Review: Caraval by Stephanie Garber

caravalTitle: Caraval
Author: Stephanie Garber
Published: January 31, 2017 by Flatiron Books
Genre: Fantasy, Romance, YA/NA, Fiction
Series Information: Caraval #1
Format: Hardcover, 407 pages
Source: February Owlcrate – Run Away With The Circus
Recommended For: Those who loved Night Circus and also enjoy darker themes in storytelling, a la Hunger Games (a bit).
Goodreads Rating: 4.11
My Rating:✰✰✰✰✰

I have seen this book so much on Instagram that I almost bought it before I had received my Owlcrate box, but I had a bit of a feeling that it might have been included due to the theme. A lot of reviews I had seen had mentioned that people who loved Night Circus would really enjoy this story, and even with seeing that (and my love-hate relationship with the aforementioned book) I went in a little skeptical as to how much I might like the story. I had read a couple of pages to get a feel for the story before settling into my reading room to really delve in and what I had read really piqued my interests to see what would happen.
I want to touch on the uniqueness of the pages in this book – There were gorgeous page illustrations for each day of the Caraval games, which you don’t see too often in books. Also, which I’m totally working to get my hands on, is that the UK versions of the books have different images embossed into the hardcovers under the dust jacket with symbols from the game (top hat, rose, clock, dress, and tent). I think that’s a clever way to market the book as buyers scramble to get the design they really want, which I hear the clock was the most popular. The handwritten notes that sprinkle the beginning and end of the book are a wonderful touch that really pulls you into the world.

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Seriously, I need to get my hands on one of the UK editions!

Caraval was honestly a pleasant surprise to read. Looking at my Bookout app, I pretty much would have read it in a day and that’s not something I typically do. This book was also a little on the dark side of what you encounter with YA books – I could say that there are instances where there could be a little bit of a trigger warning on some of the actions that took place in the book, abuse and emotional manipulation being the two that I can think of easily. I was a bit shocked to read of the abuse that the Dragna sisters endured, but I am in no way saying that it shouldn’t be in a book because what happens to them happens to tons of women (and men) in the world today and we can’t shelter everyone from it. The rest of the story is full of danger, heartbreak, and lots of deception…even in the midst of what seems to be a fantastic, magical island.
There was a moment in the beginning where I really thought that one of the characters was the mysterious Legend, which was half-confirmed, then turned out to be someone completely different! There were a lot of twists that kept you guessing where the story would lead you next – I haven’t been this engaged in a story that involved a game since Hunger Games.

Have you read Caraval yet? If you haven’t, I HIGHLY recommend this book as your next read. I’m now anxiously awaiting the release of book two since the ending was a bit of a cliff-hanger.

Purchase a copy for yourself here: Caraval

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