Books Reviews Young Adult Fiction

Caraval by Stephanie Garber

September 6, 2017

From being little girls Scarlett and Tella had been fascinated by their grandmother's stories of the legendary Caraval performers. So much so that Scarlett wrote letters to the leader of this mysterious troop for years and finally, just before her arranged marriage, she receives a reply and three tickets for herself, her sister and fiancee. Tella can't wait to go and escape their abusive father, Scarlett fears her fathers wrath if he finds out and risks jeopardising her marriage, which she believed could be her way of escaping her father. 

I'm saying it at the start of this review. Caraval will be in my favourite books of 2017. 

This is the first novel in Stephanie Garber's Caraval series and I can't wait for the others.

I absolutely adored the style of writing in this novel, it was so whimsical and fit the tone of the story and the setting perfectly. I felt like I did the first time I watched Alice in Wonderland, full of awe and wonder. I'd love to have a peek inside Stephanie Garber's head, it must be a magical place. Throughout the novel I kept asking myself where on earth she could've found the inspiration for this novel and if she could send me directions...after meeting her I found out. Pinterest.

As for the characters I enjoyed reading about each one, particularly Julian. I had so many theories about him and his background, a few were mentioned throughout the novel and I started to feel really smug thinking I'd hit the nail on the head about his origin. Then they were all disproved. The ending of the novel had me  whispering 'what' over and over. (I say whisper because I was reading this at 12:30 last night and didn't want to wake up the rest of the house.) I never would've been able to guess what happened. My attempts at playing sleuth aside, as a character I found him likeable but infuriating. Which is how I think Scarlett found him too! 

Speaking of Scarlett, I really sympathised with her. Reading about her and her upbringing I wanted to hug her, she felt like such a real person. Constantly stuck between trying to save her sister from herself and as a result from their father. Her development throughout the book was wonderful. She went from being very hesitant and safe to fully embracing the lunacy of Caraval. Learning to say yes. I think she had a journey a lot of readers could learn from. Take life by the horns and take chances. One of my favourite lines from the novel was;

"I think I've made a mistake." "Then make it into something better."

Never have a read a novel with so many twists and turns, probably sounded like I was hyperventilating the amount of times I gasped. Reading the novel I was trying to fathom whether Caraval really was a game or if it was a plot to harm Scarlett and Tella. Every time I thought I knew which it was, a clue was left to make it seem like the contrary. I don't think Sherlock and Watson could've puzzled it out! I say it again, Stephanie Garber's mind is a wonderful place...and possibly a little scary!

I can't wait to read the next book in this series... though I despair at having to wait for it!



Name: Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton

Pages: 402

ISBN: 978-1-473-62914-1

Rating: 5/5

Have you read this? What did you think?

Thank-you for reading, 

Katie x

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