Review: Caraval (#1) by Stephanie Garber

30964236. sy475

Goodreads | Waterstones

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic.

This was my second time reading Caraval and I will be honest, I was a little hesitant going into this for the second time. The first time I read this, I hadn’t read a lot of fantasy and this provided a brilliant introduction to the genre. However, years on, I was worried I wouldn’t be quite as blown away by this as I was the first time. I wasn’t quite as blown away, which does make sense as I was obviously a bit aware of the plot from the first read.

I was still super impressed with this the second time. Although it is still a brilliant introduction to fantasy, it doesn’t feel in any way inferior because of it. I found this super easy to read and such a page turner, and is such an easy-going fantasy. It is so intriguing and captivating to read as the world is so involved and magical.

Hope is a powerful thing. Some say it’s a different breed of magic altogether. 

The setting is definitely my favourite part of Caraval – it has an amazingly written setting and is very location heavy, which I loved. I pictured this world so clearly and vibrantly because of the setting. The world of Caraval and the game within it is so magical and enthralling. This series is like no other in the fact it is set within a game – the closest book I can think of is The Night Circus.

The way this book is written including a game is so impressive because as the reader, you never know what is real and what is part of the game. Even the second time, I found this such an amazing way of writing because I never knew what would happen at the end of the game and was so captivated by the plot because of it. The plot was so twisted, dark and full of secrets of and lives.

Elusive, difficult to hold on to. But not much is needed.

I adored this book once again the second time around and I am so happy. I once again absolutely fell in love with the enchanting plot and beautiful world I could picture so well. The characters are brilliant, and I love the strong female leads throughout this series in Scarlett and Tella. I can’t wait to continue with my re-read and first time reading Finale!

★★★★★
5 out of 5 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

Shop | Booktube | Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | Facebook

www.etsy.com/uk/shop/thebooksareverywhere

Review: Legendary by Stephanie Garber

36329818

Goodreads | Amazon

A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.

I loved this book. But did it capture my heart? Not exactly, and that little fact makes me want to cry. You see, Legendary, for me, had a hell of a lot to live up to. Caraval was something extremely special, and it absolutely captured my heart. When I finished that book, I made mood boards and playlists. It made me feel like magic was really woven between the beautiful paper pages.

And although I still really loved and admired this gorgeous book, I don’t feel as though my heart has been captured right now. It’s really hard to describe what was wrong here, but I’m going to try. For a start, it took me a week to read. And yes, that’s a personal thing, and I have a lot on my mind at the moment, but I just didn’t feel as though I needed to be inside the pages of this book all the time. Trust me, there were parts when I couldn’t stop reading, but it wasn’t so constant.

“Her heart was still a little heavy,”

Let’s talk about the things I love. Well, I love Tella. I felt as though there has been enough space between the first book so I wasn’t too sad about missing Scarlett as a narrator, and I really liked Tella’s character. She just felt real – she had her own difficult decisions and confusion and she didn’t always know where her life was heading. I loved her struggles and her torture, because it made her the relatable and lovable girl she is.

I also really enjoyed the story and other characters. I liked the way Legendary explores Tella’s relationships and friendships with not just her mother but with many other characters. They provided a really interesting development for me, and I did want to read on to find out which paths Tella was about to choose. Can I just also mention something? THE LOVE. AHHH. Okay. So Garber still leaves me shipping couples, and the romance was definitely the best part of this book for me. God, Garber knows how to write romance and kisses.

“but she’d decided carrying it around would only maker her stronger.”

So thinking about all this, compared to other books, this one could easily be 5 stars. However, I can’t help but compare this to Caraval. And that makes me feel as though this series has just lost it’s vibrancy. I really wanted more vivid descriptions of the world and game itself, as I remember Caraval being very setting heavy. And that’s the reason why, I’m sorry to say, I’m going to give this one…

★★★★
4 stars

-Beth

May your shelves forever overflow with books! ☽

| Goodreads | Instagram | Tumblr | Twitter | YouTube |