Review: Caraval by @SGarberGirl @Flatironbooks

Goodreads|Amazon|Author Website
Release date: January 31, 2017

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Genre: YA, Fantasy 


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. 


Though I do read YA I usually tend to pick up contemporary YA, I don’t read very many fantasy novels, it’s just not my thing. However, from the first time that I saw this stunning cover and read the enticing blurb, I knew that I had to read Caraval. (The cover is even more gorgeous in person by the way.) From the very first page I was completely swept away and dazzled by Caraval and my interest never wavered for one second.

First and foremost I have to talk about the world that Garber created here. It is beyond magical and enchanting, I’m blown away by her creativity and her vision. Her writing style is so detailed and vivid that you can easily and clearly picture what you’re reading. Caraval is a quirky and bizarre place where a game is being played, remember it’s just a game…I forgot this simple message many times as I was so captivated by this epic tale.

I love a story about the bonds of sisterhood and Scarlett and Tella had such a strong love and connection with each other. Though Tella is absent for most of the story as she’s been kidnapped as part of the game, she is never far from Scarlett’s mind so you still feel as if you have a strong sense of who she is and what she stands for. Their father is a cruel and calculated man and his mean streak has made them closer than ever. Julian helps the girls travel to Caraval and from his first scene I was charmed by him. He’s a rogue and devilishly handsome and many times I wondered what he was really playing at. 

I had heard that this was being compared to The Night Circus and while I can see why, Caraval stands firmly on its own. Yes, there are similar elements, however this experience was totally unique and had a darker feel that I loved. You’re always wondering what is real and what is just an illusion, afterall it’s a game meant to puzzle and confound. I was pleasantly surprised by all the plot twists and turns and Garber meticulously crafted this in a way that left me reeling. The ending was fantastic and had me craving more and not wanting this wickedly delicious game to end. This book will undoubtedly be HUGE in the new year, if you haven’t already preordered it, you’re going to want to do it now.

Overall rating: 5/5

Thanks to Flatiron Books for my review copy. 

40 thoughts on “Review: Caraval by @SGarberGirl @Flatironbooks

  1. Renee says:

    Amy, didn’t I see on Goodreads like yeaterday that you just started this?!! I need to know you’re reading secret:) Christmas activities are throwing my reading off tremendously. I love this review, I’ve seen this book around but wasn’t all that interested because as you said it’s being compared to The Night Circus which I didn’t really care for, but since you’re saying it’s different and darker I may rethink this one.

    Liked by 1 person

    • novelgossip says:

      For a 400 page book it was a surprisingly quick read for me! I was just totally swept up and consumed by the world the author created. My kids start their break on Friday so I’m quite sure my reading will slow down haha. I stay up pretty late every night and read, I don’t sleep very much.

      So I loved TNC and there are definitely similarities but this one had better plot twists and secrets than that one. It read more like a fantasy/mystery than TNC which I loved!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ashleigh says:

    So glad to see you liked this book! I finished reading it a few days ago and was blown away by it, it’s so twisted! Definitely agree with you about forgetting the tagline “remember it’s just a game” – It’s literally plastered everywhere but NOPE. Caught every time aha!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Books, Vertigo and Tea says:

    Your review is lovely! I am dying to get a hold of this one. I think I attempted every route possible for an ARC hehe. So glad to see that it was a big 5 stars for you. And I am completely ok with some of it resonating with The Night Circus, because that is a favorite of mine ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Melissa @ BookNerdMomo says:

    The more I heard about the book the more excited I get for it. It sounds so good and like a bit of an atmospheric read, which I love. Plus, any book that features a strong sibling relationship is one that I know I’ll like. Especially a fantasy novel. I can’t wait until I get the chance to read it. Great review, Amy! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s