Wednesday, 4 January 2017

A review of the magic & mystery that is Caraval + Quiz

First book of 2017 and we're off to an amazing start. Caraval was one of my most anticipated releases for this year and it did not disappoint. I must admit, I do love dark circusy books (if you have any recs for me please comment them) and this book was richly dark and decadent kind of like chocolate cake.  

At the end of this post, I have made a quiz about the book! For those who haven't read the book, which will be a lot since the book hasn't yet published, there are three main groups of people in Caraval, players, watchers and performers. This is all non spoiler


Players= Play the game for the prize.
Watchers= Watch the game, relax, looking around Caraval and observing the magic.
Performers= Those who work in Caraval. 

Caraval by Stephanie Garber 
Published by Hachette Australia
Imprint is Hodder & Stoughton
Published in January 2017
Aus RRP: $24.99
YA Fantasy

Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.
Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.
When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

Thankyou SO much to Hachette Australia for sending me this book for review! However, this does not effect my opinion of this novel.

Caraval well where do I even begin. Perhaps I will start off by talking about the concept, which was what drew me in originally to this book. A magical show, where there are audience participants, I'm sold. I loved the idea of Caraval being a world basically inside of a building. The concept of being able to participate in the performance drew me in. The two different ways you could participate in the game by playing in it or watching. The setting is beautifully described and easy to understand. It includes a beautiful map, and Stephanie's writing perfectly explains where everything that you need to know is. 
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The Caraval world is one I would be happy to read about forever. There were many intricate details I loved about it. I loved the colourful shops, I loved that you pay for things with a secret or a fear, I really liked the canals and the names of the stores.  I also found it fun to read what the people who performed in the game said because it was always in riddles. 

I was also very excited to read this book because I like to read books about sisters! I have a sister, and I do enjoy reading books, that portray sisterhood. The main character Scarlett, is the eldest sister (Like myself) and although sometimes she could get on your nerves, I could understand where she was coming from. The instinct to protect your sister at all costs, and having to battle conflicting emotions for her sisters safety. For example, in Caraval, Scarlett must decide whether or not she and her sister should travel to Caraval, which had been her childhood dream. Her emotions differed from wanting to go so badly because she had waited so long for the opportunity (which she would have to sneak away from her Father) or keeping her sister and herself safe at home, where they wouldn't have to risk their Father's wrath if he found out they had left. Over the course of the book, Scarlett visibly develops, and begins to take more and more risks although she always, always keeps Tella (her sister) in her mind. She is a very level-headed character who will always add up the pros and cons of every situation, a skill that helps her enormously in Caraval. 

At the start of the book, Scarlett might be thinking about whether to go to character and you might be screaming: 

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But towards the end of the book, when she weighs up a REALLY DIFFICULT (and trust me when I say the choices get difficult at the end of the book) decision you will be like: 
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Tella is reckless. She doesn't think about the consequences to her decisions, or the way it effects her sister. This also brings up many discussions in the book about loving someone more than they love you, which Scarlett believes is what is between her and her sister. These discussions were quite interesting and something I hadn't really considered before. It is easy to assume that love is always equal, from both sides, but more often than not it isn't. As irritating as Tella's rash behaviour is it get's Scarlett in to some very interesting situations (that if I were Tella's older sister would've infuriated me) but in this book the experiences Scarlett has because of what Tella has done helps her to develop herself as a character. 

Scarlett's love for Tella is a beautiful thing to read. No matter what Tella does, Scarlett's anger or annoyance will always gradually wear off, whatever the situation.  This is something I'm sure we can all relate to, a sibling/family member close to us annoying us (perhaps playing music whilst you're trying to read) of which you are angry at them for a while but eventually your love for them always wins against annoyance. Of course Tella does much worse than music which means a lot coming from me because I reallllyyyy don't like people playing music whilst I read. 

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Stephanie's writing in this book is absoloutley beautiful. Full of descriptions, can writing be rich?  Kind of like if a chocolate cake could write. I saw someone describe this book as 'decadent' and I couldn't agree more. Stephanie manages to include detailed descriptions in one to two sentences.  The metaphors and similes are just *insert heart eyed emoji*

Bits & Bobs: 
  • I love that Scarlett describes emotions as colours. Use of words such as 'hues' or 'shades' She attaches colours to the emotions she feels and it is another aspect of this book that I really, really liked.
  • SOOOO many foodie descriptions. I LOVED THEM. Also magical waffles and drinks that taste like marshmallows and warmth!??! 
  • JULIAN AND AIKO two awesome characters that I don't want to give away too much about because the book hasn't published yet but I really liked these supporting characters! Julian was more a main character but I want to leave him as a surprise.
  • Tiny critique: I loved the plot twist and ending, but I felt as though it was a bit rushed! I would've loved it to have slowed down a bit, I understand that endings need to have pace, but this one went a bit too quickly and it was a bit hard to catch up on everything that happened. 
  • HAPPY NEWS: It's a duology!!!! I can't wait for the next book!!

So in celebration of this book, I want to know would you be a player, watcher or a performer in Caraval? I made a little quiz with 10 questions below, there are no spoilers so if you haven't read the book you can take it and find out what I would classify you as, beforehand.

*Note* This quiz was made by me, so it's not really "offical" it's just when you select all of your answers, I would classify you under as a reader
Let me know, have you read this book? Are you excited for it? Also, are you a player, watcher or performer? 

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