I have never loved a plot so much while also viscerally hating the way it’s written.
Scarlet and her sister, Donatella, have always dreamed of going to Caraval, a msterious and magical performance that occurs once a year. This year, Scarlet and Tella sneak away from their abusive home to experience it before Scarlet gets married. But when Tella is taken as part of the game, Scarlett must figure out where her sister is, and what parts of the game are real, before it’s too late.
Let me start by saying that Scarlet is the most annoying narrator ever. I did a little search in the book after I finished reading, and although Tella is only in about 50 of the pages, she is mentioned over six. hundred. times. Literally. Every single page is filled with how worried Scarlet is, and what bad choices Tella makes, and blah blah blah. It got so old, so fast.
Plus, Scarlet experiences her emotions as colors, which pops up in awkward and strange descriptions. I think the technique could have been really cool, but it was not implemented well. There were way to many metaphors that got in the way of being able to appreciate the magic of the storyline.
The story itself though, was awesome. I was a little bit reminded of the night circus in terms of the whimsy and creativity of the world. Although the night circus was a lot slower, and focused on the details of the circus, this book was more plot focused. Actually, I think if you combined Morgenstern’s writing with this plot, bam, that would be a perfect read.
The best part of the book by far was its unpredictability. The fact that people we’re warned at the beginning of Caraval not to believe anything, but then getting to see how unsure Scarlett became about her reality definitely added to the suspense. That alone kept me turning pages through the torturous inner monologues.
As the next book is narrated by Tella, I have some hopes that the writing itself will improve. Although, I think even if it doesn’t I will have to continue with the series, if only to experience the wonders of Caraval a little longer.
Happy reading (:
Intended audience: YA
Content warnings: parental abuse, suicide
Favorite Friday topic: favorite book that made you cry