If readers are looking for an easy-to-read, whimsical yet surprising book, Caraval, by Stephanie Garber, is the book for them. The main character, Scarlett Dragna, has been kept on an island with her sister, Tella, by their stern father for the entirety of their lives. The two have grown out of their childish dreams of magic- that is, until they are thrust into Caraval, an extraordinary show that revolves around the participation of the audience. The issue is, the game can be too convincing, and can sweep the players away from reality. When everything might be part of the show, what- and who- can Scarlett trust to be real?
What kept me hooked throughout reading the book was the aspect of mystery. I knew that there would be twists in the plot, but I wasn’t able to predict a single one. The world that Garber has created is another point of interest. The setting of the story is creative and beautiful- this being said, the author’s writing style is simple, making Caraval an easy read. The characters are not deeply developed, and the overarching romance of the story has many clichés- however, once in a while it’s comforting to read a cheesy yet entertaining book.
Don’t be fooled by the description word “cheesy.” While the interactions between characters are on the basic side, the overall plot was a whirlwind of shock. Caraval may not be a book to fall in love with, but it’s certainly a book to read and enjoy. It is also the first book in a trilogy, so there are plenty more mysteries to be discovered and solved in Scarlett’s world of magic and wonder.
Review by Gwendolyn