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.
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