C.G. Drews's Reviews > Caraval

Caraval by Stephanie Garber
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it was amazing
bookshelves: epic-fantasy, read-2017, young-adult, 5-star, read-2019, reread
Read 2 times. Last read April 12, 2019.

Read 2 | April 2019

I am hERE to reread before Finale and also am just so happy to be melting back into this world. It's such a vivid, lush and gorgeous book, I pretty much can't contain myself. I do think Legendary is superior to the two, but I really appreciated Scarlett's journey through PTSD more this time. She's absolutely fighting through the trauma of abuse to live a life where she can make choices without spiralling into fear. I'm just...! I love Scarlett. (Tella is my fave and Legendary is my pick of the books, but Scarlet is not weak sapling.)

Also it's GORGEOUS. And I am 10/10 here for literally every time someone mentions Dante, they're like, "eh, he's pretty and he knows it." He does know it. Dante is the prettiest.


Read 1 | Sept 2017
Okay why didn't I read this sooner??! IT'S SO MAGICAL. I totally preordered it and then immediately decided to wait 9 months to read it. I don't know either, mate. This is the life of the Procrastination Queen. Also I saw a lot of disappointed reviews, so I was prepared for teeth gnashing and refurbishing it as a hat if I didn't like it. But I kind of accidentally loved it?? Except for the narrator. I would be like 500% okay if Scarlett fell into a bucket of soup and never got out. BUT NARRATOR ASIDE = wow it was weird and wonderful.

+ The world was actually incredible.
It's like set in this mysterious carnival type island world. So think: gondolas and weird tunnels and magical shops and doors that change directions and rooms that grow and shrink with your emotions. It was like Alice in Wonderland but SINISTER and with a vague circus vibe and like set IN VENICE. Duuuude. I like. I LOVE it when buildings have their opinions though lowkey am curious why that room didn't crush Scarlett because that would've been exciting. BUT OK.

+ The writing was rather beautiful too.
Except for that line where she likened a kiss to "giving birth to the dawn" or whatever and I'm like...mate. You do not put BIRTH and KISS in the same thought with a guy you just met. Ya know. Anyway. I really liked all the vivid descriptions! It didn't feel too flowery but just added to the magical vibe. So so much magical vibes.

+ Mind twisty!
They start off the book saying "nOTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS" and Scarlett promptly forgets that 2 seconds later and freaks out over everything. I would like to stuff her in a shoe. But it was really really well done!! I had SO many questions. It tossed me about a LOT. And I questioned everyone adn decided they were all evil by page 3. So basically: I had a freakin good time. I loooove worlds that are so morally grey and all "IT'S A GAME AND EVERYONE'S GONNA GET STABBED!" I mean. Monopoly was so yesterday.

+ Okay but real talk: Scarlett...why.
Just why. She was the typical: "I am a good and wholesome creature." sort of character who informed us 87 x per chapter that she was GOOD. Aka, super boring. I do think she had good character development, but if a bucket had narrated it would've been just as exciting. Which is weird that I still love the book a LOT even if Scarlett is as stimulating as that plastic fork over yonder?? Nice.

Except Scarlett was boring and Tella was a self-centred ass, but you know what. Family...ya can't pick 'em. And I do love books about sisters, EVEN IF Scarlett did forget for a second she wasn't Elsa and threw out the "You can't love a boy you just met" line even though Scarlett was freaking in love with a boy she just met. Apparently we are in Disney now.

+ The romance was honestly super BITTER and I liked it.
Let's have some salt and vinegar on those CHIPS my friends, because Scarlett is Too Holier Than Thou™ to fall in love with the rougish sailor who I was totally all for 100% of the time. Especially when I thought he was the villain. That would've been a fab plot twist. But whatever. JULIAN. YOU DASTARDLY LITTLE SNAKE. I loved how they fought so much but obviously cared about each other. #shipping

+ A few negatives?
Eh, okay so the ending had a LOT of high stakes things going on but...it was kind of writing so apathetically I wasn't even worried. It was too rushed and the reactions of the characters weren't realistic enough. Also I'm a fussy turnip. Just in case you didn't pick that up yet. I also am frikkin' sick of fantasy being so sexist because there's literally no need in a world that's not attached to ours. STAHP. And there was a LOT of repetition. Irritating ya. But I survived because I'm a champion inside.

ALL IN ALL: Look I thoroughly enjoyed the magical setting and it gave me ALL SORTS OF FANTASY APPRECIATION. No really!! I finished it and thought "I love this, I genuinely do" and I want to immediately read more books about Caraval and hopefully find myself a bedroom that expands when I put more books in it because I am heckin' running out of bookshelf room here. Narrator = nope. (Although I loved that it was in 3rd person!) Julian = yes. Creeptastic psycho mysterious Carvanal master = HECK YES. And the world is honestly so inspiring to me I need to eat a cake and sit down for a while.

