Monday, January 23, 2017

ARC Review: Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber

Summary: 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 ever find to magic in this world . . . 

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.

But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic 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. (Via

Pages: 402

Expected Release Date: January 31st, 2017

Rating: 4.75/5 Stars


For the last seven months, I have heard nothing but rave reviews for Caraval and I have seen its beautiful cover all over social media. I was fortunate enough to receive a UK ARC of Caraval from Nazima at the Enchanted Bookcase last month and it absolutely lived up to the hype surrounding it. Caraval is an enchanting tale that lingers with the reader even after they have finished the novel. It is hard to believe that the author, Stephanie Garber, is a debut author. I have read countless novels from bestselling authors that have published several books, but very few can compare with Caraval. It is stunningly beautiful inside and out.

Stephanie Garber's writing is beautiful; however, it was occasionally too much. I could see her growth as an author throughout the pages of Caraval. She occasionally described emotions, scents, and visuals in a manner in which did not make sense. But she slowly stopped it as the story progressed. Her writing is utterly captivating, but those occasional moments yanked me out of the story because the descriptors made no sense in the context of what she was describing. Others might find those descriptors more whimsical, but it confused me and made me question what she was describing. I did read an advanced copy so I am hopeful that those descriptors have been changed or removed. 

While Caraval is an atmospheric read, the characters and their backstories are even more enchanting. Stephanie was able to seamlessly tie in backstories while the plot was moving forward. I never felt overwhelmed or underwhelmed. She slowly feeds the reader needed information that you never knew you needed. She was able to perfectly pace the novel so everything felt important. The novel never hit a dry patch or lost my attention. Stephanie was also able to neatly tie up the novel while beginning a brand new tale. I can only imagine what book two will have up it's sleeve.

Caraval is a magical book with an enchanting plot, but the novel is much more than that. It is a book about love, family, and the importance of imagination. It features a fantastic sister duo and a simmering romance. Caraval is such a whimsical and magical novel, but remember, nothing is as it seems. I highly recommend adding Caraval to your to-be-read pile and preordering it. The story has gained such a following before the novel has even been released, I can only imagine where this story will go once it is officially released.

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