Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Spoiler-Free Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Caraval was one of the first books I bought this year, and I was so excited for it because of the beautiful cover. Oh, right, and the premise sounded nice.

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Spoiler-Free Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Title: Caraval

Author: Stephanie Garber

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Published: January 31st, 2017 by Flatiron Books

Goodreads description


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.

About: Stephanie Garber


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My Review


The plot was very intriguing to me, because I haven’t read many carnivalesque books before (though I know they’re out there!). I was totally wrapped up in the drama of the whole thing, and admittedly I was carried away by the story. I didn’t know when the show was for real or just “all in my head” or “part of the show”. Also, I was impressed that the ending of this book actually managed to surprise me with its plot-twists.


Scarlett, to me, is a very typical YA heroine character, (which is always a bit of a shame). I want to see more variety in our main female leads, but Scarlett kind of boring. She wasn’t very gifted, was family-oriented (with her sister), and kept making mistakes (which, duh, characters need to make mistakes — but they felt avoidable to me). But the other characters were totally intriguing. I actually think that there was a nice variety in the cast, and most characters didn’t feel too archetypal.


The pacing was pretty good. There was a lot of action in the story, which definitely kept things moving along very quickly. Plus it’s a mystery, and a treasure hunt, so there’s always something going on.


I really did enjoy Caraval. Personally, I thought that it was a fun read, and it totally had me hooked from the beginning.

I give Caraval 4/5 stars.

Spoiler-Free Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Let’s talk about it

Have you read Caraval yet? What were your non-spoiler-y thoughts on it? Or have you read The Night Circus? I’ve heard comparisons between these books, but I haven’t actually read it myself! Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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