Every person gets on impossible wish, if the person wants something more than anything, and they can find a bit of magic to help them a long.
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Quotes C.G. Liked

Stephanie Garber
“Some would probably call him a villain. Others would say his magic makes him closer to a god.”
Stephanie Garber, Caraval

Reading Progress

March 3, 2016 – Shelved
March 3, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
September 5, 2017 – Started Reading
September 5, 2017 –
page 0
0.0% "Me, in January: omg I need need neeeed this book. Pre-ordering! I can't wait to read it!!!!!

Me in, September: i will start it now"
September 5, 2017 –
page 101
25.12% "I am lowkey hoping Julian is the carnival master Legend dude in disguise. Because that would be fab."
September 5, 2017 –
page 288
71.64% "*slams fist on the table*

September 6, 2017 – Shelved as: epic-fantasy
September 6, 2017 – Shelved as: read-2017
September 6, 2017 – Shelved as: young-adult
September 6, 2017 – Finished Reading
April 8, 2019 –
page 100
24.88% "just remembered how absolutely stunning this book is 😍but my audiobook is broken?! thanks audible, i'm sad now. have to read the rest with my own two eyeballs and gee"
April 11, 2019 – Shelved as: 5-star
April 11, 2019 – Shelved as: to-read
April 11, 2019 – Shelved as: read-2019
April 11, 2019 – Shelved as: reread
April 12, 2019 – Started Reading
April 12, 2019 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-42 of 42 (42 new)

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rachel ☾ I'm so surprised you loved this but good on you for getting to it... eventually lol! I've put off so many hyped new releases this year so I feel ya pain.

Kathryn Yay! Caraval is one of my FAVORITES. Always happy to find other people who similarly enjoyed it. Fantastic review!

Fantastical Geek (Atarashii Sekai) Totally adding this to my TBR. You are too convincing, Cait. XD

Jazzy Yes! I loved this book so much... you can literally taste all the magic!!! "Dastardly little snake" that PERFECT for Julian! lol XD

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

I was certainly one of the disappointed. The sexism and repetitiveness did me in by page 100. I wasn't inspired to finish it.

Zaynah Abbas I really don't know how I feel about Caraval- I mean, I loved it the first time I read it, but the second time? Not so much. Was it just me or is there way too much emphasis on the romance?

Finn Longman I think the problem for me was that it had been SO hyped that I was expecting it to be incredible. Instead, it was decent, but I was obviously disappointed because my expectations had been so high. It's super rare for me to buy books new (and in hardback) so I was also somewhat annoyed that one of those few had been something that didn't blow me away, even though I'd used a gift token or something so it wasn't actually money. I guess that's where the 9 month gap helped you (especially having read negative reviews) -- you'd lowered your expectations and thus could treat it more objectively. For me, it was definitely a case of the hype ruining it. I might've enjoyed it more if I'd just picked it up on a whim.

Virginia Ronan ♥ Herondale ♥ I love bitter romances!!! XD I think I need to order this book now! Great review! =)

Kelly The mixed reviews have definitely dampened down the hype for me, but am still going to buy it when the paperback comes out in about two months.

message 10: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Rachel: Haha! I'm surprised too...what with all the low-starred reviews I was sure I'd be with them. i'm so fussy. 😂

@Kathryn: YAYYYYY. I shall come stand by you.😂

@FantasticalGeek: Omg I'm so pleased.

message 11: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Jazzy-Grace: It was so visual right?! And usually I hate movie adaptions of books but tHIS WOULD WORK SO WELL. Someone make it happen.😂

@Daley: I totally understand! I will never understand why books have to be so so freaking sexist in worlds that aren't joined to ours. >_>

@Zaynah: Definitely pretty romantic! However I didn't feel like it was rushed or anything, so I was okay with it.😂

message 12: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Miriam: Yes exactly! I think waiting was the best thing. I had zero expectations going in, honestly, and I was prepared to find it dull? But instead I was really caught up with the atmospherical magic...and I just do not trust hype anymore.😂 (Also I thought it was about a circus originally?? But not really.)

