Saturday, May 26, 2018

Review: Caraval

Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: January 31, 2017

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.

I feel like this year I'm either full of unpopular opinions, or I just am not enjoying books the way I would like to.

I finally read Caraval, after having an arc in my possession for almost two years. My friends all love this book, so I knew I needed to read it. But it left me... disappointed.

I seem to be having some similar issues with a lot of the books I'm disappointed in, and that is I find myself hating the main character or characters.

From the very beginning, as soon as the letters ended, I found Scarlett to be obnoxious and over-bearing. She tries to control her sister's life, insisting that Tella with thank her for it later. Yeah, okay. The only character I found myself liking was Julian. I could say with certainty I would love to read a book about him.

Okay Ill be honest, Scarlett did get better as the book went on. When she stopped having a single focus. But she was still annoying and naive, and I really wish characters would learn things more quickly. 

So the plot centers around Scarlett as she attempts to find her kidnapped sister, Tella, while navigating the intrigues and possible horrors of Caraval. But her naïveté makes it difficult to empathize with her when she basically ignores important information and mopes all day and misreads many clues. Clues that seemed just so obvious.

I found myself constantly frustrated while reading this, and had my friends not absolutely adored this book, I would have DNFd it after the first few chapters.

Not worth the hype. While I did finally begin enjoying it near the end, it wasn't nearly enough to make me want to read the next book or even make me glad I finished this one.

2 stars 

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