Caraval; A Review

caravlIt’s officially 2017, and I already know that this is going to be a great year for books! Hooray! It is wonderful to be back here and writing again about all the books I am reading this year. With my expectations for new releases in 2017 being so high, I had a difficult time selecting what I was going read and review first. Should I go with the fun-loving chic lit novel I’ve been dying to read? Nope. Should I go with an intriguing historical non fiction about the west? Nope, that won’t do. What about a good literary fiction novel that showed up the other week? Nah. I was all lost of what would be the book that would set the tone for 2017, but then I found it. Buried deep in my TBR pile, I found Caraval which was just the  novel I needed to kick-start the new year. With the promise of mysteries, magic and mayhem, Stephanie Garber lured me into her story with the promises of more than the covered offered. Long story short… I was hooked.

Caraval is the story of who sisters, Tella and Scarlett, living on a small island with their ruthless father waiting for an invitation that never came. With an arranged marriage on the horizons, Scarlett is doing everything she can to get off her island and away from her father. The wedding is a week away but the invitation the sisters have waited their whole lives for has finally come to their doorstep. An invitation to Caraval, the once a year magic show has come into the hands of Scarlett and Tell, only with this show the audience do more than just wacth, they are the participants. It is a once in a lifetime opportunity, unfortunately they are not allowed to leave the island and if they tried the consequences would be dire. With the help of a mysterious young sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to Caraval before their fates are decided. Upon arriving to the mysterious show, Tella is kidnapped by the ringleader of Caraval, Legend and it is up to Scarlett to save her. Scarlett must do everything she can to win the game in order to get her sister back from the clutches of Legend, but with a world where fantasy and reality are blurred that is easier said than done.

With fantasy book, they tend to fall into two categories; page turner, unable to put down it is so good, or meh. I haven’t read many fantasy novels that fall in between those two, they are either really good or just average novels. Maybe that is why fantasy is such a hard genre to write for; not only are you making up an entirely new world in your head but you must have captivating story telling and a writing style laced with magic and intrigue to keep the reader invested. However, Stephanie has done all those things and kept me engaged and intrigued till the very end. This book has everything; magic, danger, romance, back stabbing, just the right amount of plot twists and turns, sinister villains, and so much more. I finished this book in one day. But before you get all ” that’s not that big of a deal”, this book is also over 400 pages. *boom* I could not put this book down. I was captured by the whimsical, exotic world of Caraval and I needed to know if Scarlett would be able to save her sister from Legend’s game. It felt as if I was playing the game right along with her; I was even shouting occasionally at the book for her not to do things or go certain places. I was rooting for Scarlett even thought some of the things she did annoyed me to no end! There were moments I literally wanted to reach into the book and choke her. Stephanie did what all great story tellers do, they invest their readers into the story and its characters so that we have those ” I want to choke you” moments. I rooted for Scarlett, was worried, anxious, excited, heart broken, and all the other emotions for the characters of this novel, and tha is a true testamint of Stephanie’s talent as a writer and story teller. The novel was brilliant, in a way that was unlike any other fantasy novel I have ever read before. I wasn’t ready for the novel to be over when it was over, I wanted more.

If the rest of the books I read this year are anything like Caraval, then not only am I not going to be sleeping very much but I am beyond excited for what it to come. Carnaval exceeded every expectation I had for a great fantasy novel and helped to establish a new bar of how fantasy novels should look like. I also appreciated that magic was not in the forefront of the novel like some fantasy novels where it is all about magic and nothing else. With Caraval, the magic aspect was so intertwined with the rest of the novel that it just naturally fit in with the ebb and flow of the story. It was an addition to an incredible story instead of it taking it over. There is so much more I could say about this book but I am just going to say it was stupendous, incredible, exciting, mind-blowing, adventurous, captivating, page turning excitement, and just a wonderful way to spend a raining afternoon cooped up in doors. I am looking forward to Stephanie’s other work, she completely blew away all my fantasy expectations for all eternity so I am going need more of her books please and thank you. So, if you are looking for a fantasy novel that does have magic in the forefront and will keep you captivated, then I highly recommend Caraval. You won’t be disappointed.

Happy Reading!

Disclaimer: I was sent Caraval for free from FlatIron Books for an honest review. This review is of my own work, and I did not copy or refer to any other reviewers/writers/bloggers for this post. All content provided on “A Comfy Chair” is for informational purposes only. I make no representation as to the accuracy or completeness of any information on this site or found by following any link on this site. I will not be liable for any errors or omissions in this information nor for the availability of this information. I will not be liable for any losses, injuries, or damages from the display or use of this information.

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