Series: Caraval #1
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Magic, YA Romance, Young Adult
Remember, it’s only a game…Amazon •
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.
Mature-Content Rating: Abuse, Mild Sexual Content
“Fate left her feeling powerless, and hopeless, and with an overall feeling of lessness. To her, fate seemed like a larger, omnipotent version of her father, stealing her choices and controlling her life without any regard for her feelings. Fate meant that nothing she did mattered.”
Caraval is drenched in many of the stereotypical young adult novel clichés, but instead of cringing at the fact I found that it kind of works with this book.
Scarlett is the oldest daughter of an abusive father. She’s mostly level headed and does everything in her power to keep her younger sister safe and out of trouble. Her mindset makes her a bit of a stiff character at first, and a bit of a ‘daddy’s girl’ gone wrong, but her enthrallment with Caraval and Legend keeps her shinning.
Tella is the wild child of the family, constantly putting stress on Scarlett by going against their father and getting in trouble. Though they both love each other dearly, Tella is the more reckless of the two.
The romance between Julian and Scarlett is almost insta-love-ish, but it’s one of those cliches I mentioned before that didn’t bother me all that much because it worked with this book, or more importantly, it worked with Julian. He’s brash and harsh and is hiding more secrets than Legend himself.
On to Caraval! Caraval is… strange. It’s a place that can cause wonder or madness, and where shopping can cost you a little secret, a lie, or something you’re not all that willing to give up so easily. From the beginning you’re told it’s only a game and you shouldn’t get swept away too deep into the performance, but other’s warn that that’s only what they want you to think. Is your head spinning yet? Mine was trying to follow who was really who and what was really what! Think of Scarlett getting a one way ticket to Wonderland.
I recommend Caraval to anyone who likes light fantasy with plenty of twists. Just don’t let yourself get swept away!