In honor of Finale: A Caraval Novel release this month I am doing a duel review of Caraval and Legendary! It’s a little late since Finale was released on the 7th, but it is still May so I’m making it work.
Title: Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: January 31st, 2017
Rating: 4.5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Remember, it’s only a game…
Scarlett Dragna has never left the tiny island where she and her sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval—the faraway, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show—are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. Nevertheless she becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic. And whether Caraval is real or not, Scarlett must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over or a dangerous domino effect of consequences will be set off, and her beloved sister will disappear forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…beware of getting swept too far away.
Caraval is the first novel in this trilogy, and it is told from Scarletts point of view. Scarlett is the older of the two Dragna sisters, and is devoted to her role in life: protecting Tella at all costs. I love the relationship between the two sisters. They have a very abusive father, and they are always trying to keep the other safe from him. Scarlett is even willing to marry a man she has never met to get Tella away from their father. And while Tella is reckless most of the time, she also does everything she can for Scarlett as well.
I also really like the relationship between Julian and Scarlett. He is kind of shady for most of the book, but you can also see how he really cares for Scarlett and develops serious feelings for her.
The setting is probably my favorite part of these books! Caraval is such a magical and beautiful place. Legend (the master of Caraval) sets the mood for an exciting and mysterious game. Every place Scarlett visits is meant to trick and test her, but she uses her wits to get out of most situations.
What I didn’t particularly love is all the lies that had to be told to get Scarlett through the game. So much of it was actually a bit confusing and I feel like somethings weren’t necessary to the story. I understand that the point of Caraval is to make you wonder what is a game and what is reality, but I hate how Scarlett had to be treated just to get to the end and “save” her sister. If I was Scarlett I would never be able to trust another human again. But it did lend something to the story and made the reading experience enjoyable.
Title: Legendary by Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: May 29th, 2018
Rating: 4.5 Stars ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister, Scarlett, from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice, but now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever…
Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . the games have only just begun.
I loved this book just as much as the first! This time the story is from Tella’s point of view, and this book picks up right where the first book left off. Now it’s Tella’s turn to play the game, only this time she isn’t competing for her sister like Scarlett was, she is competing for love and quite possibly her life.
I wish we would have seen more Scarlett in this book, but I understand she needed a break from the games in order to recover from all that went down in book one. We did see some character development from Tella though, who I thought became a lot more mature in this book. Her relationship with the prince was interesting. It was almost like a love hate relationship a lot of the time. That is the same with Tella and Dantes relationship. She felt safe with him, but also didn’t trust him. She had feelings for him, but also had bigger goals that were more important at times. I liked how all the relationships seemed very complex.
Again the setting was whimsical, even more so than in the first book. This time Caraval it is at the grand palace, with beauty and evil lurking all around. There is significant detail in the stars this time around, and I love the magic of the night sky so I really enjoyed that difference from the first book.
The overall plot of this book was a bit more dire than the first book. In the first book there was a life at stake, but in this one there are many lives at stake, as well as the future of humanity. But like the first book it all rests in the hands of one of the courageous and bold Dragna sisters.
I can not wait to get my hands on Finale and see how this magical trilogy ends! My hope for the final book is a mixture of the two sisters points of view, or at least them working together for once instead of going at it alone. I would also like to see more sibling action from Dante and Julian.
If you’ve read Caraval and Legendary, let me know what you hope to see in Finale! If you have already had the chance to read Finale let me know how you liked it! As always thank you and Happy Reading 🖤