“Caraval” by Stephanie Garber Spoiler Free Review:

“Remember… It’s only a game.” This book was the @booktasticbeasts February book of the month and I loved it!

Definitely had a few issues, but I ended up really enjoying it and it exceeded my expectations.

Synopsis: Scarlett and her sister Tella escape their abusive father and go to a magical island to witness a circus where the audience gets to participate. It’s only a game, but when horrible things start happening Scarlett doesn’t know what to believe or who to trust. Not only that, but her sister, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind: Legend. Can Scarlett find Tella before it’s too late? Or will both sisters lose themselves in the game?

Ok let me start with the good stuff: The writing style is incredible, captivating and soooo poetically beautiful. You really get pulled into the story and the short chapters make you want to say “just one more chapter!” I also love how the love between sisters really takes the center stage (pun intended lol). There is romance, but it’s pretty light. Now for what I didn’t like… I liked the main character, Scarlett, but didn’t love her. She’s a pretty generic YA heroine and I was left wanting more. There is character development though!

(Another point: I kind of wanted more steaminess. Like this seems like the kind of dark book with adult themes and sexiness but I didn’t get that feel. Like besides a few kissing scenes and suggestive hints, there really isn’t anything even remotely pg-13. It was YA, but almost felt like it could have been a middle grade novel)

Julian, the love interest wasn’t very unique either. Seemed like the cookie cutter YA love interest, but if you like snarky, attractive men you’ll enjoy Julian’s character, I just didn’t like that there was anything particularly unique about him. I thought the plot was strong and I was like “omg whaaaat???!” at all the plot twists ! I really enjoyed the carnival setting. Fans of the night circus will probably enjoy this book, but I thought the night circus was better developed. In a way, I kind of felt like Caraval just wan’t a unique idea. It just reminded me way to much of the night circus and I hate to do that and compare it to another book since no idea is truly original, but it just made me feel weird that it was so similar to the night circus. But all and all a good read! And the pages/cover/writing style is gorgeous. I don’t really have any desire to read the next book though.

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