Genre: YA, fantasy
First published: 2017
Author: Stephanie Garber
Synopsis: 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.
I have not been this frustrated with a book since I read Glass Sword.
Another book with an absolutely GORGEOUS cover (especially the UK edition that I have) that is painfully disappointing. It just had so much potential and it failed to deliver on every. single. level.
Characters? What characters? They’re so one dimensional, a cardboard cutout has more depth. The only character I felt anything about was Scarlett and the only thing I felt about her was frustration. There was a ridiculous insta-romance and all the characters had the stupidest motivations ever. It was just lazy writing. Everything was just convenient, without really being explained.
The plot? It was so lame and predictable. Like I said, everything was oh, so convenient. And it ended in a stupid, lame cliffhanger and I was just like… I don’t care. I really don’t care. It was advertised as being a book about some magical circus-like performance. Nope. Nope. it felt nothing like a magical performance. It was more like a scavenger hunt on a magical island. Which would also have been a cool premise… but it’s not what the book was advertised to be.
The worldbuilding was almost nonexistent. Whenever something was convenient, it would just be there. Like oh, the main character needs something, well here it is. It’s part of the world. No explanation. Doesn’t really have any impact on anything other than that specific thing that it’s convenient for. Lazy, sloppy storytelling.
Also, the writing was just… it tried to hard. And it was weird. The descriptions were so… awkward. You could tell that the author was trying to write very beautifully and poetically, but it wasn’t. Not everyone can pull off beautiful, magical, poetical writing. And that’s okay. But they shouldn’t try to force it.
I can’t really say more than this without spoilers, so if you’re interested in my full thoughts on the book, check out my rant post about it. I will definitely not be continuing with this series.