You might remember me talking about the Binge Reading Challenge in this post, and I promised to review each book, so here I am with review #1!
I have to say that I was pretty excited to read this. Here’s a summary (with no spoilers):
17-year-old Scarlet and her 16-year-old sister Donatella have always wanted to attend Caraval: five nights of whimsy that immerses its players and spectators in a game unlike any other. For seven years, Scarlet writes to the mysterious Caraval master (aptly named Legend) and begs him to bring the show to their tiny island. For years, Scarlet waits in vain, until one day she receives an invitation from Legend himself. She and her sister sneak away with a handsome sailor to Legend’s private island, and a week of magic, fantasy, love, mystery, and betrayal ensues. Scarlet is warned not to get too swept up in the game, but soon she find herself unable to distinguish friend from foe and fantasy from reality.
From start to finish, this book had me hooked. The characters are relatable, the story is fantastic, but what really blew me away is the world building. You truly get swept away on Legend’s island from the moment you see it till the end of the book. I love the way Garber reveals the world through Scarlet’s eyes, and my favorite moment is when Scarlet sees Caraval for the first time. You will fall in love with the imagery in this book. It’s not too heavy on description at once as Garber does a nice job of sprinkling setting into her book as she reveals plot, but this is definitely a book where your setting is its own character.
Speaking of characters, there are so many that I love and get to see evolve. Even though the stakes are high, Garber does an excellent job keeping their motivations a secret, which left my jaw hanging open when certain character backgrounds were revealed. Then, when you think someone is one way, you find another piece to the puzzle that completely changes your mind. It’s truly original in how each character’s story unfolds. It keeps the plot going at an exciting pace and makes you want to read the whole thing in a day.
I can’t recommend this book enough. If you want something to distract you from reality, get caught up in Caraval. You won’t be sorry.