Book Review | Caraval by Stephanie Garber

“Remember, it’s only a game…”

With less than two weeks until The Ballad of Never After is released (the sequel to Stephanie Garber’s mesmerising Once Upon a Broken Heart) I thought it was finally time I start her bestselling debut series – Caraval. Apparently, I was supposed to read the trilogy first as the books exist in the same world as OUABH and feature some of the same characters. However, I loved OUABH immensely, and not knowing this prior to reading Garber’s latest book did nothing to subtract from my enjoyment.

“Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure.

And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father. When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.”

Caraval is an enchanting tale of magic and deception. Readers are reminded regularly how it’s only a game but you can’t help but be sucked into the decadent world of enchanted evening wear, grandfather clocks containing hidden portals, tattoed fortune tellers, labyrinths of hidden tunnels, a blossoming romance and secrets – many, many secrets. What’s real and what’s part of the performance? Who is the infamous Legend and why has he kidnapped Scarlett’s sister? Nobody is what they appeared at Caraval. Everyone has their own agenda and as the bodies start to pile up Scarlett’s fairytale ending becomes further and further out of her reach.

My head was spinning by the end of this magical tale. There are so many unexpected twists and turns. I was completely entranced throughout this lush romantic fantasy. Every page shimmered with magic, intrigue and betrayal. I was unable to put it down as I was swept away by the decadent delights of Caraval. After the finale, I feel like I need to re-read the entire book to look out for clues, however, I can’t wait to start the second book – Legend.

Caraval by Stephanie Garber is available HERE. (affiliate link)