Let me tell you about my favorite read of this year. A read that almost didn’t happen and I am still recovering from.
Author: Stephanie Garber
My Rating: 5 Stars!
How I found the book:
Caraval is a Young Adult Fantasy novel that came out this year. After seeing it mentioned over and over again on Booktube and Bookstagram, I finally put it on my TBR list, forward a month or two and I am browsing my local library and see it on the shelf. So I put it in my basket and later have a pile of books waiting for me to devour this month. It was not the first book in the pile I read, but once I finally got to it…I was enraptured. I finished it in less than 24 hours. I started reading it and got barely a quarter of the way in and I was already fully committed. Something about it had me hooked, wanting to know what everything was about, needing to know what lie ahead at the end of the 5 days of Caraval. I remember a friend asking me what I was reading at this point and me telling them a little about the book and comparing Julien and Scarlett to Rapunzel and Flynn Rider.
My Reading Experience:
Fast Forward a couple of hours, some tears, and a whole lot of “WHAT???!!!!” ‘s later and I CAN’T shut up about this book. My mind can’t cope. I started messaging my friend again telling her how I finished and how amazing it was. I texted other friends gushing to them about how amazing it was. I tweeted the author telling her how amazing it was. I still feel like i’m in the middle of a book hangover from Caraval and it has been two weeks! I already want to read it again but my library books are due today. Oops! I prefer paperbacks but I can’t wait that long to order my own copy so I will definitely be picking it up from the bookstore on payday.
So let me tell you what Caraval is about, now that i’ve expressed how affected by it I have been.
Caraval is about a 5 day long game of mystery in magic that happens every year and is hosted by the mysterious “Legend”. Scarlett and her sister Donatella have been dreaming about going to Caraval since they were little and Scarlet has written to Legend asking him to bring the Caraval to their area for years. After. Being shut down to the mysterious death of a women one year, the Caraval returns on Legend’s own island and Scarlett gets a letter from Legend himself with tickets for Scarlett and her Sister. After sneaking away to Caraval with the help of a sailor named Julien, only days before Scarlett is set to marry a fiance she doesn’t know who was arranged by their abusive father, Donatella mysteriously disappears after arriving on the Island. Scarlett finds out that Tella is the prize at the end of the game, along with a Wish. Scarlett teams up with Julian to find her sister, but Julian has his own motives and nothing in this game can be trusted. They say it isn’t real, but it sure feels like it is.
“Remember, It’s only a game…”
While Caraval has mostly good reviews and feedback some people didn’t like it as much as I did. (How dare they!) It happens. So I want to address some of the critique’s of the book I’ve read that didn’t bother me.
Flowery Language: I’ve read some flowery books. The language in this book isn’t really that abstract but Scarlett seems to have some form of synesthesia where her feelings manifest as colors to her. And she makes comments like the air tasting like a certain time of day. Personally, I like the abstract description of emotions and tastes. I feel it goes along with the magic of Caravel. Caravel giving me a kind of light Wonderland-ish feel. But to people her prefer more direct expressions, it might seem nonsensical to you. So if you don’t mind wonderland-ish expressions (on a much lighter scale). That might bug you.
Lack of World building: It is obvious that the story is set in its own world. Aside from brief descriptions of the island Scarlett and Tella are on, Legend’s Island and a little information on surrounding areas, there isn’t much world building. Frankly, I don’t think it needs it. The story is about Caraval, and the game. They don’t go anywhere else and information about the rest of the world doesn’t really factor into the story at all so it would be a waste of pages to me. The rest of the world isn’t the point. The whole time, you are enraptured in the game and this Island. The point of Caraval is that it is an escape from the real world for a lot of people. I do think the second book will and should have a bit more world building since it is set away from the Island and might have more backstory on legend.
Those were the two biggest issues I read in reviews and can remember.
Conclusion: Obviously, those things didn’t affect my love of the book at all and I would suggest everyone who finds the description even the slightest bit interesting to give it a try and decide for yourself.
Stephanie Garber already has a sequel in the works titled “Legendary” that is set to come out May 29th, 2018
She has also revealed that film option for Caraval has already been picked up by 20th Century Fox so I am really hoping they don’t drop the ball on that one. This book is 100% movie worthy, (especially that scene with the carousel, just saying).
So, keep your eye out! I have no doubt it will be a big hit!
Have you read Caraval? What were your thoughts?
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