Title: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Genre(s): Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: January 31st, 2017
Number of Pages: 407
My Rating: ⭐⭐ (2.0/5.0)


Finally. Yes. Finally I’m done with this book. Pheww. 😪 After constantly putting it down and so many times pushing myself to keep going, I’m eventually finished. The cover of this book is so pretty. It’s one of the reasons I bought it. The other is because so many readers like the book and it is said to be one of the most anticipated YA release of 2017. It’s so sad that I didn’t find the book living up to its popularity. 😭 A lot of readers say this is similar to The Night Circus, but I haven’t read it yet so I wouldn’t know. Many others also say that it is nothing like The Night Circus, and Caraval is actually worse. If I have read both, I would’ve most likely agreed with the later. #SorryNotSorry


But Scarlett had already been broken. For years her father tore her down. Over and over, she had let him. She’d allowed him to make her feel worthless and powerless. But she was neither of those things. She was done allowing her fear to make her weaker, to eat away at the meat on her bones until she could do nothing but whimper and watch.

Now let’s peel off one by one what exactly are my problems with this book. First of all, the characters are boring, unreasonable, and flat. 🤦 Scarlett likes to play safe and being protective towards her sister. However, throughout the entire book whenever she wants to do something she would choose not to risk anything and use her sister as a reason. She also somewhat slut-shamed her sister for being reckless. She would say (in 3rd person POV) things like “Scarlett shouldn’t do this or that. Although her sister loves the company and pleasure of men, she is free spirited and would’ve wanted for Scarlett to blah blah blah.” Basically she kind of does everything by her sister’s judgments.

“It’s better this way, sister. There’s more to life than staying safe.”

Meanwhile, the sister Tella, in the beginning I was really annoyed by her. She is the opposite of Scarlett. Although they are polar opposites, it also doesn’t make Tella likable or anything. I was surprised by her for how clever yet dumb she is in the ending plot twist. I thought she is uncaring, but it’s not true. She is clever for thinking such a plan to save her and Scarlett from their father, but I disagree with her method in carrying out the plan. (This may sound confusing and vague. I just don’t want to spoil anything.)

She remembered her first impression of him, tall, roughly handsome, and dangerous, like poison dressed up in an attractive bottle.

Julian is I don’t know who he is. He is bad, but fine. (?) The three of them including Legend and Scarlett’s father are described to be one thing and then later another. Everyone’s background story is given but unclear. 😵

“Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game.”

The next is the plot. What I don’t like about it is that everything feels like a waste of time. 😴 Instead of interacting with other participants of Caraval, Scarlett constantly stumbles through clues by herself. The thrill feeling of fierce competition is absent. Also, every time she is with Julian which is most of the time, her mind goes gooey gooey—all butterfly in the stomach, goosebumps on her skin, and rapid heartbeat fluffy bluff—. She decidedly thinks Julian is a jerk, liar, but she wants to kiss him nonetheless.

The book also makes so many unexpected turns and twists which is really good if it were done brilliantly. All those plot twists only make things confusing. If you just accept everything that happens, that is fine. However, if you really think about it, your head will spin because they won’t make any sense.

She imagined loving him would feel like falling in love with darkness, frightening and consuming yet utterly beautiful when the stars came out.

The romance is freakin’ insta-loveI actually enjoyed Julian and Scarlett, but their timing is just abrupt. Plus, they sometimes do irrational things. In my head I pictured them doing one thing, but they went to totally different direction which made me go WHATT?! 🙄 Also their romance isn’t what I expected to be featured in a YA book, too much skin-ship and rather intimate. I thought it would go slow but sure and keep the readers guessing and wanting. Instead, it just happens. Sure I would prefer it to go with the later, but I wouldn’t say I didn’t like it. I was just a bit surprised.

“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find yourself magic in this world.”

The setting in this book doesn’t feel magical. It’s because the magic itself is suck. There is zero explanation on what is magic, how it works there, whether it has its limits or not. 🤦

Every touch created colors she had never seen. Colors as soft as velvet and as sharp as sparks that turned into stars.

The language, oh my, I hated it when Scarlett describes her feeling or literally anything through colors. If you make a list, you can actually come up with a dictionary of colors by the end of the book.

To summarize everything, this book is only worth 2.0 stars for me. I did enjoy it at one point, but the rest everything is faulty. I’m glad that a lot of readers and maybe including you find the book to be amazing. And I’m sorry that I didn’t like it as much as I hoped I would. Share with me your favorite and least favorite parts of the book. Thank you for reading. I’ll see you with another review! 😘