Published in 2017 by Hodder & Stoughton | Caraval #1 | 3.5 feathers
Scarlett has lived her whole life on the isle of Trisda with her sister and abusive father. Her dream has been to go to Caraval, a performance in which the audience can take part, but has given up hope of ever getting to go. But then, one day, the Caraval master answers her letter and sends along tickets for her sister and her. Then things don’t turn out as planned…
When I finished reading this, I couldn’t decide on what to rate it. On the one hand, I really liked the idea of a week-long performance where the audience mingles with the actors in trying to win the game, and nobody knows how it will play out until it does. I also liked how Scarlett thought and felt in colours. And it was awesome that sisterhood was such an important part in the book.
On the other hand, there are several reasons why I didn’t end up rating this higher, but I think the most prominent of those was Julian. I guessed early on that there was something off about him, and even though I wasn’t entirely right in my guess and some things got me by surprise, I did hit pretty close. And I just don’t think that a book is that great if the clues are that obvious.
Connected to that, the ending was a bit double too. Scarlett and Julian’s story was wrapped up nicely, but then Tella’s story pointed towards the next book. I wanted suggestions for Julian and Scarlett, too. What will their role be in the next book?
There was also occasionally a bit too much tell and too little show. In the beginning, I felt as if we were just told that Julian is supposed to be a bad guy, but it wasn’t entirely brought forward by his actions until later. And Scarlett was a little bit too fussy.
Also, the solving of the clues seemed too easy. Scarlett would start out, and then it was just straight ahead until she had found Tella. Like, where was the competition? Wasn’t it supposed to be more difficult?
That said, I will probably be picking up the next book. There were some twists and turns in this that I wasn’t expecting, and I would like to see where the next book takes us. I do realise that I paint a pretty bleak picture of Caraval here, so I would like to end by saying that if you’re unsure about whether to pick this up, it’s worth the read.