The World Full of Magic Tricks and Lies | Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

book review

Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication Date: November 30th, 2017
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy, Romance
Buy Links: Kinokuniya Malaysia | MPH Online


Remember, it’s only a game…

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. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.


I was definitely completely immersed in this magical, whimsical world in Caraval, however, you have to keep reminding yourself 'this is only a game, don't get to swept away with it!' 'cause that's what happened to me when I dive into this magical story of Caraval hosted by the Master Legend.

The magical world of Caraval is full of mysteries and I have to say, full of lies, as well. When you enter the game, you have to know which is true and which is lies and not to be carried away with it. Caraval is kind of like a circus but it is way more than that.

The Caraval stories begin with two siblings - Scarlett and Donatella. They have been lives with their father, who is nothing but cruel after their mother disappeared. They have been growing up listening to the stories of Master Legend and Caraval that full of magic tricks and other wonderful things about it which makes Scarlett so eager to go to see their performances. So, she has been written many letters to Master Legend but none of it has ever get replied from Master Legend until one day when she wrote a final letter to Master Legend said that she going to get married and surprisingly, she got a replied with an invitation to watch their performances and/or join the game. The journey begins to Caraval hosted by Master Legend with a quest to rescue her sister, Donatella.

The story portrayed on family relationship particularly on both of the sisters. Growing up with an abusive father, Scarlett has live in fear and become overprotective of her sister, Donatella. The result of that, when she played the game of Caraval, she keeps on thinking of 'what if her father finds out?'. Scarlett is quite naive and followed what her father has set for her especially on her marriages that makes Donatella mad of why Scarlett has to follow whatever her father set for her without ever meeting her groom and only written letters to him. Not only Donatella mad on her, but I am also too, is annoyed with Scarlett as well because her thinking of too many 'what if' which I'm kind of tired of it. 

Since Caraval is focused solely on Scarlett, I didn't get to know Donatella much in this book. Whilst, Julian, the guy who has been by Scarlett side for the whole game. He was very annoying. His cocky attitude totally makes him an unlikable character, somehow throughout the story, he is actually quite a nice man.

To summarize this story, I have to say that Caraval is a beautiful magical world, even so, it is infused with lies and you need to know, this is only a game. Anything can happen in the game but should you realize is whether it is truly the truth otherwise you don' get to cope up because who knows, just like myself, I'm enchanted with the Caraval that is full of surprises. Despite the magical, the ending is in a bit of rush which I felt like 'okay, calm down, let me take a deep breath, first' especially, the part when their father makes an appearance - everything starts to rush on otherwise, it was all great.

I can't lie how great Caraval is and that I have to express my thanks to Stephanie Garber for writing and creating such a wonderful story and this extravagant magical world. I'm currently reading the second series of Caraval and I have to say, this is definitely has something more in it. If you haven't got a hands-on Caraval, you better get it now.

1 comment

Darque Dreamer said…
Nice review! I need to read this soon!