Caraval

Stephanie Garber

This book was always in the young adults section of the waterstones shop. There was always a copy of it on the shelf and I would always pick it up. I would read the back of it. Without fail every time I put it back on the shelf. I didn’t know anything about it really. I had heard some good things but… then again I had heard good things about the book “A curse so dark and lonely” and on an honest level I wish I had not wasted a good junk of my life and imagination on it. So, I never took it home.

What got me to finally try this book was a review I had read on it. I can’t remember where I saw this review. Only that the review was by someone who didn’t like it because the whimsical language the author had written in took away some of the immersion. She even used an example. It was a kissing scene, describing how he tasted of starlight or something like that. Which yes, is fanciful, but that line was what prompted me to finally buy not just Caraval but the series.

Like I have said in the past if I catch a good romance in a story that is a winner for me.

It starts with letters to a someone called Master Legend from the main character. The main character we get to know as Scarlett. From the get go her main focus is keeping her younger sister safe. This is almost obsessive. Her father is abusive and cruel to the two of them and created obedience in Scarlett with a simple threat – everything you do wrong your sister will suffer – and vice versa. First impressions of Scarlett is prim and proper. Every part of her is proper because she is led by fear. Every decision she makes is driven by the fear that her sister will suffer.

We meet Scarlett’s sister soon after the letters and can tell that she is quite different to Scarlett. Scarlett is controlled by her fear, her sister fights it. We are then introduced to another character called Julian. First impressions – he seems to be having a fling with Scarlett’s sister which gets them both in trouble. With Julian as a witness the girls are punished.

This leads into a couple of events which are crucial to the story so I won’t go into that side of things as for anyone who hasn’t read it I don’t want to spoil it really. Since it was a good read and I would recommend.

I liked the characters. They annoyed me, they made me want to cheer for them when it came to the romance. Plus I am a simpleton anything with a building forbidden love I am a sucker for. They also confused me. If I am honest I think I remained confused for the majority of the book and whenever the characters made me suspect one thing then they confirm that I am so wrong and make me think something else.

The story is really well layered out. There was always something happening and the character was always learning something about herself or about others. And I know as a criticism from other readers that the author was too fanciful with her use of language however, this is not the first time I have heard about someone seeing colours with regards to emotional states of a person so this doesn’t seem too far fetched or fanciful. Actually, it made it a little more interesting about the main character.

I am assuming this next part however, I could be totally wrong. It definitely felt like there was some inspiration for the main male love interest. I am going to assume that the author was possibly reading something similar to Sarah J. Maas’s books? Or at least that same young adult romantic section. Tall, dark, sexy handsome, with a you shouldn’t like me charm but a soft heart that you can almost guarantee will always show up to help at any crucial moment, and if they can’t revenge is most deliciously on the table. I am a little twisted that way but I love it.

I will admit there was a moment in the book I thought Scarlett’s sister was a patronising madam that needed a swift kick in the arse. Though it becomes clear what that is all about eventually. And magic… there is magic throughout the story and yet there isn’t really. It kind of makes me think of circus acts and magician tricks that only work because the magician knows the trick and makes you believe it is magic.

I definitely enjoyed the first in a trilogy of books and there is a promise of a love for the whole series. However, for now that is not next on my reading list. The next book on my reading list which is long awaited and very excited for because I loved, loved, loved the first instalment of this series. Is Blood & Honey by Shelby Mahurin. As part of the Serpent & Dove series – A fantastic read I would highly recommend!

Thank you for reading. Write to you soon. Bye!