Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: January 31st 2017
Format: Physical ARC
Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game... Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and 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.
I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. None of my thoughts are affected by that.
First, let's talk about the event itself, Caraval. I love the concept and I applaud Stephanie for coming up with something so intriguing and it really reminds me of an escape room. If you don't know what an escape room is, it's basically where you and a group of people are locked in a room and the only way to exit is through solving clues. Caraval is kind of like that, but more extreme. The game lasts longer, people can watch the game, I'm pretty sure you can leave the game any day you want, but both escape room and Caraval have a similar concept; solve these clues within the given time and you get out. Having a book take place within Caraval made for such an awesome story, especially with Scarlett and the position she was put in.
Now, onto the actual book itself. Caraval had suspense, a lot of mystery, and the plot twists in this book, oooh! I think Stephanie did a great job with always keeping this book suspenseful and interesting which is something I might be looking forward to in her future works. If you're someone who loves to predict what happens next or try to solve the mystery, Caraval might even be more fun for you to read because this book constantly was surprising me. Alas, I am just a kind of "go with the flow" reader so I made no effort to try to figure things out and just went with the story. Of course, the book was still super enjoyable despite that.
The only tiny problem I had with this book was Scarlett and how she was a little irritating the beginning. It didn't affect my enjoyment of the book too much but her character was a little whiny at times, which irked me a little. However, I'm glad this issue didn't last long and didn't go on forever.