A - E, Allgemein, C, Reviews

Review: Caraval (Stephanie Garber)

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Rating: 4 Pfoten

Book 12 on My Book List 2021

”Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.”

I think I’ll just go with this quote and add: “Whatever you’ve heard about ‘Caraval’, it’s nothing like ‘The Night Circus’. “ 😉 When I went into this book a lot of reviews compared it to “The Night Circus” but I think that simile is misleading. In my opinion those two books have nothing in common except of the magical aspect and the atmospheric and poetic writing style. This said, I really enjoyed reading this and I was more than just happy to follow Scarlett on her journey!

To be honest I loved everything about “Caraval” and the characters were great and interesting. I enjoyed exploring this world alongside Scarlett and I wish this book would have been even longer. Thankfully book two and three are already out so I guess my wish of reading more about this world was already granted. XD What really hooked me was the storyline, the constant guessing, following all the hints and the unexpected plot twists. I never saw some of those coming so the author did a great job!

Not to mention the amazing magical atmosphere! You all know I’m a sucker for magical things and of course this immediately drew me into the world of “Caraval”. In some way this actually reminded me of the old school magic performances. We’re constantly deceived and no matter how hard we look and how desperately we’re trying not to fall for the trick, in the end we still do. XD And I loved it!!!
But before I go on and on I’ll just let this speak for itself and head right to my characters section. 😉

2
Welcome to Caraval! ”Remember it’s only a game.” A game that feels very realistic and that will spoil you like no other! So if you don’t want to gamble for knowledge and would rather prefer to remain ignorant you better don’t enter this show! This is all the warning you’ll get so make your choice and accept the consequences! 😉

Scarlett:

”Scarlett had always seen her own emotions in color, but she’d never seen another person’s. She didn’t know what shocked her more, that she could now see the color of Julian’s feelings, or that those feelings were so wounded.”

Scarlett or Crimson like Julian liked to call her wasn’t really a character I could relate to. I mean I got where she was coming from but she was definitely a person that was totally prude and never took any risks. She was playing it safe and to say this stood in her way would be putting it more than just mildly. To discover the world of Caraval through her eyes was definitely a one-sided view but I think Stephanie Garber wrote her like that for a reason. We’re supposed to discover this new world through her eyes and if Scarlett would have been more open-minded we as the readers couldn’t have been as immersed in this experience as we were while reading it. 😉 I don’t think Scarlett had a huge character arc but I think she had one that fitted her personality. A person like her can’t change overnight and old habits die hard, so I think her rebelling against her father in the end was already a huge step. I can’t help but wonder how she’s going to change in the next book and I’m very curious about her “powers”. I mean she obviously can see people’s emotions, so where does this ability come from? I’ve a lot of questions and they need to be answered. XD

”This was wrong too. When she’d kissed Julian, it had felt right. Two people choosing to give tiny vulnerable parts of themselves to each other. That’s what Scarlett wanted. That’s what she deserved. No one else had the right to decide this for her. Yes, her father had always treated her like a possession, but she was not a thing to be bought or sold.”

”It pained her to breathe and it took effort to speak. But she was still alive. She was still breathing and speaking and feeling. Most of what she felt was agony, but she also didn’t feel afraid of anything.
And for the first time, her father looked afraid of her.”

Julian:

”She tried not to stare. Every inch of it was muscled, just as his torso had been, but that wasn’t the only part that captivated her attention. A thick scar disfigured the space between his shoulder blades. Two more crossed his lower back. As if someone had stabbed him multiple times.”

And here we go with mystery boy! *lol* Despite being a very active part in the entire game Julian is still one huge question mark for me. He started out as a sailor and then turned out to know more about Caraval than he let on just to be revealed as one of the performers at the end of the game. Plus he seems to know Legend personally and I can’t help but be curious about their relationship! What is Julian to Legend? He seems to be one of the few people who even know how he looks like so their connection must be strong. Also what’s with those scars on his back?! We never got an explanation for them and I am CURIOUS af! *lol* I definitely want more of Julian in the next book and I hope some things will make sense after reading book two.

”That girl gave a performance, meant to make you drop your guard. They say they don’t want us to get too carried away, but that is the point of this game. Legend likes to – play.”

”I know you want to find your sister, but on this isle secrets are valuable. Be careful about giving yours away too freely. If people know what you want the most, it can be used against you.”

Legend:

”Legend was as prideful as he was handsome, and he believed she was wrong. He told himself if he were famous it would allow him to marry Annalise. So he wished for that. He said he wanted his performances to be legendary. Magical.”

Enter the most interesting character of the entire game: Legend! I am so damn intrigued by him and I just want to find out more! Who is he? How did he become the person he is now? Why is he a villain? Is there some truth to the story of Annalise? Did he get carried away by his own game and therefore become the person he is now?! AHHHHH!!! I just need more info! And scenes with him! Judging by the letters he wrote he’s such an interesting character and we all know that I can’t resist a well done villain or a good mystery for that matter. 😉 So I’m definitely ready to find out more about Legend and since book two is named “Legendary” I really hope it will be about him! Throw me some breadcrumbs, please?!

”Oh yes.” Caspar laughed, as faint as his smile, seasoned with something bitter. “Legend is very real, but most people have no idea if they have met him – including many of his performers. The master of Caraval doesn’t go around introducing himself as Legend. He’s almost always pretending to be someone else.”

”Legend had changed over the years, and not for the better. He takes on a part of whatever roles he plays, and he’d been playing the role of a villain for too long, he’d become one in real life. Finally, a few months back, I decided to leave, but Legend convinced me to give him another chance and stay.”

