Caraval: magical, beautifully written, well crafted.
“Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.
Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year, week-long performance where the audience participates in the show. Caraval is magic, mystery adventure and for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father. When Scarlett discovers her father has arranged a marriage for her she believes all her hopes of escape have been dashed.
Then the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive and it seems their dreams have come true. Yet, no sooner have they entered the confines of Caraval than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. Real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.”
Ah, Caraval. I had SUCH HIGH HOPES. I had heard such wonderful things. I had been hunting for a new The Night Circus for forever. I had my hopes that this was going to fill that void… it did, kind of. Now don’t get me wrong… this isn’t going to be a review that pulls the book apart – far from it! I am going to regale you of all of the things I loved about it, but for me SOMETHING was missing. I enjoyed Caraval, but there was SOMETHING not there. It took me about 300 pages to properly invest my time.
The characters of this story were ones in which definitely grow on you, except Julian. I liked him instantly. I don’t know what it is about loveable, rogueish types… I just fall for them instantly. Scarlett, the main character, in this annoyed me A LOT for the first half of the book but then she found her edge, she found her personality. I get that her sister was her main drive for this adventure but at times her sister was ALL that she could focus on and it aggravated me to no end. She’s reasonable, an overthinker and a worrier. Her sister Donatella on the other hand is compulsive, spontaneous and brazen. The juxtaposition of the two sisters was one of my favourite things about this book. Their relationship was important. Their comparisons endearing. Their father is repulsive. He is a violent, repulsive, manipulative bully. He’s mean. He’s intimidating. I would want to escape him too.
I loved the idea of this story though. I am a sucker for magical stories. I was sold on this as soon as I heard of it. The Night Circus is one of my favourite stories of ever and when people started comparing this to The Night Circus I knew I had to see what the hype was all about. There are some exquisite moments of description and you definitely can get lost in the writing. It is a book that when I was reading I was getting through massive chunks – the writing is so descriptive, so precise that you could be there. You can imagine the landscape, the colours… you can be there because it is written so beautifully. Not only is it written beautifully but the hardback covers are so exquisite. I prefer these beautiful illustrations to the paper cover… so tempting to try and get all 4. I have the clock. It’s beautiful, I wish I had the dress though. The magical dress that Scarlett ends up with.
This book is definitely one big adventure. There are moments that pack a punch. There are moments of sheer frustration. It is worth the ride. I didn’t love it as much as I hoped, but I enjoyed it. I am looking forward to seeing what happens next in this series though. I’m not sure where it’s going to go from here!
Have you read Caraval? Did you love it? Can you recommend me a magical book that will fill in my The Night Circus void? Let me know in the comments or on twitter (@eenalol).