Caraval byStephanie Garber
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.
One thing I am finding with new YA fiction is they new way of approaching the ‘villian’ and ‘hero’ of the story, they way that it is not perfectly clear who is the villain and who is the hero. Garber does that with Legend, the master of the Caraval, the one who decideds what the game will be for that year. Another element of Legend is that it is stated no can be sure of what he looks like, it was said that no one had seen his face. I like this face because it adds another layer of mystery to his character, it makes you guess at each new introduction if that could be Legend.
Scarlet, is the main character in Caraval, it is her who begins the adventure and journeys through caraval, with the help of Julian and her sister Donatella, she is able to see her own strength and her determination to rescue her sister and go back to her father. Through everything that is thrown at her she meets it with hesitation but also a willingness to try it.
Tella was not one that I cared for, she as not as developed in this story and we know little about her except what we are told by Scarlet. She seemed very self-serving and not caring much how her decisions will affect her sister and those around her.
Julian is a character that I absalutly loved. I loved that way he was written, his introduction to the story happens right away it is the perfect way to have him introduced because of what he does in the story. He is that antihero character whose motives are not quite clear in the beginning.
Scarlet, Tella, and Julian make up the main characters that are seen in the story, there is Legend who is mentioned but not seen, as far as Scarlet knows. There is also the girls’ mother who is mentioned to have left them when they were younger.
Overall the plot and story of Caraval is well crafted and told in a way that pulls the reader in and makes them want to finish the story that has started and fells as though they are part of this big adventure mystery that is taking place, being pulled into the world of Caraval and the games that are played during the seven days. They things that happen to Scarlet and Julian seem as though the could be real but one must keep in mind the slogan of that Caraval, “Remember it is only a Game”
I recommend this book to anyone who loves games and mystery of puzzle games. It is not a long book, it can easily be read in a weekend or a day if you so wish to do so. This book draws you in and doesn’t let you out till you have finished. Well done Miss Garber this is a wonderful read.