If you’re looking to get swept away into a magical adventure this year, Caraval is just the ticket you need. I’ve had my eye on this book for almost a year, and I was lucky enough to receive an ARC from the lovely folks over at Flatiron Books, but I’ve made myself wait until now to review it so that I can give it the proper build-up it deserves before it’s release later this month.
If you’re a fan of The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, you’re going to fall in love with this book. I can think of no higher honor, as The Night Circus remains one of my all-time favorite books on this earth. I’ve been craving another mystical romp through a magical circus/carnival ever since I put that book down two years ago. And I finally found it in Stephanie Garber’s gorgeous Caraval.
This is book that will draw you in from page one and leave you aching for more. In fact, if I have any one complaint about this book it’s the fact that I wanted more of everything. More of the caraval, more of the magic, more of the strange people and places and trades, and more of the mystery. There was never enough of anything because it’s all drawn up so perfectly that you can’t help but feel greedy and left wanting. I’m so glad that this is going to be a duology, because another book is EXACTLY what the doctor ordered here (and by doctor, I mean me).
THINGS TO FAN OUT ABOUT IN CARAVAL:
- There are puzzles and topsy turvy wonderland-esque riddles and tons of twists and turns you will not see coming. It is definitely in the same vein as Tahereh Mafi’s Furthermore, Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, and other delightfully mysterious books. So if you’re looking for a story to keep you guessing, look no further.
- The world-building is exquisite. There are so many little tastes into this strange world that you are definitely going to want to move there and experience Caraval for yourself.
- Scarlett and Julian. I don’t think I can even say anymore than that without giving things away, but let’s just say YES YES YES YES. I am shipping the heck out of them now.
- Thrilling chases, violent crimes, and a ticking clock that runs through it all. Caraval is going to keep you on your toes. There were some truly cringe-worthy moments where I was left gaping over what happened. Like, truly, my mouth was hanging open in shock.
- And an ending that appears to tie everything up nice and neat only to throw you a HUGE cliffhanger right at the end and make you want to throw the book across the dang room.
THINGS I’M HOPING FOR IN THE SEQUEL:
- More of everything (as stated earlier), but especially more of the Caraval’s actual atmosphere. I want more of the crazy little shops that sell everything under the sun for a price – from protection spray that can cost you your deepest fear to a dress than can take two days from your life – more of the quirks that make Legend’s little game so freaking magical. I would read an entire book where the characters did nothing but walk around Caraval to explore the nooks and crannies. Stephanie, if you’re reading this – I’m not even kidding. I don’t even need a plot. I just want to explore your world more thoroughly. That’s how much this world tantalized and enthralled me.
- I want to actually meet him because now I’m very invested in knowing who he is and what his true motives are.
- A better character ARC for Tella. While I liked Scarlett more and more as the story progressed (she grows a lot over the course of the story), I really felt agitated by the way Tella acted and at the end I didn’t feel she had experienced a lot of growth. I won’t give anything away, but she kind does some real messed up stuff in the first book, and I’d just like to see some true character growth out of her in a sequel.
If you’re looking for a book to start the year off with a BANG, this is definitely a great choice. You won’t be able to look away until the very end.
Rating: 4.5/5 stars