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Caraval by Stephanie Garber
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Caraval (2017)

by Stephanie Garber

Series: Caraval (1)

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1,086767,665 (3.73)19
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Scarlett Dragna and her older sister Tella are imprisoned by their terrible father on an island. Scarlett dreams of a day when they will both be invited to Caravel, a magical once-a-year carnival where the audience is also the players in the game. Scarlett gets an invitation after seven years of letter writing. Soon, Tella is part of a dangerous game that may end in dire consequences if she cannot be rescued. ( )
  hjbush | Jul 20, 2018 |
Sometimes you will do anything to escape the life you are living. For the last 7 years Scarlet has written to Legend begging for either Caraval to come to her town, or for her and her sister to be invited to Caraval. Many of my fellow readers assumed Caraval was a circus or carnival with a fancy french name. But it is missing that pesky letter n. A real carval was a sailing ship in the 18th century. So I guess that does come into play. I mention this because I was expecting a book about a wild carnival and got less and more than I was expecting.

Scarlet and Donatella live in an abusive home. Donatella is the younger daring sister of Scarlet the rational protective older sister. Their mother disappeared seven years ago and ever since, Scar has wanted to take Tella to Carval to make her happy. After sending her last letter to Legend, the leader of Carval, stating that she no longer wishes to go, she finally gets tickets. But being the rational sister, there is no way she can skip off. She is to be married in a week and that is the only way she can see to escape her household and protect her sister.

When I said Tella was daring, I meant it. She enlists the help of Julian, a roguish seaman to kidnap Scar and abscond to Caraval. Everyone attending Caraval makes the choice to watch, or to play. For those who play, they are told over and over again to remember that it is just a game. Play wrong and you could go crazy, play well and you could win a wish.

This is a crazy world and a crazy book, that while a little slow reading, is thoroughly engrossing. Magic is all around, and the world is practically turned upside down. You play at night and rest in the day, give secrets to pay for new dresses, etc. It is almost like an expanded Wonderland, but animals don’t talk (at least not in this book). While a sequel has not been formally announced, you can not get the end and not go “sequel please” because there are big unanswered questions. It has an ending like first Tom Cruise Mission Impossible movie where right is left, left is right, and who is who? While the twists and turns are mind bending, you are ready and waiting for more. So please, don’t make us readers wait too long. ( )
  LibrarianRyan | Jul 5, 2018 |
I'm very, very, sorry to say that hands down this was my most disappointing read of 2017. I've owned this for a couple months and specifically saved it for my Christmas break since I was so excited for it, but thinking back on it now, I think that doing so was a mistake. A couple months ago I probably would have liked this. But since time has gone on, I've become more critical of the books that I read and something mediocre won't satisfy me anymore.

♡ the characters ♡
The main problem I had with this book was the characters. It's pretty safe to say that I loved most everything about this book (save for a few things) but the characters are really what ruined everything. All of the characters were completely dry and could have been more fleshed out. Instead of getting what initially I thought would be very interesting characters, they were instead extremely flat. My favorite character was probably Donatella, but she wasn't even in the book enough.

♡ the plot ♡
The premise of this book is what had me sold, but while I found the start quite captivating, just like the characters, the plot fell short. By the second half of the book I was completely uninterested in what our main character Scarlett was going through, and was not rooting for the romance at all. Usually I love a good romance but everything about this one felt forced and poorly timed.

♡ writing style ♡
One of the only reasons why I gave this book two stars instead of one is that the writing style was absolutely lyrical and beautiful. It reminded me a little of Marissa Meyer's writing and had a very Alice in Wonderland meets the Wizard of Oz.

♡ overall thoughts ♡
Overall, the characters ruined this book for me. My favorite parts were the start and the end, which coincidently I think I enjoyed because the only interesting character, Tella was in. I skimmed the end which I will say took an interesting twist, but again - the characters and the rest of the book ruined it for me... ( )
  jlydia | Jun 25, 2018 |
This book is honestly just one great synesthetic experience. It is full of flowery descriptive writing of the performance that evokes each and every one of your senses so you really feel as if you're there with the main character experiencing everything that she is. And this is probably the best thing that this book manages to do, but the experience of reading this, especially for me considering I adore the whole circus/carnival aesthetic, overrode any of the flaws that I'm about to mention (which I am assuming is what made some people not enjoy the book as much).

First of all, the characters, or more specifically the main character. Scarlett is one of the most annoying characters I've read and a whole massive hypocrite. The magic system was a bit confusing which was okay till the very end since the story is more focused on the visuals and the whimsy, as opposed to how the magic functions. The ending was also a mess in my opinion and tied everything together in a pretty bad way but I am still 100% going to read the next book for the experience and in hopes of something better coming out of the actual story.

I'm planning to get into a full review of this book on my youtube channel in a bit so if you're interested in learning more definitely check it out :) ( )
  caffeinatedreads | Jun 18, 2018 |
Non male.
Forse mi aspettavo qualcosa di più.
In ogni caso: PRETENDO il secondo. ORA. ( )
  jeky91 | Jun 15, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 76 (next | show all)
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To my mom and dad, for teaching me the meaning of unconditional love.
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It took seven years to get the letter right.
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Book description
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.
Haiku summary
Don't get swept away
too much during Caraval –
it could cost your life.
(passion4reading)

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"Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their ruthless father. Now Scarlett's father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the legendary, 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 who she has just met, 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."--… (more)

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