Caraval_final cover (1).jpg

TITLE: Caraval

AUTHOR: Stephanie Garber

RATING: ★★★★★

TRIGGER WARNING: Abuse, two scenes. One in the start of the book and one near the end. The father abuses the daughters and one other person.

WHERE DID I RECEIVE THIS?: Hachette NZ sent this to me in exchange for an honest review

SYNOPSIS: Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

So, when reading this book I was in such a turmoil of emotions that I genuinely needed to take time to step back and think about this story before reviewing it, and honestly? I loved it so much, it left me so awe’d that I can’t help but give it a 5 Star rating. So here we go.

Caraval is heart-stopping. It’s jaw dropping and astounding. I was left feeling blank, so emotionless ( in the best way ) after the turmoil of the book. The twists and turns were endless, and no matter how you tried to guess them, you were never right. Stephanie Garber created an elusive world formed with flowing verses that brought colour to my eyes.

First off the thing I was most impressed with was Garber’s introduction of a character with synesthesia, seeing the world as Scarlett did was amazing and eye opening, I had never read a book from that point of view before and it left me in awe, in the sense that I was seeing the world from a completely different perspective. To follow that up, Stephanie has a very individual way of writing and it’s beautiful, her words flow together and paint a picture with her vivid descriptions, leaving no detail missed. One of my favorite examples of this is the quote “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.”

Now the plot, this was genuinely the most intriguing plot I’ve read in the last year. Two girls seemingly invited to a once in a lifetime event, only to become the main attraction was something, that was, in my eyes, unique. I say this because my reading scope up until now has been pretty narrow, so perhaps there are other books like this. But no matter what, in my opinion, Caraval’s plot was like a cat, weaving in and out of streets just out of your reach, so elusive, but so perplexing that you couldn’t help but follow it to the ends of the earth. . The plot was written at a good pace, never too slow but never too fast that you felt like you were missing information. I will say, until night two of Caraval began, I wasn’t truly invested in the story. However once night two began, I genuinely couldn’t put this book down until I knew the ending.
I had also never faced the issue of changing my opinions on characters so fast like I did in this book, originally Scarlett and Julian were my favourites. But by the end? Legend and Tella were for what they did (I’m keeping this spoiler free but O M G) Originally, my opinion on Tella was that she was stupid, she didn’t know the true spectrum of what was occurring around her but by the end of the books, the world had turned on itself to present a shinier version which was really the truth. And the amount of characters I went from hating, to loving, to hating again was impeccable. Garber brought these characters to life in a way I’ve never seen before and it leaves me craving the second book already

All in all, this book was amazing and I’d recommend it to anyone, as long as they know of the trigger warning, and had no issues with that. I enjoyed this book immensely and will be rushing to pick up the second installment the moment it’s released.



  1. i’m honestly so glad that you liked it! i need to reread it so bad!! and i felt the same about the characters (altho i didn’t particularly like julian at all). i was so surprised when tella turned out to not be that bimbo-y girl that she was portrayed as in the beginning.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Right?????? Tella is literally my favourite and I love her so much. I want to reread this ASAP so I can see how different it is when you know the outcome you know? Like, wether that would change the things I notice as I read it. But yes! This book is amazing.

      Liked by 2 people

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