Recommended for: Middle Grade, Young Adult, and all lovers of the fantastic and amazing
Thank you Netgalley, Flatiron Books, and Stephanie Garber for selecting me to review a digital ARC of this book. Because this is an Advanced Reader Copy provided for review, quotes and cover images pulled from the ARC may be subject to change.
"Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll find to magic in this world." --Caraval by Stephanie Garber
First let me say, I cannot recommend this book highly enough. Caraval has captivated my heart and soul. I am, however, struggling with my desire to express my love for this book, and telling everything about all the awesomeness within. But at the same time I want to say absolutely nothing so as not to reveal any of the wonderful surprises, mystery, and delectable prose that awaits the reader when you open this wondrous tale. So, how to do this without giving ANYTHING away...
This enchanting story begins with a series of childhood letters written by Scarlett, our young main character. She and her sister have grown up with stories of the amazing and mysterious Caraval Players, and their once a year performance. She is desperate to see them, but the only way you may attend, is by receiving a personal invitation. Scarlett has been writing to Caraval Master Legend since she was a little girl hoping to gain an invitation for her sister and herself. None of those letters was ever answered.
Just as she is about to get married and has given up hope, a mysterious letter arrives with a special invitation for Scarlett, her little sister Tella, and Scarlett's fiance. Unfortunately, attending Caraval right now just isn't an option for Scarlett, her cruel father has arranged a marriage with a man she has never met, and Scarlett hopes this will be the chance she needs to get both her and Tella away from their father. Tella, on the other hand, has every intention of finding a way for both of them to sneak away to Caraval, and she won't let anyone stop her.
What I love about this book:
The characters are incredibly well written, and Garber's description and enthralling writing help the reader to build an instant connection with the characters. She exposes their emotions and feelings in such a beautiful and thoughtful way that helps the story and the character relationships flow seamlessly.
Garber is very gifted in developing a plot that twists, turns and takes the reader on a deep and winding roller coaster. From moments of pure excitement and awe to holding your breath and praying what you are reading is wrong Caraval is a ride you never want to stop. Just when you think you have things all figured out, she throws in the greatest and most unexpected curve ball. I couldn't put this book down. I found myself wanting to spend more time on the elliptical at the gym so I could keep reading.
The conclusion of the book was simply perfect. It wrapped up in a way that I felt incredibly satisfied. But, true to her form throughout the rest of the book, just when things seem to be going a certain way, Garber threw in one final twist that now has me ANXIOUSLY awaiting the second book. Sending speedy writing vibes to Stephanie Garber while I not so patiently wait for book 2, and my invitation to explore the secrets of Caraval.