Caraval | 2.5 star review

Caraval | 2.5 star reviewCaraval by Stephanie Garber
two-half-stars
Genres: YA
Published by Flatiron Books

Remember, it’s only a game…

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.

I had such high hopes for Caraval and I was left completely disappointed. I think I’m the only person who thinks this way if the reviews on Goodreads are anything to go by. What annoys me about this book the most would be the unused potential, I think this book got lost halfway with what it was supposed to be. I was expecting something along the lines of The Night Circus which I REALLY enjoyed, but this fell completely flat and I actually don’t think a lot of it made sense and was just used to move the plot forward under the guise of “it’s a magic game so this can totally happen”.

One of my biggest problems with Caraval was that it was supposed to be a huge game with a lot of different players all working towards the same aim, yet in the entire book there were only two instances where we actually got to experience the fact there were other players. It baffled me, I know that the story is focused on Scarlett and she should be the main focus of the plot HOWEVER there were supposed to be a huge amount of players and she didn’t stumble onto any of them? Seems a little farfetched to me.

Talking about Scarlett, she wound me up if I’m honest. She was utterly naive but not in an innocent kinda way. I thought the way the friendship between her and Julian developed was completely ridiculous, I don’t think there is anyone on the planet that would have the number of questions she had that wouldn’t walk away. But of course she had no one else and she couldn’t possibly rely on herself like all the other players in the game. That would be completely unbelievable. It was just another thing about this book I hated it.

Everything in Caraval is supposed to be an elaborate performance and nothing is supposed to be real, but this to me didn’t seem to be a consistent thought throughout the book. Especially with some of the happenings, I won’t spoil of anything. But if you’ve read it you might have an idea. I definitely think there was a lot of potential to be had with the premise but the payoff left me confused and disappointed. I think the ideology behind the Caraval got mixed up in the middle somewhere. It just wasn’t my cup of tea.

I don’t think I would recommend Caraval I think I would have to recommend The Night Circus instead. This book just wasn’t for me, the story was confused and the characters were two dimensional and annoyed me more than anything else.

Have you read Caraval? What did you think? Are you in the love or hate it column? Let me know in the comments.

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