Caraval by Stephanie Garber

Rate: 5/5

Medium: Audiobook

Overview (No Spoilers): Sometimes I delay writing a review because I’m struggling over how to rate the work I’d just read. Caraval was hands down a fantastic, magical whirlwind, but could I give a 5 star rating, when I compare it with other reads that had recently been given a perfect score by me? Or what about the other wonderful reads I’ve held aloft as my favorites? Yesterday, while in lab, I was contemplating this issue, struggling with how to have my ratings be consistent and while defensible, if only in my own mind. Then it occurred to me, my ratings are consistent, as I usually rate them based on the genre with which the read fits into. As such, Caraval is one of the best YA reads I’ve come across in years, well deserving a five star review when placing it in the aforementioned appropriate genre. Caraval was indeed an adventure from start to finish with the dark magical world Garber wove irrevocably capturing my imagination, leaving me yearning for more of this unique literary realm. In addition to the enchanted carnival, the characters were entertaining and full of personality. Due to the nature of the dark game, it was interesting that each layer of depth that was added to the characters was met with doubt, thereby adding complexity that was fun for the reader to mull over. Overall, despite very few secrets to this enchanting world being unveiled, the story crafted by Garber constantly kept me intrigued even when I wasn’t actively reading. One distraction that I eventually grew used to was that the narrator was the same as for The Lunar Chronicles series, where one of the main characters is also named Scarlet, despite the spelling being different in Caraval. Due to this coincidence, I kept getting flashbacks to this other series I’d so enjoyed.

Additional Insight (Spoilers Abound):

  • How does one become one of Legend’s performers?
  • Where did Tella and Scarlett’s Mom go? Was their Dad terrible before she left?
  • What did the note Tella was given mean? Who was it from?
  • How did Tella come back to life? How did Dante?
  • I loved Julian and Scarlett’s chemistry. All the feels! Is it real? Also I love the nickname Crimson.
  • Will Scarlett’s father really give up?
  • Was it all a ploy that Julian’s boat started sinking?
  • What would have happened if Julian hadn’t been let into the hotel?
  • After everything we learn, truth was there behind the dreams Scarlett had about Rosa and her Grandmother.
  • Who is Legend? How did he get his powers? Is Julian actually Legend’s brother? How old is he?



  1. Thanks for addressing the consistency struggle. I too am plagued with doubt. In the end I’ve decided to not compare books. I just as the questions: 1) did I enjoy it and how much? 2) is the writing technically good, grammatical and creative? and, 3) could I recommend it?
    There are so many books out there that I often read the Amazon first few pages or a sample to decide if I should invest the time. That’s probably why I give so many Five Stars. After all, it’s only my humble opinion.

    Liked by 2 people

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