Book review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

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“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.” 

Oh. My. Gosh. This book fired me up! To be honest, the first impression I had after I reached the last page was ‘Whaaat? No way! Is this it?’ It’s like I was ready to rate it with 3/5, but after I calmed down, I understood what was freaking me out. But sorry, I won’t spoil this moment for you. All I can say without spoilers is that Caraval is absolutely a new way of magic. 

You know, Caraval magic is a real separate character of the book. It’s like the protagonist pretending he is the background character with capricious behavior: disobedient, calculating, enchanting, unpredictable and entirely illogical. If you are tired of sweet and kind magic, meet this scaring badass lad. He knows how to confuse you and the best game tactics, as he is a good player in right hands of the exceptional villain named Master Legend. 

But first of all this book is about siblings: relations between two sisters, their self-sacrifice for the benefit of another, protection against a cruel and despotic father and willing to change their fates. 

“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”

As magic can’t grant any personal changes but circumstances can, Scarlett had to go the hard way to save her sister and don’t lose oneself in this Caraval game. I like the way Scarlett transforms into a determined girl, while she was passing all the game’s tests and even when I thought the game has ended. At first, I didn’t enjoy her character, as she seemed annoying and boring, with proper behavior and avoiding of breaking the rules. Not that kind of protagonist I’ve expected.

“It’s better this way, sister. There’s more to life than staying safe…” 

But Tella was the contrary character. As far as Scarlett was not enough wild and reckless, Tella had too much of it. Such combination with a bit of despair forced them to significant changes.

While I was debating the benefits of this book, I realized that I couldn’t tell you if it worth reading or not. “Caraval” causes a whirlpool of emotions and it was hard for me to understand my own opinion as I was debating myself if it worth 3 or 4 stars ratio, so I can’t predict your feelings. I can convince you that to feel a touch of Caraval magic is already a big deal, and it’s worth checking it out as well as the upcoming sequel Legendary.

“What happens beyond this gate may frighten or excite you, but don’t let any of it trick you. We will try to convince you it’s real, but all of it is a performance. A world built of make-believe. So while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away. Dreams that come true can be beautiful, but they can also turn into nightmares when people won’t wake up.”

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