Stephanie Garber’s debut novel Caraval is bound to garner well-deserved attention. If you love being transported to another world full of magic, intrigue, danger and, yes, a little bit of romance, then you will love this story.
Growing up, Scarlett and her younger sister Donatella (Tella) listened to their grandmother’s stories about the magical game Caraval, where the audience gets to participate in the show and wished to attend. Trapped on the small island of Trisda her whole life, Scarlett wants nothing more than to escape the manipulative clutches of her father, Governor Marcello Dragna, and experience the wonderment of Caraval herself. Now about to be wed to a man she has never met, Scarlett hopes he will be the ticket for her and her sister to leave the abusive tyranny of their father. While waiting for her wedding day, Scarlett receives a letter from Legend, Master of Caraval, as well as three tickets to join the enchanted game on his own private island. Despite being terrified of her father’s wrath, Scarlett is whisked away by her sister Tella and a mysterious sailor, Julian. As soon as they arrive, Tella is taken by the mastermind Legend. The first contestant to find her by the end of the game wins, but they only have five days before she disappears forever. In a desperate race to find her sister, Scarlett struggles to discern between what is real and what is only an elaborate performance in the game of Caraval.
Set along the same lines as Erin Morgenstern’s The Night Circus, Garber’s book takes you on a journey full of twists and surprises that keep you guessing what happens next and whom Scarlett can actually trust. The characters are well-rounded, complex and believable albeit outlandish, but the plot moves so quickly and events unfold so surprisingly you can’t put the book down. You will not be disappointed. Fans of fantasy will await any new works by Stephanie Garber.
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