Welcome, welcome, to my first ever review on my blog!
Again, I'm using that reference from Caraval that I used on my first post but this time I have good reason considering it is the book I shall be reviewing!
I'll be honest with you guys, I'm not the most elegant when it comes to articulating my thoughts so I do apologise in advanced if my reviews are subpar and mostly involve the words/phrases: "ugh" "it's just" "I can't" because that's just how I do things. So, now that I've finished my little review ramble I can actually get on with the damn review!
Caraval by Stephanie Garber is a fantasy/magical realism-esque YA novel following Scarlett Dragna during her time at Caraval as she hunts for her sister, Tella, who has been taken as part of the game. The book is full of adventure and magic. There are mysterious elements, shocking elements, and even some romantic twists, however this is in no way a romance novel. Our main character Scarlett is somewhat naive and embarrassed when it comes to things of that nature but she is very much her own woman and does things for herself. Although there is a boy, Julian, with her throughout the game, there is a moment where she thinks he has abandoned her and she just took a moment and basically went "well, screw him. I don't need his help" and off she goes! Strong, independent female characters for the win! (omg do we even use FTW anymore? hahah)
I've been in a bit of a funk lately which has caused a wonderful little thing known as a reading slump. I'm sure you're all (unfortunately) familiar with those so for anyone in the midst of one know I feel your pain! I picked up Caraval after receiving it in my Owlcrate and thinking it sounded intriguing. And it was. It is a mysterious, magical and adventurous novel, but the bloody slump meant I could barely read more than a page or two at a time. However, I pushed through and by the time I got to the final night of Caraval I was racing to finish. I went from reading a page or two a day to powering out the last hundred pages even though I was exhausted and just wanted to sleep... but I couldn't! I had to know what was happening, who Legend was, where Tella is, if she was safe, what would happen when their father found out what happened, wold Scarlett marry the Count?! All these questions that I was worried wouldn't be answered in the last 100 pages! But they were! And every little thing that made me go "I know who that is" or "Ohh I see what's going to happen" didn't. It was full of twists and turns that in a way were so obvious I'm actually mad I didn't pick up on them for once!
Garber is a wonderfully magical writer. Her words flow and the descriptions were just.. ugh! (see I told you I'd use that!). It's been a long time since I picked up a book and believed the image in my head was the same as the author. The book played like a movie in my head, not me reading and trying to place these characters in the setting. In fact, the current book I'm reading is doing this now too, and I honestly think I have Garber to thank for awakening my imagination. The last few years I've been lost within my reading and although I knew the magic was there in the books, I couldn't always see it. But Garber brought that back to me. I get the point of reading again.
The plot was so imaginative and unique - although it has been equated to the Night Circus, I have yet to read that so cannot say - and I just.. I'm actually desperate for the second book! Normally I'm just looking forward to it but more than happy to wait a few months/year to actually pick it up and take a break from the fictional world, but I want to live in the world of Caraval.
Caraval received 5 stars from me - the first this year (if you exclude Everything Everything which I finished on January 1st) - which is a very rare occurrence.
If you have any recommendations of books similar to this please let me know - The Night Circus is already on my TBR shelf!