Series: Caraval #1
Also in this series: Secrets of a Fangirl, Finale
Published by Macmillan Audio on 1/31/17
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Length: 10 hrs. 18 min.
Source: The Publisher, BEA
My content rating: YA (Nothing more than kissing, Some violence)
This program includes a bonus interview with the author.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval Stephanie Garber's sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved 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 far-away, 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. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.
Let Garber sweep you up in the fantastical game of Caraval, where the lines between fantasy and reality are undisputably blurred and you’ll never know what to expect next!
What Fed My Addiction:
- Welcome to the game! The game of Caraval is completely fantastical and more than a little dangerous. While, on the surface, it’s just a sort of scavenger hunt where Scarlett has to follow the clues, there are a plethora of magical elements that not only make the game vastly more intriguing but also throw plenty of roadblocks in Scarlett’s way. Plus, Scarlett is never quite sure what’s real and what’s all part of the game—and as the stakes get higher and higher, that distinction becomes very important indeed. By the end, Scarlett is fighting desperately just to make it out with both her and her sister alive! Caraval is full of fascinating and whimsical surprises that kept me guessing through the entire story.
- Sensory surplus. Garber uses sensory details in incredibly unique ways throughout the book—especially colors, which Scarlett sees in everything, including her own emotions. But it didn’t stop there. Scarlett often described the sights, sounds and even smells around her in vivid detail and sometimes in surprising ways. Because of this, the world of Caraval is richly colorful and jumps off the page (well, okay, for me it jumped out of my car speakers).
- Twists and turns. Yep, you’ll never know what to expect from this book—and though I definitely suspected a few of the final twists, I definitely didn’t have it all figured out, and I certainly enjoyed the ride of discovery!
What Left Me Hungry for More:
- Not much. There is one aspect of the book that I suspect some other people might get frustrated with but didn’t really bother me considering the circumstances. This is a MAJOR spoiler, so absolutely don’t click on this link if you don’t want to be spoiled. View Spoiler »The deaths in the game aren’t permanent. I suspected this all along because we knew that Scarlett had the possible opportunity to wish at the end AND that there was the possibility that it really was all just a game—but I was never absolutely sure. So, while there was a tiny piece of me that held back from being too overly sad at the deaths, I still found myself wrapped up in Scarlett’s emotions, especially due to Soler’s narration, which was spot-on. BUT I do know that this is a pet-peeve for some people in fantasy—deaths that aren’t “real” because the deceased are able to be brought back to life with magic—so this will probably bother some readers, even though I was fine with it. « Hide Spoiler
The Narration: Once again, I was entranced by Rebecca Soler’s narration (she also narrated Heartless, which I listened to recently). There are some incredibly emotional scenes in this book, and Soler gave them life and breadth, making my heart ache. Plus, her narration made the myriad descriptions of sensory details in the book truly shine!
The audiobook also included an interview with Garber at the end, and I truly enjoyed hearing her inspirations for the book and learning about her journey toward being published!
Caraval is whimsical, dramatic and beautifully heart-wrenching, and I’m eager to read even more. I give this book 5/5 stars!
***Disclosure: I received this audiobook from the publisher (along with a copy via #BEA16) in exchange for an honest review. No other compensation was given and all opinions are my own.***
About the Author
My favorite place in the world is Disneyland because it’s the one place on earth where I feel as if the fantastical stories I love to write about could actually come to life.
When I’m not writing, I teach creative writing at a private college in Northern California, where I’ve been known to turn assignments into games and take students on field trips that involve book signings. I’m also a blogger on PUB(LISHING) CRAWL. But I probably spend most of my time on Twitter where I tend to overuse exclamation points and emojis.
To help pay my bills during college, grad school, and the breaks in between, I worked as a barista, a waitress, a bartender, a customer service representative for an energy consulting company, and as a sales girl at Bath and Bodyworks. I also spent years working with youth; I worked as a counselor at space themed summer camp, volunteered at a school for deaf children in Mexico, and I took multiple groups of college students overseas to spend their winter vacations serving at youth hostels in Amsterdam. But out of everything that I’ve done, writing young adult novels has been my favorite job.
My debut YA fantasy novel, Caraval will be published January 2017 (Flatiron Books/Macmillan—US and Hodder & Stoughton—UK). Caraval has sold in twenty-five foriegn territories and the movie rights were pre-empted by Twentieth Century Fox.
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