“Caraval” Caraval Book 1

by Stephanie Garber

Nikki’s Rating: 9 out of 10

Summary: In one last daring plan to escape their abusive father, sisters Scarlett and Tella whisk off to Caraval, a show run by the powerful and mysterious magician, Legend, in which the audience can partake in the adventures. But the game suddenly becomes very real when Scarlett discovers that Tella is missing and has been kidnapped by Legend himself. Unable to know who or what to trust, Scarlett races to find her sister before their monstrous father does. 


Candescent Things About Stephanie Garber’s “Caraval”

(May Contain Spoilers)

1. Carnival

I surprisingly enjoyed that the majority of the setting for this novel was a carnival. Typically I have stayed away from novels with carnival settings simply because I find carnivals creepy. It’s the clowns. Fuck clowns.

2. Game

Another huge thing that I loved about this novel is it mostly takes place in the “Caraval game.” So as the reader, I also didn’t know what was genuine or just part of “the game”. All characters introduced were more often lying about who they were, intentions/motivations were really hard to guess and universal laws didn’t necessarily apply during the game.

3. The Dress

Mood-changing dress?! Yes, please!!! Seriously, I want this so badly.

4. The Twists

This novel kept me on my toes! Seriously, there were so many twists that I did not see coming. I’m still reeling from Julian!

5. Imaginative

Stephanie Garber truly has an amazing imagination! The carnival, the game, the world, all the tiny little details. The smaller riddles throughout the story. The unique payments participants must give for different items/services in Caraval. The enchanting and magical items and/or services available in Caraval. So much fun!

6. Characters

While the characters in Caraval can be deceiving, I found most of them interesting and enjoyable. And always, kudos for having strong, independent females who end up saving each other instead of a man.

7. Writing

Stephanie Garber’s writing style is easy to follow and understand, she has good pacing and while including many twists, I never felt lost or confused. 

8. Happy-ish Ending

While not the Disney fairytale ending that I want every story to have, the ending was positive. Certain dead characters were revealed to be alive and well. The girls escape their abusive father and can live as they wish. Scarlett and Julian are together… sorta. I guess I can be content with this for now. 

9. Legendary 

There is a sequel! “Legendary” Caraval Book 2 by Stephanie Garber

What are your favorite things about Stephanie Garber’s “Caraval”?


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