ARC review, book review, young adult

Caraval by Stephanie Garber (ARC Review)

27883214Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Type: Fiction
Genre: YA, Fantasy
Imprint: Flatiron Books
Publisher: Macmillan
Date published: January 31, 2017
Format: Digital
Page Count: 407
Source: Publisher

A digital copy of the book was kindly provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved 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 far-away, 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. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic 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.

– My Review –

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This book captured and help my attention from the very first page! And from then on, it was one wile ride! Garber’s world feels surreal, but somehow believable, and one can easily find oneself wanting to also enter the world of Caraval, to hear, feel, see, and smell the same things with the characters are.

And speaking of characters, they were all quite developed, and stuck to their way of being, while also developing throughout the book. I don’t know about you, but I get very frustrated with characters do things that are “out of character” for the sake of the plot. But you see none of this in Caraval! The characters all felt unique, and I liked that I found many of them to be unpredictable and mysterious, as it added to the overall effect of the plot. I also like being unable to predict how things will go, and I definitely had no idea how Caraval‘s plot would develop.

unnamedThe main character, Scarlet, did furstrate me at times, but I also understand where she is coming from. And I like how she grew as a person while experiencing Caraval and through the relationships she forges while she is there. I also appreciated that the characters were diverse.

There is also a good dose of romance in this book, and the attraction between some of the characters was very believable. The growing closeness was not only portrayed realistically, but also with a satisfying amount of detail.

The imagery in this book is lush and described to the point where you almost believe it to be tangible. And I cannot begin to express how happy I am with them amount of imagination Garber is in possession of, and how much she chose to share with us through Caraval. The people, the landscape, the buildings, and even the fashion was delightfully magical, while also containing a very satisfactory amount of darkness, and I cannot wait to have the time to sit down and re-read this book!

I highly recommend Caraval to those who like a good mystery and scavenger hunt, all while being enchanted while trying to figure it out!

– About the Author –


Stephanie Garber grew up in northern California, where she was often compared to Anne Shirley, Jo March, and other fictional characters with wild imaginations and stubborn streaks. When she’s not writing, Stephanie teaches creative writing, and dreams of her next adventure.

You can visit her at, or on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram!

– Purchase Links –

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12 thoughts on “Caraval by Stephanie Garber (ARC Review)

  1. I just got this in the mail yesterday and cannot wait to open it up. Your review makes me want to grab it right now. So many books have character development issues which always nag at me. Either they don’t develop at all the entire book or do/say things completely out of character which breaks the story. Cannot wait to pop this one open.

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