ARC Review: Caraval (Untitled #1) by Stephanie Garber


Series: Untitled #1
Author: Stephanie Garber
Published January 31st 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton

Goodreads Synopsis
Two sisters bound by love and a father they fear escape their tiny, secluded island for the wondrous performance of Caraval, where the audience plays along in a mysterious and magical game of determining what's real and what's fantasy. And where only one sister might be brave enough to win the ultimate prize of 'an impossible wish'...

Scarlett Dragna 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 lonely Scarlett, it represents freedom, an escape from her abusive father and from her own dark past.

Still, Scarlett is too scared of her father to leave Trisda. Until she is kidnapped by her wild younger sister Donatella and a dangerous yet oh-so-seductive sailor named Julian and taken to the mystical Isla de los Suenos, the site of this year's Caraval. When they arrive, her sister immediately disappears. Since protecting Tella is all she knows, Scarlett is forced to join forces with Julian and find her before the evil Master of Caraval does...

I received an Advance Reader Copy from the publisher. This in no way impacted on my view.

Like basically everyone else, this was a debut I had been waiting for since the moment I first heard about it. I immediately sent my request, and when it came, I was so happy. Caraval tells Scarlett's story to find her lost sister, who has run away to the wonder of Caraval, a week long performance, with audience participation. Fleeing her isle of Trisda, and her cruel father, Scarlett finds herself relying on Julian, a sailor she met on her way to the site of the Caraval. As they progress through the game, and draw closer to finding Tella, the stakes are raised.

Firstly, this book was like nothing I expected. I don't exactly know what I thought it would be like, but it was completely different. From the start I was blown away by the language and world that Garber had created, and she used just the right amount of suspense to keep you on the edge of your seat. I loved the idea of Caraval, and each of the tasks Scarlett and Julian had to complete to progress throughout the game.

I also really liked the characters. We had our main characters Scarlett and Julian, and Scarlett was quite open, and we knew what she was thinking, whereas Julian always had an air of mystery about him, which we end up discovering by the end of the book. There's also the Master, who is running the entire show, but we don't see him until it's too late.

There's a hint of romance in the book, and I liked the 'will they, won't they?' aspect of it. Because the book is part of a series, I hope the romance develops more in future books, but I think it'll take some time for this to happen. 

This was a solid debut from Garber, and I'm expecting good work from her next book - I'd recommend thus book!

Dates Read:
September 5-7, 2016


4 Stars

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