Caraval focused mostly on Scarlett, and the sequel focuses mostly on Donatella. Legend has agreed to host another Caraval for Empress Elantine’s birthday. Julian invites Scarlett and Donatella to join him and watch, Donatella’s private deal with a “friend” means she must play the game. Donatella’s journey is very different than Scarlett’s was and the magic from the Fates and Legend are at their strongest in this game. Donatella can sense magic and slowly realizes that this game is not a game it is real. As promised winning Caraval will cost you, and the same is true for Donatella’s win.
Donatella appeared selfish and spoiled in the first book, but that was through Scarlett’s view of her sister. Here, the reader, see Donatella’s world through her eyes and learns the reasons why she did what she did in the first book. The promise of being reunited with her mother drives Donatella, even when she realizes what is at stake in the game. A fake engagement, clues to win the game, and a new magical island make this book similar and different from the first book. Most of the characters from the previous book return in this one, and new characters are introduced. The ending left me eager for third book, of what is claimed to be a trilogy.
Character List/Book Summary:
Donatella Dragna = is tasked to find Legend’s name to free her mother, has the luckless coin from the Prince of Hearts, stole cash from her father in the last book to help her and her sister now that they are on their own. Only kisses boys, nothing more, as she feels she is fated to never have love in her life. Wears an opal ring that belonged to her mother, and realizes that her mother had a secret life before she settled on the island and had the girls. Willing to make a sacrifice of enormous proportions to free her mother.
Scarlet Dragna = in love with Julian, but realizes she was lied to be Julian and her sister. Claims she does not want to play Caraval again, meets with Jacks in secret to help locate someone, and is surprised to learn of Donatella’s secrets. Is thankful to be reunited with her mother, but was not sure her mother was a nice person.
Julian = asks Donatella and Scarlet to go with him to Valenda and Caraval, will not tell Donatella Legend’s name, and warns Donatella of fortune tellers and what he really thinks of them. Tries throughout the book to win Scarlett back.
Legend = will hand the winner a prize, but you will lose an important part of you if you do win Caraval. Appears to be Elantine’s lost heir, and owes Donatella a prize for winning.
Dante = Donatella woke up next to him, and follows her throughout Caraval. Tells the maid at the Castle that Donatella is the “heir’s finance” so that she can get a place to stay. Realizes who Jacks, the heir, really is and wishes he had not started the charade. Donatella hears him tell Julian that he only cares about the cards, and calls Julian brother. Promises to try and help Donatella when she realizes her mother traded Donatella to the Temple of the Stars for keeping the cursed deck safe.
Count Nicolas d’Arcy = Scarlett’s former fiance, lives in Valenda, Scarlet goes looking for him when she realizes the reality of Caraval is not real.
Paloma = Donatella and Scarlett’s mother, disappeared 7 years ago, had a different life as Paradise before she started life with their father
Armando = one of Legend’s performers, played the role of Count d’Arcy in the last game and gets slapped by both sisters in this game. Warns Donatella Caraval is not about finding clues, but about what you are willing to sacrifice
Nigel = Legend’s fortune teller, covered in tattoos, makes a deal with Donatella
Jovan = one of Legend’s friendliest performers, it is why she greets people who come to play the game.
Jacks = Introduces himself as a nobleman when he first meets Donatella, is her “friend” and the heir she must pretend to be engaged to. Is a Fate who has escaped, The Prince of Hearts, whose kiss is deadly to all but his true love. Donatella is kissed by him, but she realizes her heartbeat is normal as is his, she is not sure what that means.
Lost Heir = rumored missing child of Elantine, the Emporess
Aiko = Legend’s histographer, makes unforgiving deals, tells Donatella about Paradise for her last memory with her mom
Undead Queen = One of the escaped Fates, has her handmaidens attack Donatella
Elantine = Empress, feels Donatella’s opal ring is important, says Donatella reminds her of Paradise. Donatella recognizes a connection between Elantine and Paradise but not sure what it is
Therona = greets Donatella and Dante at the Temple of Stars, shows Donatella where the vault is and what her mother promised the stars to keep the cursed desk in their vaults along with her other items.