Author: Stephanie Garber
Hardback: 402 pages
“Remember… it’s only a game…”
Before we get in to the review, can we just take a second to look at the cover of this book? It’s BEAUTIFUL. Possibly one of the most gorgeous covers on my shelf. Also, underneath the dust jacket are several different covers. I got the dress one which I’ve wanted from the start (a signed copy!) curteosy of my boyfriend. I also have another edition with the top hat which I purchased originally as this was one of my most anticipated books of 2017.
I’m quite divided on this book. On one side, I absolutely love anything that’s circus/carnival themed, on the other side, there were certain aspects of this book that annoyed me. I found that the story started a little slowly, I feel like such a situation wouldn’t occur. This isn’t a spoiler as it’s written in the blurb, but their father is abusive. To be honest, I think he was mainly a plot device. He didn’t have much of a personality, seemed to have absolutely no love for his daughters and was oblivious to them unless they were doing wrong. His use of hurting one daughter when the other has wronged added more to emphasise that, he really reveled in their misery and pain. I don’t think someone with such a high status would have two children walking around with obvious wounds and not have people question how they got it to be honest.
But that aside, once they headed to Caraval, the story got more interesting for me. I have to admit, I was really confused through most of it, but it wasn’t a bad confusion. I really wasn’t able to guess what was real and what wasn’t which was exactly how the main characters were feeling too, so I felt like I did get to step in to their shoes. I loved the actual magic of Caraval, the setting, the characters once there, etc. I would love to go (only as a viewer though).
I enjoyed the ‘magic system’ of this book, there was no such thing as paying for things with money in Caraval, but there are several other ways to pay. I won’ts spoil it, but it was an interesting idea.
I saw the love interest happening way earlier in the story than I probably should have, but I wasn’t completely mad by it. It wasn’t complete instalove, so that kind of helped. Though it did follow the hate to love trope, but as I said, it wasn’t awful, it was a relationship I found myself rooting for in the end.
The ending was good, I really enjoyed it. The author has left it open for what could be an absolutely incredible sequel, and I find myself really excited for it, especially with the possibilities I’m running through my head of where it could go.
I would recommend this book if the idea of a ‘creepy’ Carnival type setting entices you, however if this isn’t your cup of tea, I’m not sure you’ll enjoy this book too much.
Love & Laughter