3 stars · Books · Fantasy · Mystery · Reviews · Young Adult


If you read this, you will expect to see a lot of mind games. And more importantly, people who aren’t what they seem. It occurs so often in this entire book, where the twists aren’t what we see and expect. It was unpredictable on some level, and yet at the same time, I knew that the ending was going to be that.

Scarlett, to me is okay. I knew that her character would be more relatable and she wouldn’t be someone who constantly knew what to do. She was insecure about her choices of whether she wanted to escape, whether she wanted to enter Caraval. How she even gets in there is a whole other plot twist of its own. But I still like her, since she does think of her sister first. Most importantly, towards the end I liked how she settled things with her father. Now that was how you should handle the abuse she suffered.

Donatella, she surprisingly wasn’t what I imagined. Originally, she was reckless but towards the end with new relevations, I began to like her. I began to realise that she is an important character here.

As for the relationships, it doesn’t really strike a chord with me really well. Donatella and Scarlett’s relationship weren’t explored that well, since they get separated earlier on. And she falling for Julian, although I could buy it but I just couldn’t feel them together. And towards the end, it feels as though I would need to get to know Julian all over again.

Also, the setting is incredibly unclear. Not just that, also at the same time it is set in a place filled with isles, and that’s just about it. Although I love the author’s writing, there is a lot of mystery in the setting. Although Caraval is well explored, but her home doesn’t feel well explored and I do think that it is more of a weakness of the limitations of the setting itself.

As for the theme, this is all a game, most importantly, it is never what they seem. Never what they knew. It is important to know that here, you better be looking at a story where it will be confusing you. Scarlett spends most of it searching for clues, searching for her sister, or being absolutely clueless or put out of action.

As for the graphic abuse here, it does make it possible for me to see why they would want to seek Caraval. And at the same time, become hesitant to leave. Especially Scarlett, she simply was the more sensible kind, the one who was more careful. And the one who blamed herself for everything.

As for all the characters that appear here, just think of the entire book as this. Nobody is what they seem, there is always a lot more to what lies behind them. Applies to all characters except Scarlett, and I find Donatella to be one really awesome mastermind.

So, I liked this book. Didn’t love it, and the romance and relationship fell flat to me. It really did. But I still liked how the story portrayed Scarlett, the whole reason why she played was for her sister. And she doesn’t really become too enamoured with the main guy, it takes a short while, but they went through enough mind games for me to buy into their relationship. And I recommend this book to those who enjoys a little bit of mind games and a lot more about the relationships, and seeing Scarlett become the heroine she should be. She is a scared little girl at the beginning of the book who refused to leave it, because she knows that she might get smacked in the face or suffer for making the wrong choice. The reckless choice.

As for the next book, I am excited to read it. Perhaps it might be in the viewpoint of Donatella, since she owes a certain someone something. I do think that Scarlett’s story is done, and the next book can take place in the same universe but around a different character or follow Donatella. Since I do feel that there is no reason why Scarlett would return to Caraval, and her development had ended.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5


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