5 Things About Caraval by Stephanie Garber

January 29, 2017 Review 32 ★★★★

5 Things About Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
(Goodreads | Amazon | Book Depository)

Publisher: Hatchette Australia
Source: Netgalley
Pages: 401
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Series: Caraval #1
Genres: Family, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
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 the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived 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. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

I received this book for free from the source listed above in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Intimidating Hype

I was scared to start CARAVAL. Every book that gets a lot of hype is incredibly daunting because of that fear of  “What if I don’t like it?” There have been times where I’ve had high expectations as a result of overwhelming praise from book bloggers which the book couldn’t meet and so I was left disappointed. Fortunately CARAVAL is a fantastic novel. It’s easy to see why there is so much love for it, even if I wasn’t as infatuated with it as most others (probably due to some high expectations)


Caraval reminds me of  the Night Circus
(on steroids)

The main setting of CARAVAL is Caraval (what a surprise!), a week long festival of magical novelties and, if the participants so choose, a scavenger hunt. The atmosphere and stores, etc of Caraval itself reminded me a little of the Night Circus in terms of its magic and wonder, though Caraval is a hell of a lot more sinister and potentially deadly.

Sisters before misters

SO MANY SISTER FEELS!!! I can’t remember the last time I read a book where sibling relationships were the core of the story and character motivations. Tella and Scarlett were so incredibly dedicated to one another. They truly love each other and everything they do is done with the goal of protecting or helping the other. As someone with two younger sisters I could definitely relate to it and it made me so very happy.


I was lost in the game

I really shouldn’t have been surprised that I became lost in this book. In the first sitting I read 35% and would have read more if I didn’t get tired. It’s so easy to read and keep the pages turning. The plot is engaging and suspenseful, the setting intriguing, and the romance full of tension!

Never ending mind games

Caraval is just a game. Or is it? You’re not always sure what is real and not real. This book plays games with your head as much as it plays with Scarlett. There are hints and foreshadowing every now and then, but I’m fairly certain I missed a tonne because so many things surprised me. It’s going to take a couple of rereads to try and figure out all the clues (only to have my brain be thrown for a loop again when the sequel comes out!) Also THAT EPILOGUE

mind games


CARAVAL was an intimidating book to begin because there was so much hype surrounding its release. Fortunately, it is a case of well deserved hype! With a plot that plays games with your head, a romance filled with tension, and a pair of dedicated sisters giving me lots of feels, CARAVAL was incredibly enjoyable and easy to read. After that intriguing epilogue, I’m more than eager to get my hands on the sequel (so long to wait!).

I’d recommend CARAVAL to fans of books with dedicated sisters, scavenger hunts/ suspenseful games, and those looking for a light/ faster fantasy read.

Rating Report
Overall: 4.2

32 Responses to “5 Things About Caraval by Stephanie Garber”

  1. czai

    is it even possible to be MORE excited for this book? the massive hype is daunting but I’m just like: every thing about this book is just too good — the ‘game’, the twists, the pace, and OMG, did you say sister relationship? :D
    czai recently posted…[REVIEW] Damaged Goods

  2. Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews

    Obviously I NEED to read this but I also need to read The Night Circus and I think I’d like to start with the latter because it came out first and I own it already LOL! I’m glad that the hype for this one didn’t ruin it for you because that’s always such a bummer! Brilliant review^^ Oh and I thought this book was called CarNIval and only realized JUST now that it’s Caraval *hides* LOL!
    Micheline @ Lunar Rainbows Reviews recently posted…Review: Life, the Universe and Everything

    • Bec

      Tbh, I liked The Night Circus more than this one (it’s more magical all round, but Caraval is more intense). I hope you love them both!

      Bahaha that’s an easy misread to do. It is a carnival of sorts.

  3. Ethan

    I’ve heard all of the hype surrounding this book, and it sounds like this one lives up to it! Add to that your comparison to The Night Circus, and this book moves to one that I’ll definitely plan on reading this year.
    Ethan recently posted…Friday Flicks: A Monster Calls

    • Bec

      It did live up to the hype more than I thought it was, thank goodness. I hope you like it when you read it :D

    • Bec

      Not getting into the hype is a good thing! I wish I could do the same. It would be easier to keep expectations low.

      I hope you decide to read this! It’s so good.

  4. Tyler H. Jolley

    Dude, I love stories that include close siblings. I’m one of four kids and I’m very close with my brothers. I need to look up with this releases in the US. Happy reading!

    • Bec

      There aren’t enough books with good sibling relationships out there in the YA fantasy world. I love them to pieces.

  5. Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity

    I’m so torn about this book because on the one hand I have heard heaps of amazing things, but on the other I have heard a lot of mediocre things. I think hype gets to me a lot. I have hardly read any of the super hyped books in the YA community, because more often than not they end up REALLY disappointing me. I might end up giving Caraval a go because it sounds interesting, and I like books with family bonds but you never know. I don’t een think it’s on my GR TBR, haha!

    I’m glad you liked this one, Bec :D
    Chiara @ Books for a Delicate Eternity recently posted…Some LGBTQIA+ Retelling Recs

    • Bec

      Really? I’ve only ever seen good things so far (mine is one of the lowest ratings for it I’ve seen. Most is 5 stars). It’s a really good book. Maybe wait until the hype dies down?

      Hype is hard because it can set up unrealistic expectations. No matter how much you try to stay neutral when starting, there’s always that voice going “everyone else LOVED it” that sets the standards high.

    • Bec

      I don’t know how you’ve managed to miss the hype!! I’ve seen so much love for this everywhere haha. In any case I’m glad I could introduce you to it. Thanks :D

  6. kirsty @ kirstychronicles

    I’m so glad this book wasn’t ruined by it’s hype for you! It’s one of the things I hate most. I’m so excited to get around to reading this one, I have to say I’ve seen mixed reviews for the most part they have been good. It kind of seems like a love it or hate it book. I’m just hoping I’ll love it! Thanks for the great review!
    kirsty @ kirstychronicles recently posted…Made You Up by Francesca Zappia || REVIEW

    • Bec

      I try to stay away from hype as much as possible to keep expectations low. I’ve had too many bad experiences in the past.

      I haven’t seen any negative reviews for it yet. It was all 5 stars that crossed my path (I did try and stay away before I read it though). I hope you’ll love it as much as I did!

  7. Shahzoda

    I don’t usually give into hypes but this time it was difficult not to. But I think Caraval lived up to a lot of my expectations and I really enjoyed it (even though it may have taken a day of my life as payment for all the magic).
    Shahzoda recently posted…Book Review: Caraval

    • Bec

      I swear the hype for this has been building for a good 6 months! I’m glad you enjoyed it too! Haha it definitely stole a lot of time from me!

    • Bec

      It was hard to see their closeness because they do spend so much time away from each other. I was amazed at the lengths they were willing to go to to protect the other.

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