and with the charm of a stranger, hatches a plan to get them both to Caraval. It is what happens there, that changes them both irrevocably.
The characters of the sisters are written in such a way so that they are instantly recognisable. Without an intense depth, Donatella and Scarlett are still identifiable as loving siblings with opposing values and dreams. The reader gets a profounder understanding of Scarlett as she enters Caraval, and how her experiences change and enrich her character. The magic within this book is uplifting although not all of it is performed out of goodness.
As the story progresses the tightly woven “Catherine wheel” story begins to unravel quickly, with sparks of light flying off in all directions – afterall, there are only five nights of Caraval. As the game comes to an end, expect to learn more about Caraval Master Legend and his performers.
Enchanting, delightful, beautiful, with twists and turns, Caraval will steal your heart.
I have reviewed this book on Goodreads, and have given it 4 stars.