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.
This book was fireworks, the color of magic. I went into Caraval knowing some people loved and knowing someone people didn’t. I thought it would be a mediocre read for me, something interesting, but not something I would love. I’m glad I was wrong.
The settings were spectacular. Not even just Caraval, Trisda, the island that is home for Scarlett and Tella was so vivid and so clear to me. Even though it was a place of such pain, I still found it beautiful, but I could tell how it could get boring and stifling after so many years. The world came together so well for me. I was able see Caraval and see a little bit of magic myself and I’m so happy that I did.
The writing was something. I’m not quiet sure how to describe it. But it’s elegant, flowing, and a little over the top. I loved the emphasis on colors and how Scarlett pairs them with feelings. For me, it gave the story another layer and I really enjoyed seeing what color she associated with each feeling.
While I loved so much of this book, as it went on I felt the world building, plot, and characters sort of loosen at the seams. It just didn’t come together cohesively for me. Some things seemed to easy and plot points happened with what felt like just a ‘because’ or something too easy. Also, some lines felt cheesy and certain ones popped up to much for my liking. Some of Scarlett’s actions seemed out of place with her character. Her struggles and her pain weren’t as clear as the world was to me. That made it harder for me feel what she was feeling and made some of the things she was thinking and doing feel weird to me.
The ending wasn’t what I expected. I thought I knew what happened, but I guess I got the wrong idea somewhere haha. I’m not sure how I like this ending. I think Legendary will still be very good and I can’t wait to get into it, but it feels more like a loose end than something that leads into another book. Hopefully, it’ll grow in the next book and I fully form my opinion on it! And I’m looking forward to getting to know Tella more. That should be interesting.
There was magic in Caraval. I loved the world, but I think the characters could have been more despite how much I liked them. There was a cleverness to this book and it was awesome to see how it came together. There might’ve been some things I didn’t love, but I still love this book.
Thank you for reading!