Caraval by Stephanie Garber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
Caraval is one of those books that could be better but it's hard to pinpoint how. The premise is relatively unique even though more and more authors are headed towards the "glamor" of carnivals and circuses. Two sisters reside on an island and they are essentially being married off to the highest bidder by an abusive father. One dreams of running away and the other is resigned to her fate. For years they've been trying to obtain tickets to Caraval because of an old family legend about how magical it is.
Throughout the entire book I felt like it was half-finished. The scope and history of the world that was created seemed neglected. The motivations of each character were dubious at best and I couldn't connect with the reasoning behind the things that they did throughout the novel.
One of the things I did like though was when the author slowed down long enough to describe the scenes occurring around the characters. The individual scenes were immaculately crafted and I could completely visualize where the characters were.
Overall this was a great brain candy book. The characters followed all the expected tropes, the setting was fantastical, there was adventure and romance, and there was a somewhat unexpected ending. I wanted more from this story and it was the equivalent of a meal that leaves you hungry an hour later. It wasn't awful, but if you've got other stuff in your to be read pile, head for those first.
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