”I am beyond redemption. However, depending on how far you’re willing to go, I’ve thought about it, and I may be able to work with you.”

Dante:

”Dressed entirely in sleek black, he was the type of boy Tella would have called uselessly pretty, while secretly thinking of ways to gain his attention. She noticed all the ink covering his hands and moving up his arms. Tattoos, carnal and intricate, arcanists’ symbols, a mourning mask, lips curved into an alluring pout, bird talons and black roses. Each of them was at odds with the rest of his refined appearance, which made Scarlett more curious than she ought to have been.”

Who is Dante?!! Obviously one of the performers but damn that boy had such a mysterious vibe going on! Next to Legend he’s one of the characters I’m the most curious about! *lol* His appearance and all the tattoos. Ahhh!!! I already have a picture in my mind. He doesn’t seem to be all too friendly though and is definitely a bad boy so I don’t know where that leaves me. I never shipped him with Scarlett but Tella… mhmm… that could work. XD I really need more of that boy with a non-existing moral compass! Haha! ;-P Hopefully he’ll be a part of book two.

”He won Caraval last time I played. Remember what I said about this game costing people? Even winning comes with a price, and his triumph cost him, a lot. My bet is he’ll do anything to win the wish and try to get back everything he lost. If you think my moral compass is damaged, his doesn’t exist.”

3
Scarlett & Julian:

Inside the house, violin music, richer than the darkest chocolate, started playing. It seeped outside and whispered to Scarlett as Julian’s smile turned seductive, all shameless curves and immoral promises. And invitation to places that proper young ladies didn’t think about, let alone visit. Scarlett didn’t want to imagine what sorts of things this smile had convinced other girls to do.
“Don’t look at me like that.” Scarlett said. “It doesn’t work on me.”
“That’s why it’s so fun.”

I really liked the chemistry between those two and they were obviously made for each other. I guess as stereotypes go they both fit the bill of the geek and the bad boy. *lol* At least they both gave off those vibes whenever they were around each other. Scarlett the very guarded and careful character and Julian the daredevil. It worked for me. XD Julian must have fallen really hard for Scarlett in order to stay in the game for so long. And he even got mutilated by her father and still decided to stay by her side. He seems to be a very loyal character and that really caused him to grow on me. He couldn’t leave Scarlett’s side and he obviously can’t leave Legend’s either. Whatever their connection may be. I guess Scarlett is the same when it comes to Tella. So I’m kind of worried this might lead to problems between them in the next book. I guess I’ll just have to read it and find out.

”He’d never stared at her like this before. Sometimes he gazed at her as if he wanted to be her undoing, but just then it was as if he wanted her to undo him.”

”Dimly, she knew she tasted his blood. It was like no other gift she’d ever received. Strangely beautiful, alarmingly intimate. And she wanted more of it. More of him.”

”His steady gaze was even softer than his voice. It reached out to the broken parts of her like a caress. The type of touch that moves through damaged flesh, past fractured bones and into a person’s wounded soul. Scarlett felt her blood go hot as he watched her. She could have been wearing a dress that covered every inch of her skin and she would have still felt exposed to Julian’s eyes. It was as if all her shame, her guilt, the awful secret memories she tried to bury, were laid bare for him to see.”

Scarlett & Tella:

”Her sister had always been wilder; Tella liked the taste of trouble. But it wasn’t the wildness that hurt Scarlett. Tella was the most important person in the world to Scarlett, but it always broke Scarlett to know her sister did not feel the same way.”

We only got Scarlett’s POV so it’s really hard to say if Tella truly doesn’t care as much about Scarlett as she thinks. They most definitely couldn’t be any more different though. Tella seems to be the daredevil while Scarlett never risks anything and if the next book is really from Tella’s POV things will most certainly get even more interesting than they were in “Caraval”. *lol* I can’t wait to see the world of “Caraval” through Tella’s eyes and to hear her thoughts about her sister. We only got a one-sided not all too positive impression of her in here and I’m curious if it will be rectified. The fact she was absent for most of the book didn’t really work in her favour either so I guess we’ll see what “Legendary” will bring.

”Please, trust me.” Scarlett held out a hand. No longer stained in blood, she hoped she could save Tella in the way she hadn’t been albe to save Julian in the tunnels. “I will find a way to take care of you. I love you so much.”
“Oh, Scar.” Tella said. Tears streamed down her pink cheeks. “I love you, too. And I wish I was strong like you. Strong enough to hope it could be better, but I can’t do this anymore.”

Tella & Legend:

”She practically fell into the arms of her newest partner. He pulled her closer than the others had. His large hands snaked determinedly around her, bringing with them a new surge of pleasure. Tella liked the confident way he touched her. As he tugged her toward the edge of the party and farther from the crowd, she imagined feeling his hands on places besides her waist.

I’m convinced this was Legend and I’m sooo damn ready to read about their love story!!! Because I’m about 99,99% sure that there will be one between those two! ❤ Alone the way she reacted to him touching her!! Can I have more of this chemistry, please?! Also I’m pretty certain Legend had his reasons to play with Tella. He wouldn’t have answered everyone and there seems to be something that attracted him. I’m so READY to read more about those two, I can’t even! ❤

4
I loved “Caraval” and for me it was one of those books that had me super intrigued. The idea of Caraval was so fascinating and I adored the magical atmosphere. There was always an undercurrent of danger and mystery accompanying the MCs actions and I lived and breathed for it. =) I can’t wait to read “Legendary”! Let’s hope I’ll get my hands on a copy soon!