@Virginia: Aww thanks!! I do love that hate-to-love trope!

message 13: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Abi: Agreed!! I really fully enjoyed it and it was so satisfying. :')

@Kelly: I do think it's worth checking out, just probably not what all that rabid hype back in January was shouting about.😂

Lilly So glad to see that you enjoyed it, because that means I get to enjoy your ever delightful commentary! :D You're reviews are so fun to read because you're always able to explain the reading experience so well! I felt the same way about this book, I 90% loved it, and 10% wished that Scarlet had a little more going for her. And I'm way too excited for the sequel. :)

Vanessa THANK YOU!!! Why can't everyone see what I see and not expect it to be like this Jane Austen work of fiction. It was like Harry Potter and Alice in Wonderland and the Phantom Tollbooth and dark and carnival-y all in one. This is still one of my top favorite books of the year.

Vanessa The sisters had their erm... flaws but overall such an addicting read! Probably best that you read it 9 months later now that the hype wore down ;)

Elizabeth Honestly my entire biggest problem with this was SCARLETT! She drove me insane and I wanted her to change somewhere, somehow, and she just didn't? And she was terrible? Otherwise it was A++

Shannon (It Starts At Midnight) I have had this book for about 15 months now and still haven't read it. Guess I need to!

message 19: by Evee (new) - rated it 5 stars


message 20: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Lilly: I just thiiiiiink that if Julian had narrated it would've been WAY more interesting. 😂

@Vaness: That is the PERFECT comparison title combo!! It's really magical and like different which was so refreshing. *heart eyes*

@Elizabeth: I know right?! Petition to have actually the entire book like this BUT WITH JULIAN NARRATING.

message 21: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Shannon: YAS. Join me in actually reading the books we buy immediately and then never get to.😂


Bec (becklebooks) We definitely have different tastes! (I hated this book...) [sweats] Hahaha!

Jenna Ahhhhh I absolutely adored this boookk!! Caraval just seems so magical and CAN WE TALK ABOUT JULIAN BECAUSE HE IS FABULOUS! But I know what you mean about Scarlett. Not my favourite narrator of all time 😂

message 24: by Kirstie (new) - added it

Kirstie Ellen Oh god, yes birth and kiss should most definitely not be in the same sentence. Or the same chapter - maybe even avoid having them in the same book. I CAN'T BELIEVE THIS HAS BEEN OUT FOR 9 MONTHS ALREADY?! Dang, I'm so far behind. Glad to see you liked it though because the mixed reviews hadn't exactly got me keen about it.

Danielle (The Blonde Likes Books) YAY!! I'm so glad you read it and liked it!!

message 26: by emily (new)

emily Great review as per usual :)

Kim at Divergent Gryffindor Yes! I was also hesitant to read this at first, but then I caved and I'm glad that it was worth the hype. Great review!

message 28: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Bec: 😭😭😭

@Jenna: YAY I'M SO GLAD YOU LIKED IT TOOOO. Also pls can julian narrate? That would solve all our problems.

@Kirstie: Omg I know right?! 😂 Not in the same book, please and thank you, especially if the book is YA.

message 29: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Danielle: Eeeep!! IT WAS SO MAGICAL.

@Jayne: Aww, thank you! That makes my day. <3

@Kim: It's really a divided book, right?!😂But glad I'm on loving-it side haha.

Alyssa I JUST READ THIS TOO. I LOVE IT. (Julian should be evil = 100%)(Makes it muuuuch more interesting!!)(Meh Scarlett.) And now I'm looking at ANY magical/carnvial/ish book there is out there. There ain't many.

message 31: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Alyssa: Honestly if the whole book had been narrated by Julian...I WOULD'VE BEEN SO THERE FOR THAT.

Alyssa YES.

Elise Your reviews are always so interesting to read, honestly fantastic! And while I gave Caraval a lower rating than you, I agree with a lot of what you said. I think Scarlett was the main downside and there was too much repetition, but I didn't' hate it

message 34: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Alyssa: THANK.

@Elise: Aww thanks! And 3-stars is still not a bad rating haha.

message 35: by Lyanndra (new) - added it

Lyanndra Reads I've been seeing a lot of people saying they were rather dissatisfied with this, so I'm glad you like it! Hope to read this one soon... :)

message 36: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Lyanndra: I know right?! I fully expected to not love it but instead it was perfect for me. 😂😂

Ronyell Awesome review! I really loved this book too!

message 38: by Hana (new) - rated it 5 stars

Hana Bilqisthi Glad to know you enjoy it Cait :D

message 39: by C.G. (new) - rated it 5 stars

C.G. Drews @Hana: Yay another fan I'm glad you loved it too!

message 41: by AHHHHHH (new) - added it

AHHHHHH “Let's have some salt and vinegar on those CHIPS“
Omg that’s got to be the best phrase I’ve ever read 😂

Stacie Prime Right !! Why didn’t I read this sooner. It’s so soooo good like ahhhh

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