Like many of us, I bought Caraval because I kept seeing it everywhere and the cover is just SO pretty! It makes me happy to look at it. Much like the cover, the wonderful world of Caraval was whimsical and enchanting, feeling like a modern fairytale.
The first half of this story was full of exciting potential and alluring descriptions. The details about the shops, dresses, and the land made me want to be there myself, if only just to walk around and sightsee. I couldn’t wait to finish the story, while simultaneously enjoying being submerged in this world.
Unfortunately, as the story crept on, I didn’t continue to have quite the same feelings as I did in the beginning. I can’t quite place my finger on what was missing for me. For whatever reason, I wasn’t able to be entirely swept away by the story. Instead of enjoying the experience, I was checking to see how many pages were left (yikes). The plot began to feel slightly repetitive and I didn’t like feeling as if every scenario happening at the moment was a possible lie. While that was the point, I needed something more tangible to hang onto, rather than a plethora of open-ended possibilities. There was also a main goal for Scarlette to attain, but I felt the story needed more of a concrete direction for achieving it.
Remember, it’s only a game…
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless, she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.
Caraval didn’t quite live up to the hype or its full potential, in my opinion. However, I did really enjoy the magical-feel with the combination of darkness thrown in. I only hoped this would be magical enough to sweep me away from Earth and immerse me in a new world completely. However, my expectations may have been set way too high. Ever since I’ve read Harry Potter, I’ve been dying for a fantastical story to suck me in and not let me go. I may have to venture into The Night Circus because I’m still waiting.
The second book in the Caraval series, Legendary, will be available on May 29th. Though I didn’t enjoy the first book as much as I hoped to, I am still quite eager to pick up the second story. I hope the plot will be a bit more exciting and fleshed out. I look forward to learning more about the history of Caraval, Legend, and Tella. Overall, a good story – good enough for me to pick up the next book in the series, a great debut by Stephanie Garber, but I’m greedy and I wanted more!