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Caraval (Untitled, #1) by Stephanie Garber
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st 2017
Pages: 401

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . .
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.
Then, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor’s help to whisk Scarlett away to this year’s show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and 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.


Before I even get into how incredible this book is, and how much you need it, I need to send a HUGE thank you to Jamie over at Books and Ladders for giving me the opportunity to read it. Jamie has one of my favorite book blogs, and she’s an amazing friend. I’m truly lucky to know her. Most of you already follow her but if you don’t, you need to.

Over on my Twitter, I used the word perfection to describe this book but if I’m being completely honest, there is no word I can think of at this very moment to describe just how phenomenal this book was. I have quite a few books on my TBR for the end of the year but I know 100% that this book is going to be a tough act to follow.

‘He wore his plum-colored gloves, the shade of dark bruises and power. ‘

I knew just a few pages in that I was going to love this book. From the very beginning, right to the very end, I was engulfed in this fantasy world. As the story moves along and the world builds upon itself, it pulls you in more and more. Just when you think you’ve seen all that Caraval has to show you on the Isla de los Sueños, something else appears to make it feel even more magical. From a carousel made of roses, a bridge that leads in more directions than two, a man who tells your future with the tattoos on his body; The magic surrounding within this book was both beautiful and eerie.

The very BEST part of this book is the amount of love. I don’t mean the type of relationship that most people think of automatically. I mean the immense amount of love between Tella and Scarlet. (I hope my daughters have the same amount of love for each other when they’re older.) All they have is each other in this world, and it shows. You do see a romantic relationship developing between two characters but most of the focus is on Scarlet’s crusade to get her sister back from Legend after she goes missing. THIS part of the book is magical in its own right. No matter what obstacle is placed in front of her, she  jumps those hurdles and rushes forward towards her main goal. Saving the most important love in her life. Her sister.

Tella and Scarlet are two very different girls. Tella is the one who is willing to do things that her sister won’t.  She’s quite the rebel. She wants to leave the world she knows and find something better for herself. Scarlet wishes for the same thing but she feels that her arranged marriage will make things better; that she and her sister will no longer deal with the turmoils of living with an abusive man. The one man who should be protecting them. Their father. She want’s what’s best for not only herself but Tella so she is following the path that she feels is the safest.

Speaking of Scarlet, let’s take a moment to touch on the hardest thing she did in this book. The one thing that brought tears to my eyes when I thought of how long she had been holding this in for. Confronting Governor Marcello Dragna. It’s not easy to confront a man who has beaten both you and your sister. Stephanie has such a way with words throughout the book and the way she conveyed Scarlet’s feelings made it radiate with powerful emotions.

Legend and Julian are some of my favorite male characters this year.  I had so many questions surrounding Julian, his past, and his intentions. In the beginning, I didn’t know who to trust when it came to people associating themselves with Scarlet. Honestly, I didn’t want ANYONE getting close to Scarlet. She had been through enough. A lot came to light as the book went along, and sometimes I got a bit of a bad taste for him. In the end, I ended up loving him and his amazing golden eyes. He is now one of my biggest crushes of this year.

Legend is still a mystery to most of us, but he took us on one hell of an adventure. I want/need to know more about him. You do end up learning a bit of his history but not all of it. My hope is that in book two we will truly know more. He’s already one hell of a character. Imagine how much more marvelous he is going to be when we open his box of secrets.

This book is in my top 3 favorite books I’ve read in 2016. It guaranteed to be one of THE BEST debut books of 2017. It took me on an adventure I will remember for weeks to come. I just want to sing it’s praises to everyone who will listen. If you pre-order any book in the next few weeks, it NEEDS to be this one. You won’t be disappointed.


Sarah LeBlanc

★ Borderline battler ★ Bookish lover ★ Hunger Games fanatic ★ Jodi Meadows Fangirl ★ Raising Awareness of Mental Health and BPD ★

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