Book Reviews #3 : Caraval

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Remember, it’s only a game
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.

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Caraval

I have to say I was quite curious about Caraval, I’ve heard about it a lot, many of my friends read it, and described it as « unique », « obsessive » or « not something you ever read », and all of this is true.

The darkness surrounding the atmosphere of Caraval, against the brightness of Scarlett, the main character, created an irresistible trap for the innocent reader that I was. It is so easy to fall under the Caraval’s spell, just as Scarlett does. And despite the warnings, or the fear, we start playing the game too!  emotions painted as colors, her bravery growing with every page. I love the survivor in her, the strength she shows. We feel lost with her, we hope and love with her, and we try to understand desperately what is happening in this game that is more than just a play…

The main character, Scarlett is really the kind of character I hate: overprotective sister, wanting what is best for the other and ending up being obsessed by control. Hopefully, these characters change during the reading. I am glad it did for Scarlett. If in the first pages she was exasperating me, I soon ended up eager to see what her next move would be! It was brilliant for the atmosphere of the book to have her emotions painted as colors. I love the survivor in her, the strength she shows, her bravery growing with every page. We feel lost with her, we hope and love with her, and we try to understand desperately what is happening in this game that is more than just a play…

I loved everything in this book. Garber’s writing is unique, so vivid, full of colors and comparisons enriching so much the story. We are in Caraval with Scarlett, I could almost smell the sweet and sugary air with her, the magic all around. And that’s always something I pay attention to in a book: how easily you can fall in the author’s universe, how long it takes to imagine their world in your mind. And for Caraval, it only took me a few pages to be trapped in this mist of colors, darkness and emotions. I lived each night of the Caraval with Scarlett, and I would do it again!

The plot twist at the end made me sooo curious on what will come next! I can only recommend this book to you, if you have not read it. It is one of my 5 star read of this year for sure, and I know that if I read it again, it will only be more vivid and breath taking than the first time!

Have you read it already??

See you for a cup!

Elise

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