Caraval | Stephanie Garber | Review

“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 will ever find to magic in this world”






Once a year the infamous Master Legend hosts Caraval – open only to those who have been invited. This year the week-long game is on Legend’s glittering Isla de los Sueños, where the winding streets are an elaborate snow-covered maze and the people are never who they seem to be.

At midnight on the first day, the show begins and the visitors become players. Each of them is vying for the coveted prize: a single wish. All they must do is unravel the mystery of Caraval. But in a game where danger hides behind every charming snake, running isn’t without kiss and their wish might be their last..


“Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you will experience more wonders than what most people will see in a lifetime.You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game. What happens beyond this gate may frighten or excite you, but don’t let any of it trick you. We will try to convince you that it is real, but all of it is a performance. A world built of make believe. So while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away. Dreams that come true can be beautiful, but they can also turn into nightmares when people won’t wake up”

I apologise for the long quote, it is just so beautiful and necessary it needed to be included. This was a re-read for me and I feel like I loved it even more second time round. This book is just so whimsical and enchanting.

The world in which Garber has created is so unique, magical and just generally fantastic. I found myself struggling to put Caraval down and wanting more and more. In fact I hardly put it down as I read it in less than 24 hours. I just can’t get enough. I want to have a go, please pick me Master Legend! Stephanie has such a way with words that you can easily put yourself into the world and live it through the characters eyes. She has such a beautiful flowery writing style, that just flows perfectly. I feel like the writing style itself really does allow you to full immerse yourself into reading the book, and the easy prose makes it an enjoyable and addictive read.

I love the dark and eery atmosphere that is portrayed within this book. With each turn of the page you are wondering whether something bad is going to happen. The violence within it can be brutal and disturbing, whilst that may not be for everybody, it definitely was for me and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I feel that it worked perfectly with the mysterious plot and didn’t feel forced at all.

What I really loved about this book was not knowing what was real and what was not. I could not decipher when Stephanie was messing with my emotions and when to take what she was writing as verbatim. I found that I was constantly on my toes second guessing what was going on and that is something I really enjoy in a book. I think it takes such a talent to immerse the reader that much, send them down so many different paths with different theories, convincing them that they are correct and then BAM plot twist. The last 80 or so pages, were so jam packed with twists and turns, it was fantastic and really kept me on the edge of my seat. As soon as I finished I wanted to pick up Legendary and plunge myself into this fantastic world again.

The first time I read this book I definitely did not ship Julian and Scarlett, I just spent my time eye rolling, I was not feeling it. However the second time round I really warmed to them and found myself routing for them, I have officially been converted. An opinion that didn’t change was that Scarlett annoyed me. In parts she came across as so whiny and stupid I found myself wanting to shout at her. GET ON WITH IT.  Towards the end, I feel like Scarlett really came into her character and I began to really warm to her. I am looking forward to seeing her character develop in Legendary.

I am in awe with the world Stephanie Garber has created and I cannot wait to dive straight back in with Legendary. I 100% recommend that you read this book! I love it so much and I am convinced that you will too.

“Every person gets that one impossible wish, if the person wants something more than anything, and they can find a bit of magic to help them along.”

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