Book Review: Caraval

Thursday, 22 September 2016

No, your eyes are not mistaken. I have ventured out of my not-so-brief blogging hiatus and an explanation as to where I've been and why will soon follow in another post someday, but first, I must tell you all about one of the best books I've read this year (and possibly ever!).

Thank you to Jenni Leech and the team at Hodder Books for allowing me to read an ARC of Stephanie Garber's mesmerising new novel.

Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it's all a game...

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

Then, Scarlett's long-dreamt of invitation to Caraval finally arrives. So, Tella enlists a mysterious sailor's help to whisk Scarlett away to this year's show. But as soon as the trio arrives, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nonetheless soon becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with her sister, with Legend, and 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.

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"She remembered thinking falling for him would be like falling in love with darkness, but now she imagined he was more like a starry night: the constellations were always there, constant, magnificent guides against the ever-present black."

Words cannot begin to describe how incredible Caraval is.

You've probably heard it all already. Twitter-sphere, Instagram, GoodReads - the entire internet - has been buzzing with excitement for this novel and rightly so. It completely lives up to the hype. It is that good.

I can see why comparisons to Erin Morgenstern's The Night Circus have been drawn and not having been fond of that book I was a little sceptical about reading this, but to me Caraval was everything I had wished The Night Circus was and more.

Caraval is still months away from publication so I have to be careful how much I do say - which is quite tricky to do as I have so many emotions that I just want to share!

What I can say is that this book is going to be unlike anything you've ever read before. The concept itself is so unique and intriguing, but it's Garber's fast-paced and lyrical writing that really make this book beautiful.

The descriptions of this enchanting world help to conjure up such vivid images that I found myself getting lost in the story. Just like Caraval and it's performers make the game's participants question what is real and what is false, Garber does the exact same with those of us who are reading it. As soon as you begin to trust a character or as soon as you think you've got this book sussed, another plot twist is pulled out of the bag and it will blow your mind. I'd be lying if I said I didn't gasp or sob out loud several times while reading it!

Caraval is so captivating. I could not put it down. It's intense, action-packed, heartbreaking, beautiful - you name it!

There is a romance in the novel. Our heroine Scarlett does fall in love (and who can blame her? He is a bit of a charmer!) but I won't say who she develops affections for just yet for the sake of spoilers! It's unbelievably hard for me to bite my tongue from spilling all the exciting details about this book as I loved it so much I just want to tell the world, but reading Caraval is such an exhilarating experience that I wouldn't want to take away the magic from those who have yet to read it. All I can say is that I'm sure you'll be rooting for (and possibly crying over) Scarlett and her man just like I was.

I feel so honoured to have had the opportunity to go on this spellbinding adventure and I'm a little gutted that it's over. Once Caraval hits bookstores, it's bound to be a massive success and I can't wait to see what's next from Garber. She's definitely gained a new fan!

As far recommendations go, I recommend Caraval to everyone. I don't know if anyone has seen The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, but that's the kind of vibe I got while reading this. It's such a fun and magical novel that'll bewilder, dazzle and trick you.

As we near 2017, I'll likely post a much longer and detailed review, but for now I'll join you in counting down the days until its publication. I can't wait get my hands on a physical copy so I can read it over and over again.


(Let's be honest, I'd give it more than five stars if I could!)

Have a great day! Happy reading!
Until next time,
Samantha

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