Caraval – It’s All Fun and Games. Or Is It?

Caraval Stats
Caraval Cover

Book Summary

“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 attend. 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 whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, and her sister disappears forever.”

– Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Amazon Preview)

Caraval Review

Initial Thoughts

I have had this book on my TBR for awhile, and finally got around to reading it. This book sucked me in right away, and I ended up finishing the whole thing in less than 24 hours. I really enjoyed this book. It’s such a fun story with so many moments where you don’t know what’s real and what’s not real.

I started reading my physical copy of this book, but then quickly realized how much more I enjoy reading on my Kindle, so I ended up buying it on there instead. Unfortunately, it was not one of the books on my TBR that are available on Kindle Unlimited, but I didn’t mind buying the book again for my convenience. *shrug*

Caraval Itself

Let’s start with the characters. This story focuses on two sisters, Scarlett and Tella. However, the story is told from Scarlett’s POV in third-person. At first, Scarlett really annoyed me as a character. She whines a lot, she complains about everything, and she is just overall obnoxious in the beginning. However, eventually I did warm up to her character, and she showed a lot of development throughout the story.

I also really enjoyed Tella’s character and Julian’s character, but neither of them had as much development in this book. I haven’t finished the series yet, so I don’t know if more of their stories come to light later on. Either way, Garber does an excellent job at portraying her characters’ very unique personalities.

The story is fast paced, which was a nice change for me since everything I’ve been reading lately has had a slower pacing. Caraval gets into the action almost right away. You don’t have to wait long at all for the story to pick up, yet the plot doesn’t feel rushed either. There was adequate time for everything to be set up, dealt with, and then resolved.

Finally, I really enjoyed all the twists and turns in this book. There are so many times when you think you have everything figured out… only to realize later on that you were wrong about everything. I love the way Garber sets things up to make it seem like you’ve pinned the perpetrator and then just absolutely crushes those expectations. I definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves fast-paced fantasy with a carnival twist.


Some of my favorite tropes from this series are “Fake Relationship” “Pimped-Out Dress“, and “Scavenger Hunt“. See the list of all the tropes in this series here.

If You Like That, You’ll Like This

This book would be a great next read for fans of The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. And although I haven’t read it yet, I have heard a lot about The Inheritance Games series, and from what I know about it, I think Caraval could also be similar to this series as well.

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