Caraval by: Stephanie Garber

May 26, 2018

I've been putting off reading Caraval for what feels like FOREVER but when I saw the audiobook was available at my library I couldn't NOT start it. 
While reading, I switched between the physical version of the book and the audiobook. And, I have to say, I was not a huge fan of the audiobook. The narrator's voice was not my cup of tea which, may I just add, is more of a personal preference thing. I like when audiobook narrator's have a more unique voice (if that makes sense xD). The narration does not affect my rating of the book but I wanted to add my thoughts just in case any of y'all were interested.

Anyways... Onward to the book review!

From page one, I was in love with Garber's writing. The writing is very simple yet, it maintains an air of magic throughout the book. The only thing I disliked about the writing was how every color was explained. Ultimately, there didn't seem to be a need for the explanations and I felt like it often turned the sentences into something very juvenile sounding. However, I'm also someone who LOVES color symbolism. Figuring out the meaning of a particular color used is something I enjoy doing. If you're someone that likes having everything explained for you, I don't think the writing will bother you at all. 

While I may have found myself in love with the writing and the world of Caraval, the characters fell flat for me. After the first three chapters I knew our main character, Scarlett, was going to try my patience. She was meant to be the protective older sister but, to me at least, she came off as arrogant and self-centered. I didn't hate her to a point where I literally couldn't finish the book but let's just say I never really grew to like her. 
I didn't really have any problems with Julian, the novels main love interest. He wasn't my favorite character but I also didn't dislike him.
Once you reach the end of the novel, you begin to realize that Donatella, Scarlett's sister, was sorely underrated. I wish she would have been more of a three-dimensional character for a larger portion of the book. However, she is the main focus of the sequel so I'm not too mad that her character wasn't explored more in Caraval. 
I loved how Legend was a mysterious, daunting figure throughout the book. I always wanted to know more about him and I'm crazy excited to see his character explored more in the sequel, as well. 

As much as I enjoyed the story-telling I had a huge problem with the use of suicide as a plot point. Highlight for spoilers: towards the end of the story, Donatella has to kill herself, and does kill herself, in order to complete her deal with Legend (I believe). She jumps to her death from a balcony and something about this scene just felt very morbid. Then, later on, Donatella comes back to life and makes the suicide into a happy, heroic thing which felt wrong on so many levels. While I get what the author was trying to do, I feel like this scene could have been handled better. If you're triggered by scenes of suicide then proceed with caution, please. 

Overall, I enjoyed the book. It's definitely not my favorite read of 2018 but it was addicting enough that I finished it in under 24 hours xD.

What did you think of Caraval?
If you haven't read it yet, do you plan on reading it?

Thank you for reading and have a wonderful day!

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