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Saturday, February 11, 2017

Book Review! Caraval by Stephanie Garber




Caraval (Caraval #1) by Stephanie Garber 
Genre: Young Adult (Fantasy/Romance)
Date Published: January 31, 2017
Publisher: Flatiron Books

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 . . . 

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved 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 far-away, 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. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.


"Before you enter the world of Caraval, you must remember that it’s all a game . . . "

Caraval is the first book in the Caraval series by Stephanie Garber. From the very beginning, I was completely pulled into Scarlett's life. This world was quirky, and strange, and felt a bit like a circus and Wonderland only better with its mystery, lies, danger, romance and how all those things are woven together to make something completely impossible, yet completely believable in such a strange and magical way. You seriously don't know who to trust, or what is real. There was no down time. If things seem calm in a moment, just know something is about to happen. The mystery behind Caraval and it's characters is completely intoxicating. I can't think of a better word to describe this reading experience. I know it's a little early in the year to start talking about favorite books, but I don't see how it can get much better than this.

The ARC of Caraval by Stephanie Garber was kindly provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review. The opinions are my own.


Chapter One

It took seven years to get the letter right.

Year 50, Elantine Dynasty

            Dear Mister Caraval Master,

            My name is Scarlett, but I’m writing this letter for my sister, Tella. It’s going to be her birthday soon and she would very much like to see you and your amazing Caraval players. Her birthday is the 37th day of the Growing Season and it would be the most wonderfulest birthday ever if you came.

Most hopefully,

Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda

*

Year 51, Elantine Dynasty

            Dear Mister Caraval Master,

            It’s Scarlett again. Did you get my last letter? This year my sister says she’s too old to celebrate birthdays, but I think she’s just upset you never came to Trisda. This Growing Season she’ll be ten and I’ll be eleven. She won’t admit it but she’d still very much like to see you and your wondrous Caraval players.

Most hopefully,

Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda

Year 52, Elantine Dynasty

            Dear Caraval Master Legend,

            I’m sorry I got your name wrong in those other letters. I hope that’s not why you haven’t come to Trisda. My little sister’s birthday wasn’t the only reason I’ve wanted you to bring your amazing Caraval players here, I’d love to see them too.

            Sorry this letter is short, my father will be angry if he catches me writing to you.

Most hopefully,

Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda

*

Year 52, Elantine Dynasty

            Dear Caraval Master Legend,

            I just heard the news and I wanted to send my condolences. Even though you still haven’t come to Trisda or responded to any of my letters, I know you’re not a murderer. I was very sorry to hear you won’t be traveling for a while.

Most kindly,

Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda

*

Year 55, Elantine Dynasty

            Dear Master Legend,

            Do you remember me, Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda? I know it’s been a few years since I wrote. I heard you and your players have started performing again. My sister told me you never visit the same place twice, but a lot has changed since you visited here fifty years ago, and I truly don’t believe anyone would like to see one of your performances more than I would.

Most hopefully,

Scarlett

*

Year 56, Elantine Dynasty

            Dear Master Legend,

            I heard you visited the capital of the Southern Empire last year and changed the color of the sky. Is that true? I actually tried attending with my sister, but we’re not supposed to leave Trisda. Sometimes I believe I’ll never go farther than the Conquered Isles. I suppose that’s why I’ve wanted you and your players to come here so badly. It’s probably futile to ask again, but I do hope you’ll consider coming.

Most hopefully,

Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda

*

Year 57, Elantine Dynasty

            Dear Master Legend,

            This will be my final letter. I’m going to be married soon. So it’s probably best you and your players don’t come to Trisda this year.

Scarlett Dragna

*

Year 57, Elantine Dynasty

            Dear Scarlett Dragna, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda—

            Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. I am sorry I cannot bring my players to Trisda. We’re not traveling this year. Our next performance is by invitation only, but I would look forward to meeting you and your fiancĂ© if you could find a way to leave your isle and join us. Please accept the enclosed as a gift.

From the pen of Caraval Master Legend

author
My favorite place in the world is Disneyland because it’s the one place on earth where I feel as if the fantastical stories I love to write about could actually come to life.

When I’m not writing, I teach creative writing at a private college in Northern California, where I’ve been known to turn assignments into games and take students on field trips that involve book signings. I’m also a blogger on PUB(LISHING) CRAWL. But I probably spend most of my time on Twitter where I tend to overuse exclamation points and emojis.

To help pay my bills during college, grad school, and the breaks in between, I worked as a barista, a waitress, a bartender, a customer service representative for an energy consulting company, and as a sales girl at Bath and Bodyworks. I also spent years working with youth; I worked as a counselor at space themed summer camp, volunteered at a school for deaf children in Mexico, and I took multiple groups of college students overseas to spend their winter vacations serving at youth hostels in Amsterdam. But out of everything that I’ve done, writing young adult novels has been my favorite job.

My debut YA fantasy novel, Caraval will be published January 2017 (Flatiron Books/Macmillan—US and Hodder & Stoughton—UK). Caraval has sold in twenty-five foriegn territories and the movie rights were pre-empted by Twentieth Century Fox.

To learn more about Stephanie Garber  and her books, visit her website.You can also find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and Twitter.

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