on goodreads., penned by Stephany Garber, is the first book in series about Scarlett and Donatella and it came out in January 2017. It is a young adult fantasy book with a bit of romance in it.

The second book titled Legendary is scheduled to come out in May 2018.

Please note that this review contains spoilers.


Caraval is a story about two sisters who dream of escaping their cruel father. Their one chance could be the mysterious Caraval – a magical game, a performance by none other but Legend – performer known to everyone in the world.

Since their mother’s death Tella and Scarlett had listened to their grandmother’s stories about the Caraval, but never have they gotten an invitation, despite Scarlett sending multiple letters to Legend.

After years of trying Scarlett receives an answer from Legend containing tickets to this year’s performance.

This book promises magic and adventures but fails to deliver. It is written very plainly and has annoying metaphors that don’t mean anything. Often the sentences are just a couple of fancy words put together.

The story is simple and although it doesn’t offer much of character development, it captivates the reader’s attention in a different way. The main reason you keep reading is that you want to know what is going to happen around the next corner that the heroines will take. So at least in that sense, this is a win.

The book started slowly, but once Scarlett and Tella got off the island it picked up the pace and delivered easy to read chapters. Mid-book this changed and pretty much, once we started to look for the last two clues, everything went to hell – mystery disappears and all that is left is a very unreadable couple of chapters that are filled with stupid and silly actions by the characters and they culminate in an unsatisfying ending.

I have said this before and I will say it again – I hate it when a single, stupid characteristic is used for plot twists and developments. Making a character stupid and/or blind for a moment just so the author would get what he wants is cheating. Characters who “forget” to tell others some major things, because “they are so overwhelmed and forgot” are unforgivable. I do understand that something like that can happen, but no one will ever forget something major and important for their survival. That just does not happen.

As I said before, the puzzles still made me go on. My favourite bits of the book were the ones about finding a solution. It was Scarlett’s conversation with the fortune teller, that also felt the most magical/fair-like experience in the whole book.

A lot of people have compared this book to The Night Circus (review here), but although the feeling both books give is similar, I would not say that they are the same cup of tea. It’s hard to compare them because I would want to say that I liked the Night Circus better, but I also struggled reading it a lot more, so it really isn’t that simple. Not to mention that Caraval really doesn’t have anything to do with a circus.

I gave Caraval three stars on goodreads. If it wouldn’t have been as quick, easy and captivating read, I would definitely give it less. Because it is such an easy read, I think it is great for teens, the letters are big, story – very easy and might even be relatable at some points.

Let me know, what you thought about this book in the comments below. Do you think it is worth to compare it to the Night Circus? Perhaps some other books? Are you planning to read the second part? Let me know! Cheerio!

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