Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.

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Scarlett and Tella have grown up hearing stories of the magical Caraval, and its mysterious organiser Master legend. After years of wishing, they finally receive invitations to participate in this mysterious adventure. Escaping their abusive father they head off to discover what Caraval has to offer. Once they arrive Tella goes missing and Scarlett begins to realise that there is much more to Caraval than she could ever have imagined.

The beauty of this book is that it fully immerses you.  You are right there with them, living this fantastical, sometimes terrifying interactive performance. You will be second guessing yourself right up until the end (and probably once you’re done!). Stephanie brilliantly keeps the reader in the dark as much as the MC pulling us deeper into this rich, mysterious world. The descriptions in this book are beautifully sumptuous, but never out of place or over the top. They only serve to draw you deeper into this magical, dangerous world.

The Girls relationship with their father could be a trigger for some, he is not just controlling, he is physically abusive towards them. Although scenes portraying the violence do serve to develop the story, they still aren’t particularly pleasant to read.

The character of Tella annoyed me but I think that is partially because there is more to her part in this story. I think (hope) we will learn more about her motivations in the next book (which I need asap!). Saying that, I adored the strength of the sisters relationship. It never seemed forced, or over dramatic.

In Caraval there is always something to be discovered, raising more questions and new doubts. Once you think you’ve finally got things sussed, this book will throw another mystery your way. It never lets up, not even at the end. In fact it leaves us with nore mysteries to discover, but not so many that the overall story told was dissatisfying.

This is definitely a book I will read again, it is brilliant. The pacing is fantastic, the mystery is perfect, the descriptions are wonderful, and I think there are still little tidbits to be discovered. I can’t really say much more without ruining the story for you. This really is a book that you are better of going into knowing as little as possible, but be prepared to delve right into an amazing adventure that sparks your imagination and appeals to all your senses.

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