Monday, 23 January 2017

Caraval Blog Tour: Review + Excerpt



Good day! Aren't you guys excited you stopped by the blog today? Because I totally have a special invite for you below. The Caraval Blog Tour kicks off today and I'm so excited to be a part of it. Caraval is truly a unique book, with an even more mysterious setting. A new YA book for fantasy and circus lovers to check out. Raincoast, as they always are, were awesome enough to let me read and review Caraval for you guys. But also, that invite below is an excerpt that you don't wanna skip.


About Stephanie Garber


When I’m not writing, I teach creative writing at a private college in Northern California, where I’ve been known to turn assignments into games and take students on field trips that involve book signings. I’m also a blogger on PUB(LISHING) CRAWL. But I probably spend most of my time on Twitter where I tend to overuse exclamation points and emojis.

To help pay my bills during college, grad school, and the breaks in between, I worked as a barista, a waitress, a bartender, a customer service representative for an energy consulting company, and as a sales girl at Bath and Bodyworks. I also spent years working with youth; I worked as a counselor at space themed summer camp, volunteered at a school for deaf children in Mexico, and I took multiple groups of college students overseas to spend their winter vacations serving at youth hostels in Amsterdam. But out of everything that I’ve done, writing young adult novels has been my favorite job.

My debut YA fantasy novel, Caraval will be published January 2017 (Flatiron Books/Macmillan—US and Hodder & Stoughton—UK). Caraval has sold in twenty-five foreign territories and the movie rights were pre-empted by Twentieth Century Fox.



You're Invited





Review


Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publication Date: January 31st, 2017
Series: Caraval #1
Pages: 416
Source: ARC from publisher
Rating: 3.5/5

Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .

Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.

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.


I'm pretty sure anyone who reads YA has had Caraval on their radar since it's synopsis was released at some point last year. Was it the comparison to The Night Circus that caught your attention? For me, well I read and liked The Night Circus it was more that word Circus that seems to get me every time. Anything that says it's going to offer me a unique circus setting and I'm instantly sold.

Scarlett has dreamed about Caraval her whole life. She spent much of her childhood being told the tales of the magic of Caraval and writing to Legend, the master of the games. Never hearing anything back doesn't detour her until her mother goes missing and her father turns into a cruel monster. Now Scarlett is set survival and protecting her sister. Fast forward to present day where Scarlett is engaged to a man she's never met but dreams that he's going to save her and her sister from the confines of their father. Until an invitation for Caraval arrives and spirals her into different directions.

Scarlett is a naive girl that has spent too much of her life in fear and dreams. Her sister, Tella is literally her saving grace. Her need to protect her is pretty much the only thing keeping her alert. Scarlett is under the belief that someone will save them. This unknown fiance has been spun to greatness in Scarlett's head. Where Tella knows that they must save themselves. The sisterly bond is strong and is the driving force behind the story of Caraval. Things may spiral out of control and the realm of reality for Scarlett once she's competing in Caraval. But she never forgets that's doing this, competing, to save Tella.

Caraval is a character all of its own. A vivid mix of The Night Circus and Wonderland spawns to create something uniquely its own. It's easy to call Caraval a circus, but it's not really. There's the magic of a circus on the surface. But truly Caraval is a game. There are performers and participants and like Scarlett, you never know who is who. Trust and reality are a fickle thing. It's easy to forget yourself, to go mad and get lost in the game. Which is what, I'm sure, the grand master Legend thrives on. Scarlett wants nothing more than to meet Legend. His tales and decent into evil are, ahem, legendary. But just like the mysterious game he created, Legend seems to one of myths only. Caraval and its magic are what kept me turning the page.

Of course, there's a romance. I'm pretty sure that is a requirement of publishing a YA book. It's pretty clear from the get-go who Scarlett's romantic interest is going to be. Just maybe not who he truly is. We met Julian, a rugged sailor, "conversing" with Tella. From there he's annoying and saving Scarlett at every turn. It's one of those I don't want to like you but I'm finding myself attracted to you against my better judgment. Scarlett isn't stupid, enlisting Julian to help her, to help each other through the game is a need. Scarlett finds herself lusting after Julian a bit too much. But hey attraction, who knows when it's going to show up. Like 90% of the characters(including Caraval), Julian is full of lies, a past, and mystery and it's near impossible to tell what's real and what's just part of the game. And their lies Scarlett's biggest issues in falling for Julian. 

I guess my main grips with Caraval, the ones that kept me from loving it as much as I thought I would from the get go were the romance and the pacing. The romance I just wasn't interested in. I wasn't swooning or shipping. It added nothing to the plot for me. But the pacing, that's my main issue. The first half of the book was a page turner. I mean most chapters end on a small cliffhanger. But at some point, the story just lost speed. I just wanted the climax. The shock factor was wearing off and it was too easy to predict what was coming. And unfortunately, the ending was a little too neat. I thought Caraval was a game of chance and blurring the lines and well the conclusion failed there. Don't get me wrong, I'm super eager to see what the sequel will bring me. 

Garber has created a unique and vivid world in Caraval. Her writing and the tone of the story fits together perfectly with that world. The tale of two sisters escaping their small life and cruel abusive father into the legend of Caraval is an intriguing one. Reality is a gray area. Trust and lies go hand in hand. The players and performers of Caraval create a journey that spins your head in the most delicious way. 



I want to give massive thanks to Raincoast for including me in this blog tour. Caraval releases on January 31st. It makes a perfect winter read, so I highly suggest checking it out.



Happy reading!

Brittany

3 comments:

  1. This sounds so good! I love the mix of circus and wonder and fantasy. I don't read much YA so this wasn't on my radar but it definitely is now! I'll definitely be adding it to my TBR!

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  2. The advance buzz for this one has been insane! The synopsis is definitely intriguing and sounds like a unique premise. Too bad the romance didn't do anything for you. I demand some good romance in by books so that would be a problem. lol And the pacing... meh. At 400+ pages maybe it could have been a little shorter? Glad it was exciting/interesting enough to have you wanting the next book!

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  3. Spot on with this article, I really think this website needs more attention. I'll probably be back to read more, thanks for the info.
    Secret Caraval Launch Recap

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