Caraval by Stephanie Garber

I got this book when it first came out and just recently got around to reading it, something about buying the second book made me feel the need to start reading it. After the first chapter I was hooked and knew I was going to read the trilogy, so I went ahead and pre-ordered the last book. I will admit I have a soft spot for books that could be in this world but allow for magic and mythical creatures to roam along side us.  Here magic and mayhem are of a special event on Legend’s island.  The mystery that surrounds the event Caraval and how the sisters, Scarlett and Donatella, were actually invited and how different their experiences were seem to be something to uncover in the sequel.  The characters are developed enough to draw you in, while still keeping secrets.

One of the intriguing details the author focused on in this book was the colors of the world.  It is not clear if this is important, but it was a nice way to help the reader visualize how magical and vivid Caraval is.  From Julian calling Scarlett “Crimson” and emerald green eyes being used to Scarlett marveling over the colors of her dress there was a full color wheel of enjoyment.  The author captivated the reader with hard stereotypes and potential conflicts or plot twists that in the end were not always real.  The second book in the trilogy will be an exciting read.

Character List/Book Summary:

Scarlett Dragha = writes to Caraval Master for her sister, and for her once she is engaged. Her father arranges a marriage but will not tell her to who or when the wedding will occur until after Donatella and her have been caught misbehaving, only then does her father reveal she will marry the count in 10 days. Is assigned room 9 in Caraval, learns lessons on life from many of the performers, gives a day of her life to buy a dress so that she can learn the history of Caraval and get a clue to solving the mystery of where her sister is being held. Dreams Julian is Legend. Hopes her marriage to the count will be a better life for her and her sister, than the life with their cruel father.

Donatella Dragha = was secretly writing to Legend for invitations to Caraval, isi Scarlett’s younger sister. Wants to leave the island, and thinks her sister’s marriage will not be a better life for either of them. Appears to be offered room 5, but is also kidnapped by Legend and her location is the mystery to solve at Caraval.  Her plan to help her sister escape the arranged marriage and their father through Caraval did not appear to go as planned, but then the mystery of who her partner in crime was might be why.

Caraval Master Legend = invites Scarlett, her fiance, and Donatella to Caraval, which this year is by invitation only. From Santos family of performers, likes to play twisted games never shows himself twice to a person (rumored). Was in love with Annalise and granted a wish for fame and fortune that ended up keeping them apart, and becomes more of a villain the more he plans a villain. Does not allow performers to say certain things during the game.

Julian Bernardo Marrero Santos = was found making out with Donatella, which resulted in her being beaten by her father. He offers to take Scarlett and Donatella to Caraval for free to escape, helps Donatella kidnap Scarlett to bring her to Caraval. Pretends to be Scarlett’s fiance to get into Caraval, his family likes to play games with each other. His true nature is not what it first appears, and only after the game is over does he get to tell Scarlett some truths he was trying to during the game.

Governor Dragha = Scarlett and Donatella’s father, physically and emotionally abusive to the girls, his wife disappeared 7 years ago, killed a boy who tried to help the girls escape the island once. Participates in illegal means of making money.

Annalise = grandmother to Scarlett and Donatella

Rupert = gave Scarlett and Julian the rules of Caraval, a warning, and asked for blood that they had read the impossibly small rules that were written down.

Dante = finds Scarlett asleep in the hall and offers her his room, 11, asks to meet Scarlett after dinner, but she declines since she is engaged.  Has tattoos of a black rose on his hand and one of a black heart.  Scarlett was told he previously won Caraval, but lost his sister who was Julian’s fiance.  Julian confides in her that he and Dante are working together even though they appear to hate each other during the game.

“Jo”van = on a unicycle when Scarlett came to Caraval, and rowed a boat. Warns Scarlett and Julian that time goes faster on the island and in some places faster, they need to use time wisely.  Confirms Scarlett’s notion that the lamps indicate how close dawn is.

Nigel = tattooed man who offers to tell Scarlett her future, gives her a clue, and answers only a few questions for Scarlett

Aiko = tells Scarlett she should lie to people who ask her about Donatella and that she needs to enjoy the game.  Aiko believes in saying yes whenever possible, Scarlett realizes Aiko has a deeper lesson to teacher her. Hints that there may be more than 5 clues that Scarlett was given instructions on how to get. Is a histographer and has Scarlett buy 2 dresses before she will share the history of Caraval with her.

Rosa = Scarlett sees, through a dream Aiko gives her of the history of Caraval, that her fiance, Dante, won and found her in bed with Legend, she killed herself because her parents would not let her return home due to what she did. Julian was her brother.

Count Nicolas d’Arcy = claims to be Scarlett’s fiance, is not the nice man that wrote her letters.  Is cruel similar to her father, and Scarlett realizes she will never be free of men who scheme and use her if she marries him.

Daniel DeEngl (may not be his true name) = bastard lord from Far Northern Empire, Donatella met him during Caraval, Scarlett thinks he is Legend.

Angelique = from the dress shop, likes to flirt with men who have their sights set on another

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