*Kind of Spoilery*
Ok…. I was highly entertained throughout the course of the storyline but the magic system really fell flat for me here. It was mentioned a lot in the context of the story however it wasn’t fully explained.
Caraval follows Scarlett and her sister Donatella who live under the rule of their terribly abusive and manipulative father. For years Scarlett has been writing to the leader of this magical travelling carnival called Legend, wanting him to travel to her island so she can attend with her sister to kind of escape reality for a while. For years and years she had no replies until suddenly 10 days before she is to be married to a count that her father arranged she received a reply and 3 tickets to attend. This is really where the story takes off.
I am kind of in two minds about Scarlett as the main character. She seemed a little too naïve to me and she had gotten so many reminders about Caraval and how she shouldn’t believe anything she sees or trust anyone while its taking place, and she continually disregards them and continues to make decision that I was kind of like ‘why?”. But I did think she redeems herself towards the end of the book, especially during the confrontation scene with her father and her fiancé. Her character arc over the 5 days she was in Caraval and her show of strength especially after she was at her lowest point was really commendable. I am also kind of in the same boat about Tella; I didn’t find her to be terribly likeable. She kind of seemed a little bit selfish and brash to me. But we really see a different side of her at the end of the novel especially after she explains herself to Scarlett and shows how much she loves, cares and trusts her.
That being said I still enjoyed the storyline, I really couldn’t anticipate or predict what was going to happen next. The atmosphere is really kind of dark and mysterious and the prose was actually nicely descriptive and sort of lyrical. I did like the gradual relationship Scarlett shared with Julian and the role that he played in the story really enraptured me and completely took me by surprise. I was intrigued enough by the premise of the book that I couldn’t put it down and finished it pretty quickly. I was disappointed that the magic system wasn’t expressed or shown more clearly in the book. It was mentioned various times and we see glimpses of magical elements but there is nothing really solid that was shown.
There were twists, revelations, romance, mystery, danger, bloodshed, a lot of aspects that come together to form this pretty good fantasy novel. I know that the sequel Legendary just came out recently and I definitely think I’m going to have to pick it up and see what else Stephanie Garber has in store.
⭐️3.5/5 stars it enjoyable and interesting but not one of my favourites.