Thursday, April 27, 2017

Book Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

It seems like it’s been forever since I’ve written a review. It was almost two months ago! I’m not sure that I know how to write one… bear with me.

The Goodreads Mumbo Jumbo:

"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..." [go to Goodreads]
My Two Cents:
First, I will agree with every other reader in the world that this reminds me of the Night Circus. I’ll also say up front that I enjoyed the book, overall. I’m glad I avoided all the hype and controversy discussion a couple of months ago. Some of that was based around scenes of violence and a scene prior to intended forced sex. 

Caraval is a story about a teenage girl, Scarlet) who is ready to be married to an unknown noble who has been sending her letters. She lives with her younger, more impulsive sister, Donatella,  and their abusive father who lost his mind when the girl’s mother disappeared years ago. She sees her marriage as a way to protect herself and her sister. Donatella has other ideas. She wants to run off to the adventure- game known as Caraval and then flee their fathers’ hold.

Ok. So, Scarlet is one of those smart, self- sacrificial girls. Tella is one of those slightly flighty, annoying girls. And of course, there is a boy.

Though Scarlet is warned that Caraval is all trickery (multiple times, nonstop, all the way through), when Tella’s disappearance becomes a part of the experience, Scarlet realizes that some things may be more real than others.

Things I Loved: 
Scarlet experiences and describes her emotions using colors. It’s kinda cool and adds to the wonderful imagery used in this book. The writing makes it easy to imagine being immersed in the worlds of these characters. 

The setting was described beautifully but unfortunately…

Things I Felt Like Meh About:
The story itself was a little predictable. Abusive, over-controlling father; precious lamb daughter; missing mother; over- sexed sister; hot guy. The terrible situations are basically glossed over (with the hot guy being the only one who seems a little taken- aback by the craziness at all). And of course, there’s the who can you trust motif, which means there is a “twist” at the end.

The characterization was fine. Truly. But I didn’t care about the two main girls at all, really. Scarlett is mostly dull and Tella is mostly annoying. Their devotion to each other was the most interesting thing about either one of them. It’s too bad they mostly talked about boys the whole time.

I don't think there were any diverse character points. Blub blub.

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