Rating: 3.5 Stars
When I bought Caraval, I didn’t have much idea about what it was. I had seen it on Instagram and really liked the cover, so I bought it without really looking at it. When I read the blurb, I was dismayed to see that it seemed to be quite similar to The Night Circus which is one of my favourite books of all time. So, it was with mixed feelings that I picked this one up to read.
To say I was pleasantly surprised is an understatement. Of course, it can never compete with the magic of The Night Circus, but this is as close to it as a YA novel can hope to be.
It is somewhat amateurish but once you let your imagination soar, you can picture everything so clearly in your mind. I feel that is what fantasy novels are all about; if you can see it in your mind’s eye then they have achieved their objective.
The story is not too complicated. It is about two sisters trying to escape their abusive father. Both of them have different ideas about what escape means, but both want the other sister to have a better life even if it means endangering their own. The one thing that stops this book from being amazing is the weak character development. I just felt that halfway through the book, the writer decided to write a sequel and make Donatella its heroine. So, suddenly you find that everything that was being said about her wasn’t true and she is actually a very intelligent and secretive young lady. Scarlett Dragna comes off as a bit dull and one dimensional. The world around her is more interesting than she herself. Same goes for Julian, who somehow manages not to be the mysterious man he was supposed to be. Dante and Lagend, by comparison seem more interesting than Julian, which I’m sure the author was not aiming for.
Despite this, it was fun to go into this world where everyone is lying and nothing is as it seems. Stephanie Garber has created a compelling imaginary world; I wish her characters had also been as compelling.
I liked the book overall which kept me interested enough to want to continue reading. This one is for all YA Fantasy fans.