Caraval – Stephanie Garber

Instagram image of Caraval by Read_Write_Recluse

  Book Review

*** 3 stars


“The future is much like the past; it is mostly set, but can always be altered.”

“Some things are worth pursuit regardless of the cost.”

“She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.”


I was excited to read Caraval: the gorgeous covers, the blurb, the fantastic reviews. I had expectations of reading beautiful literature describing a carnival style game with people draped in flamboyant clothing, fire-breathers, dancing. Think Rio. I’ve never been to Rio, I just have this image of its magnificence and I had anticipated being swept away in this beautiful world by Stephanie Garber.

I was disappointed.

I think I read a completely different book to everyone else. 

I’m a fast reader but this book took me three days to read. It was weird. As I moved through the book I thought I was enjoying it (if that makes sense) I was eager to read more. The hint of an epic plot twist or big revelation pushed me through the story but it never came and when I read the final page, which was an attempt at a cliff-hanger, it had already been so obvious. I had absolutely no urgency to find out anymore.

Things I liked:

Scarlett or Scarlet (There were two different spellings of her name in this book) and Julian. I liked their relationship. Garber built their relationship well and there was just enough of it scattered around the book to keep me reading on to see what would happen between them.

Her father, Governor Dragna. He’s the villain of the story and he was believable. I had hoped that the visions of him throughout the game were going to be just that –the game messing with Scarlett or Scarlet—and that at the end when she realised it was all a game and they were getting away to safety he’d appear and have some hidden connection to Legend and it would end where her and her sister were captured by him or something.

The covers. Kudos to the designer. The different designs under the jackets had me searching book shops and supermarkets for the one with the clock (I like clocks) before I purchased. It was fun. If I’d enjoyed the story more I would have totally collected the others but now I think I’ll keep my money. 

Overall, Caraval was OK. It was a little bit flat and lacking in description except for where she describes tastes by colour which I found an oddity. It pulled me from the story as I tried to imagine what ‘midnight with a hint of wind’ would taste like, or the colour green. And after all of the hype surrounding this book I expected to be left breathless and wanting more which just didn’t happen for me.

I have read some wonderful reviews of this book so don’t be deterred by my review. See for yourself. It’s available everywhere books are sold. 

Reviews are entirely subjective, based on opinion and not influenced in any way.



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