I am pleasantly surprised.
In this sequel we actually follow the perspective of Donatella. Caraval has just ended and Scarlett is still figuring out everything she thought she knew was a lie. Tella has to worry about trying to keep her sister from finding out the real truth why they are at Caraval. An unknown ‘friend’ she has been corresponding with actually set up the whole thing and now wants payment for her actions. Legend has announced a new Caraval mere days after the last in honour of the Empress’s birthday and Tella has to win it in order to get what she needs.
I didn’t like Tella in the last book. I think because I didn’t have enough time to form a bond with her. We really only have a few scenes with her at the start and then at the end and I thought she was a bit spoilt and arrogant. However, in this instalment everything is explained and I finally think I understand her. Love for her family is what really propels her forward, that and I think a little bit of the second child syndrome where you want to prove everyone wrong. She is very single-minded and won’t stop until she achieves what she needs to.
I love that we get more of a backstory not only to Scarlett and Donatella’s lives but also Caraval and the Fates. I thought that was an interesting element and the way that it ties to all of them kept me intrigued throughout the book. There is definite growth in terms of the magical element and why Legend is so powerful and what kind of magic he has, which I appreciated! I thought they kind of skated over that part in the last book and I found it quite lacking.
I thought the setting was very whimsical. The castle really brought about a kind of fairy-tale vibe but was also quite ominous at the same time. I get the same dark and mysterious tones in this book and there was a sense of urgency weaved throughout the plotline as the book progressed! It was very fast paced which I enjoy. The countdown of the days and Tella’s heart really kept me invested in the book and required me to continue to read.
The mystery aspect around Legend and who he could possibly be was also a plot point I really enjoyed. Even from the first book I like how they kept his identity a secret and absolutely no one would give a straight answer as to who he was. We definitely get more about him in this book and are able to really pin point a few characters that he could be. I had a feeling about who he might be but alas I was incorrect. I did like the fact that he is finally unmasked and we know for sure who he is, but also is it for real or is it just another act?
⭐️4.5/5 Finally a sequel I enjoyed more than the first book, hasn’t happened in a while!
I’ve had another great month of reading for September. I end up finishing nine of the ten books that I set out to read this month plus one extra from last month! I have reviews on all of these books up on my blog at the moment so feel free to click on the titles and check them out.
Caraval by Stephanie Garber – ⭐️3/5 stars
Words of Radiance by Brandon Sanderson – ⭐️5/5 stars
Cinder by Marissa Meyer – ⭐️4/5 stars
Renegades by Marissa Meyer – ⭐️4/5 stars
Scarlett by Marissa Meyer – ⭐️4/5 stars
Magic Study by Maria V Snyder – ⭐️4/5 stars
Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – ⭐️4.5/5 stars
Cress by Marissa Meyer – ⭐️4/5 stars
Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff – ⭐️4.5/5 stars
Winter by Marissa Meyer – ⭐️4/5 stars
This month was very up and down for me. I thoroughly enjoyed each book that I read but I definitely liked some more than others. I look forward to continuing on in some of the series that I have started this month and I have plenty more books on my TBR that I am excited to get in to for the rest of the year!
*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.
I’ve decided that September is going to be kind of a catch up month for me. I’m going to try to finish some books that are highly popular in their respective genres that a lot of people absolutely love that I just haven’t gotten around to reading yet. My goal for this month is 10 books, hopefully I’ll get through a good majority of them as they have been on my TBR for a long time now and the time if rife that I give them a read and see if they live up to the hype.
The first 4 books in my TBR for September are Cinder, Scarlett, Cress and Winter all by Marissa Meyer as part of The Lunar Chronicles. I don’t know a lot about these books other than it’s a YA fantasy/sci-fi fairy retelling of different fairy tales. That alone gives me cause to pick them up and start reading, and I’ve found that this series is really a staple in the YA community and a lot of people really love them. I also don’t read a lot of sci-fi so my interest has been piqued and I’m excited to get stuck in and see what these books are all about.
The 5th book on my TBR is Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Another fantasy YA novel that I’ve been hearing a lot about since it came out earlier last year. A YA fantasy story featuring a carnival setting really brings to mind The Night Circus which I read earlier in the year and was kind of underwhelmed by, so I really want to read Caraval and see how it compares.
The 6th book I would like to read this month is Magic Study by Maria V Snyder. A book I am highly anticipating reading as I just completed Poison Study last month and was blown away by it! I’m excited to continue on in the narrative and see what happens after Yelena is pretty much forced to flee to Sitia after having that execution order placed on her head. Cannot wait to read on and see what happens next!
The 7th book I’m hoping to complete is also by Marissa Meyer and it is Renegades. This is another YA fantasy/sci-fi novel that a lot of people have been talking about and it has piqued my interest. I’ve heard it’s sort of similar to x-men? Human’s with extraordinary abilities and a lot of action. This premise is really interesting to me and I believe there is a sequel coming out at the end of this year so I definitely want to pick it up!
The last three books on my TBR are The Illuminae Files, Illuminae, Gemina and Obsidio written by Jay Kristoff and Amie Kaufman. All I really know about these books is that it’s a sci-fi trilogy that is written in a unique format that takes place in outer space. I’m trying to dip my feet into the sci-fi genre and I’ve heard nothing but good things about the Illuminae Files so I figure why not, I may fall in love.