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Caraval by Stephanie Garber book Review

Book: Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber

Series: Caraval

Published 31 January 2017


A legendary competition.

A mesmerizing romance.

An unbreakable bond

between two sisters.

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.

Scarlett and Donatella

Two sisters, two girls living on an island with their despotic father. Scarlett is older and takes care of Donatella after her mother abandons them. She feels obligated to protect her and keep her safe from her father’s cruelty. But Tella is not the submissive daughter that Governor Dragna wants and manages to get herself into trouble. The younger sister is portrayed as an impulsive, naive child who never thinks about the consequences. Scarlett is the complete opposite.

She is calculating, fearful, and distrustful, and her father’s years of bullying have robbed her of any hope of redemption. Scarlett’s only childhood dream is to visit the Caraval and feel its magic. She has been fascinated by the Legend’s stories since she was a little girl, and every year she writes him a letter in hopes of coming to her island. But as the Governor’s wedding approaches, Scarlett loses faith that she will ever be immersed in the magic of Caraval.

“It took her seven years to get the letter right.”


Where would we be if there was not a beautiful, confident rebel in the story. In our story, the prince on the white horse is Julian. He helps Scarlett and Donatella escape from the island and their cruel father. However, our handsome man is very mysterious and raises doubts. As the story progresses, his image has a certain appeal. However, as the plot progresses and the mystery surrounding the match unravels, it becomes apparent that Julian is not what Scarlett thinks he is.

You can not help but like Julian, and yet you can not trust him. Scarlett’s constant companion who has been a support to her in many ways, and yet he did not play a role in the pivotal moments. And not to give away any juicy details, I’ll just say that there’s a reason for everything, and it’s not revealed until the very end. Julian is a masterfully constructed secondary character for the author’s purposes.


The moment this book irretrievably captivated me was when I encountered the Caraval. It’s a fabulous place full of color and magic. The shops come in all shapes and sizes and offer a variety of amazing things. Here you can see flying elephants as big as a thumb, buy a protective elixir or a bottle of dreams and nightmares. I felt like Alice in a world of wonders. But a veil of mysticism hangs over this story. In the kingdom of Caraval, the most important question is, “What will it cost me?” For a beautiful dress you pay with a day of your life, to walk through a secret door you must part with your voice, and the most valuable bartering unit are secrets and fears.

“Welcome to the Caraval! The greatest performance on land and sea. Here you will see more wonders than people see in a lifetime. Here you will drink magic from a glass and buy dreams in a bottle. “

The game – Caraval

“Remember, this is just a game…”

Invited by the Lord of Caraval, Scarlett and Donatella enter the game. Each year is different, and at this year’s prize is a wish. Throughout the book we are warned that it’s all a show, but that does not calm the senses. The suspense was like a drug. The plot became entangled with each new chapter. I wanted to calm my worries and believe it was all a game, but it all felt so real to me. Scarlett was put through many trials that also tested our judgment. I doubted everything our heroine saw and heard. I played the game with her, trying to decipher the clues. I felt her disappointment and pain. Stephanie Garber so expertly manages to get under our skin.

In conclusion.

The book looks great. The cover is unique in its design and feels just as beautiful. It’s suspenseful and easy to read. I personally ended up reading it in one day. I am a little disappointed in the ending because I am not a big fan of happy endings. I prefer a bit of death, blood, drama and characters killed off, but I can not wait to read the rest of the series and I do not think Stephanie Garber will disappoint me. “Caraval” is a book that is one of my favorite reads and definitely deserves attention. Now I realize I have put off touching her magic for far too long.

More books in the Caraval series:



Publisher: Flatiron Books


Hello, my name is Todora, but now also known as Dochka or Docheto. I have two wonderful dragons at home (boys ages 5 and 7) that I am trying to raise in the love of books. I was quite a chatterbox as a kid when I had required reading in school, and now I am trying to make up for it. I love reading fantasy, sweet endings are not my "thing". I love it when there are struggles, intrigue, and surprises in a book that shake you to your core. If I fell into paranoia that all the characters were traitors, my rating would be 5 stars. In short, I love to read and if one day I find a way to make this my sole occupation and get paid for it :D, I will have stumbled into heaven.

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