A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win. After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name. The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever…
I didn’t expect to enjoy being back in the world of Caraval as much as I did. I was curious about Tella’s story and her character, but I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy her story as much as I did Scarlett’s. Tella is the exact opposite of me and I’m surprised how much I connected with her.
I found the start of this book to be a little rough. I stumbled over a lot of awkward sounding lines and it seemed like the story was trying to settle itself. It took routes that seemed weird and things were explanied in weird ways. I’m not sure why some things happened and the explanations were shaky at best. Dangerous situations were presented and the motivation behind them had me confounded.
Though, I did find things settling down once Caraval started up again. It’s like this story’s comfort place. It went back to what it knew and it was better for it. I really started to enjoy the story when the Caraval started and the main plots started gaining speed.
During this, I realized how much I enjoy Garber’s writing style. Everything about this book is so unapologetically flashy and it doesn’t take itself too seriously. I’m able to be swept away in the flashy colors and pretty dresses. It’s almost comforting haha.
I am disappointed with the Legend reveal. As the story was going on, I thought I had it figured out and I was looking forward to what that could mean. It would make this book seem flashy and bright on the surface, but hold a twisty, solid plot underneath. I didn’t get that. The reveal was so obvious to me. It felt like all the answers were just served up on a golden platter and signs were pointing arrows at what the answer was. I’m not sure what Finale is going to hold, but I am more wary going into it. I am looking forward to getting more of this word and more of Garber’s writing, I’m not sure how this story is going to be without a Caraval (I think) being played.
One thing I think enjoyed, but am a little unsure of, is how the fate of the rest of world is pretty much ignored in this book. Tella is so focused on her goal and she never really thinks about her actions is going to effect, literally, the rest of the world. It seemed like a very teenage thing to do. And I’m pretty sure I liked seeing it and I think it was an interesting take.
I also didn’t enjoy where this book took the two main romantic relationships. Scarlett wasn’t the main character, but I’m not a fan of what she’s doing. I guess it could be considered in character, I just… want better for her. And then with Dante and Tella, I never felt like their relationship developed. To me, it also felt like a constant, extremely strong bond. Nothing ever ebbed or flowed. It just seemed like a constant and while I did enjoy it, I think I would have liked some more development.
Am I going to read Finale? Yes. Am I really excited for it? Absouetly. Am I a little nervous to see where the story is going to go? Yes. Honestly, I think my thoughts on this series is going to hinge on how events play out in the last book. I am looking forward to Scarlett’s POV again and I think it will be interesting to see both sisters get a POV in a single book. And it should be interesting to see where the story goes!
Thank you for reading!