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Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Book review)

Updated: Aug 12, 2023

Hello and welcome to my blog today. I have just finished Caraval by Stephanie Garber, this is the first book in the Caraval trilogy and I can't believe it took me this long to read it! I read it as part of a buddy read over a week in February, with a group of fellow bookstagrammers over on Instagram. This was my first buddy read and I thoroughly enjoyed it, although I have to say it was immensely difficult to stop at certain parts and not carry on right the way through the book! I have to admit I did have to read the last two sections in one go as it was just too good to put down and I needed to know how it ended!

Front cover of Caraval by Stephanie Garber


A legendary competition.

A mesmerizing romance.

An unbreakable bond between two sisters.

Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her 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 faraway, 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. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.

𝑀𝓎 𝓉𝒽𝑜𝓊𝑔𝒽𝓉𝓈

This book was so stunning. I most certainly got swept away! As I said before it was so hard not to read it all in one go to find out who Legend was and what was going to happen to Scarlett and Donatella. There was so much magic and mystery from the very beginning. I'm glad that Julian intercepted to get Scarlett over to Caraval as she began as quite a scared, worried girl. She needed some help to build her character and I'm glad to say she began to find her strength as the book progressed.

The world building was glorious, I could imagine being in the world that Legend had created. It was described with such vivid colour and sounded like such a strange and beautiful place. The magic was all around and kept the story aptly confusing and strange. I loved that I was left constantly guessing until the very end about who Legend was, I felt I couldn't trust any of the characters, as much as I wanted to. There was way too much intrigue and deception surrounding all of them. Julian and Dante especially. I was left twisting and turning the whole time trying to figure out who was being truthful and who should not be trusted.

There were twists and turns at every moment and it really was unputdownable. We all loved it so much that we have decided to buddy read the following books in the series as well!

I highly recommend you read this series if you haven't already. It is fantastical, whimsical, exciting, mysterious and magical. I can't wait to get the rest of the books read!

If this book takes your fancy you can grab the series on kindle for the bargain price of 99p you can reach this deal using the following paid link - hurry I don't know how long this will last!

Kindle trilogy:

Or the paperback set can be found here:

Both of these are affiliate links and I will earn a small commission if you purchase using them.

Do let me know in the comments if you decide to read these books, you can head over to Instagram and join us for the buddy read of book 2 in March! Hit the links below to find me on my socials.

Enjoy being swept away......

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