I was given early review access to Caraval thanks to Flatiron Books and NetGalley and I have to admit I was really excited. It seems as if everyone is buzzing about this book and it's release January 31st. I jumped into it with gusto...
And was disappointed. I know...I know! Crazy right? And, like any of my reviews, this is only my opinion so you may love this book like almost everyone else that's read it, but I just didn't fall in love with it (aside from LOVING the cover!).
I think the first big warning sign for me was the main character. Scarlett...oh, Scarlett how I wanted to like you but I just couldn't get past your internal monologue. It's a fate many characters fall prey to, but she was overly innocent and repetitive at times to me.
And then there was the writing. This was both a bonus and a downside for me. I think Stephanie is an incredible writer with a vibrant imagination that I really connected with...sometimes. It was an odd paradox for me because I felt as if there were times where the description was just stunning and others where the dialogue was just so young. I don't think I quite connected with the synaesthesia either. When I finally realized that's what was happening it made more sense, but it really caught me off guard when all of the sudden emotions and thoughts had "colors" associated with them.
I did, however, enjoy the idea of the story. I liked the magical world, the confusing and compelling idea of the plot, and the romance, though a bit heavy at times, was well described and somewhat believable (I won't go into this too much for fear of spoilers).
I think one of the problems for me was the fact that people were comparing Caraval to The Night Circus (one of my favorite reads of 2016) and I just didn't see it. Maybe in as far as there was a magical circus type idea...but nothing beyond that.
I wanted sooo badly to all-out love this book but it just wasn't there for me. I definitely thought about 60-70% of the way through it it really started to pick up and that's when I really got interested, but that's much too long (in my opinion) for a book to leave me feeling lackadaisical about it.
I do, however, want to read the second book because I must know what happens, but I don't think this is a series I'll own in hardback, just on Kindle. Which is sad because...that cover!!! *Sigh*
My rating: 3.8-4*
Purchase: (pre-order) Caraval
Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .
Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.
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.
I received this book for free but was under no obligation to post a review. I do so under my own motivation and the opinions I have expressed in this review are honest and entirely my own.