Source: eARC for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show. Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father. When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organizer, Legend. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.
Review of Caraval by Stephanie GarberConfession: I went into Caraval with a lot of trepidation. I don't read a lot of fantasy, I'm not a fan of magical realism, and I was the one person I know who DNF'd Night Circus. I tried a printed copy, then the audiobook, and just wasn't feeling it.
Luckily, I enjoyed Caraval more than I expected. I do like books with a fairy tale vibe and to me this read more like a fairy tale than fantasy, with a lot of fairy tale tropes woven in.
A few things about Caraval were definitely a mixed bag for me. The writing seemed simplistic for YA in some parts, but was really lovely in others.
That said, the ending of the book was interesting and unexpected, and it looks like there will be a companion book about Scarlett's younger sister, Donatella. Impulsive, self-centered Tella wasn't my favorite character, either - did these two have to be such stereotypic opposites? -- but I'd give her story a chance.
Have you read Caraval? Plan to? Let me know what you think in comments.