Caraval: A whole lotta meh

Happy Friday Everyone!!

I just finished Caraval, and therefore thought it would be prudent to do a review for it straight away…here goes…

P.S – Sorry if this seems rather scathing, but I am super annoyed.



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.

My Thoughts

Ok so there was ALOT of hype around this book, so I was obviously pretty excited to read it. I had heard it was magical and was aimed towards people who loved the Night Circus, which I absolutely adored. Did I adore Caraval? No, no I didn’t.

Firstly, I disliked Scarlett. I found her annoying and a bit of a prude. She played the typical snarky female character which I really hate. Why do females always have to be written as defensive, cranky creatures? She was a nag to her sister and it was clear she thought herself more intelligent and morally better than her. To be honest, I didn’t see her really grow as a person throughout the story, because by the end she was exactly the same as she had been in the beginning,

Secondly, wow I did not know that there was going to be physical abuse in this story. Scarlett and Tella’s Father is an absolute ass, not just by words but he also mistreats them physically as well. I’m not offended by this or anything like that, but maybe if there had been some kind of warning at the start that this kind of content is present in the stories. I can imagine it could be triggering for some people.

Thirdly, insta-love. Meh. I really dislike the whole “we’ve only known each other for 2 hours but we are deeply in love”. It feels unrealistic and Julian just played the token “bad-boy” persona. I have seen his character in so many stories…flirty, with a crooked smile and eyes that promise bad things. Nope, nope, nope. And OMG you know what really annoyed me? After all that, Scarlett has the gall to tell her sister “you can’t fall in love with someone in such a short amount of time”. HYPOCRITE!!

Fourthly, world-building was a bit meh. I didn’t feel any magic. I didn’t really care about the other players or performers. The whole game made me cranky, because I don’t like people being treated like absolute idiots. What’s real? What’s not? Let’s make everyone super confused about what is going on…oh the mystery!! One minute we are in a tunnel, the next we are in a bedroom…whatever.

They are my four main gripes. But overall I am just really annoyed that this story didn’t live up to my expectations. I skim-read the last 40 pages because I was so over it. Apparently there will be another book to follow but I just don’t think I care enough to read it. I feel like there was potential for an amazing story, but I really just didn’t feel it. I liked Tella way more than Scarlett, so I probably would have preferred Tella’s perspective more.

I give this story 2 out of 5 – #sorrynotsorry




  1. Literary Weaponry · March 17, 2017

    I’ve given you a mental high five. People are tripping over themselves to gush over this book. How the world building is so beautifully done and how in love they are with Scar. I’m sorry. She was annoying and, as you said, hypocritical. When I wrote my review of the book I tried to give it a positive twist but the more I think about it the more I get annoyed with myself. This book didn’t deserve a positive twist. I found myself picturing the venue as the same one in The Night Circus more often than not because there wasn’t enough of a description for me to view it in it’s own light. Massive let down of an over hyped book.

    Liked by 1 person

    • littlebookynook · March 18, 2017

      Haha thank you! Yeah I found it hard to write something positive, mostly because of all the hype. I’m usually pretty easy to please with books, which just shows how below average I thought this book was. I hated how her nickname was Crimson….bleh 😬 Thanks for reading 😊😊

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Megan @ bookslayerReads · March 18, 2017

    Sorry to hear you were disappointed in this one! Obviously, I’ve been anticipating it, just like everyone else… and it’s sitting on my bookshelf now, waiting for me. I’m still going to read it, but at least I won’t go in with super high expectations. Thanks for the heads up! And great, honest review, Steff. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • littlebookynook · March 18, 2017

      I hope you like it more than I did ☺ I think lowering your expectations is a good idea, you might end up liking it better. Thanks for reading 💜💜

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Lashaan and Trang (Bookidote) · March 18, 2017

    Ah man instalove is such a shitty thing T_T I’m happy to hear the other side of the medal for Caraval I need to read this to find out 😀 Great review ! -Trang

    Liked by 1 person

    • littlebookynook · March 18, 2017

      Yeah I’m not a fan of instalove at all, I love the slow burn romances 😊😊 I hope you end up liking it more than I did! Thanks so much for reading 💜💜


  4. Jessica Spencer · March 18, 2017

    Great to see an honest review that isn’t afraid to say Caraval wasn’t fantastic. I kept hearing about this by big BookTubers meaning I was super hyped, and now I’m seeing lots of people like “Yeah, it really ain’t that great.” And THANK YOU for mentioning that there was physical abuse in the book. I find that stuff very difficult to read, and if I had have read this book at the wrong time I would have totally been triggered. You’re the first person I’ve heard to mention it, so thank you a whole freaking lot.

    Liked by 1 person

    • littlebookynook · March 18, 2017

      Yeah its funny how many people had said this book was amazing. And I had only heard one other person mention the physical abuse, which is weird considering it was quite a big part of the story! Thanks so much for reading 💜💜

      Liked by 1 person

  5. otakutwins1 · April 3

    I’m glad I’m not the only one who didn’t like it xD I liked Scarlett but I can definitely agree with her hypocrisy, she instaloved everyone. And the abuse in that book, especially that certain scene near the end was so difficult for me to read. I also thought it was over descriptive with the words. I expected it to focus more on sister relationships instead of romantic ones instead and I hated the ending xD

    Liked by 1 person

    • littlebookynook · April 5

      Yeah I heard alot of people say they at least wished the sisters relationship was more of a focus than the instalove. I hated the ending too. Thanks for reading 💜


  6. lovelene · April 6

    I havent read this book but based on the way you describe how you feel towards certain scenes made me feel annoyed too. But as I’ve made an oath to read, I will read this book because everyone kept on talking about it. I guess I’ll see it for myself.

    Wonderful review btw. Very honest 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • littlebookynook · April 6

      I think it’s a good idea to give it a go, you might love it, who knows 😊 Thank you so much!!! And thank you for reading 💜


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