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Publisher's Summary

This program includes a bonus interview with the author.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval - Stephanie Garber's sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game. 

Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful - and cruel - father. Now Scarlett's father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the faraway once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over. 

But this year Scarlett's long-dreamt-of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval's mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season's Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner. 

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever. 

©2016 Stephanie Garber (P)2016 Macmillan Audio

Critic Reviews

"Actor Soler's lively narration swiftly draws listeners into the magical spectacle at the center of Garber's YA novel." (Publishers Weekly, best audiobooks of 2017)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Even my 8 year old daughter got annoyed.

I see so much potential here and it actually made it frustrating. Assigning colors to emotions as a way to articulate emotions felt lazy and absurd even to my daughter. She kept groaning everytime a "sunset yellow jelousy" or "chartreuse mortification " came up. It pulls you out of the story.

As for that, I'm not personally a fan of the "oh my stars and garters" heroine. I know the vapid and obsessive to the point of suicidal female is a popular trope, just look at the success of the Twilight series. that said it isn't really my bag.

I am afraid that I wasn't able to fairly rate the narrator this time around. My frustration with the discriptive voice somewhat soured my ear a bit too thoroughly. I honestly can say that the narrator did make it more tolerable and was likely a major factor in me listening as long as I did.

You know what? You might love it. If "plum purple malevolence" and petticoat smoothing primness sounds like something you can listen to in various forms for hrs then this book is calling out for you right now. The concept is truly captivating. The characters were multidimensional and had complex motivations.

As I said, there is so much potential here. I just feel that in my opinion there is more growing to do as an author. I do hope this author keeps developing that voice and goes on to be one of the great of our time. I might try again if I see another work from her.

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

If I were a Caraval player, I'd ask for a refund.

Caraval is a magical game hosted on an island every year by the mysterious Legend. Scarlet has been writing to Legend for years, asking him to host Caraval in her home island so she and her sister can attend. Legend finally responds to her last letter before she gets married and sends tickets for Scarlett, her sister Tella, and Scarlett's fiance (whom she's never met). But the game is being hosted on another island, and Scarlett doesn't know how to get herself and her sister there without getting caught by their abusive, psychopath father. Tella, however, has been planning to escape, and when Scarlett tells her about the tickets to Caraval, Tella devices a plan to get them there with the help of a young sailor (Julian). But when Scarlett arrives with Julian at the new island, Tella is nowhere to be found, and Scarlett soon learns that finding her sister is all part of the game.

This book had the perfect ingredients for buttery, periwinkle greatness that fills the tongue with velvety joy, but the ingredients were poorly mixed and baked into a burnt, deflated pancake of moldy gloom and sour sprinkles the color of dejection green...

Ok it wasn't THAT bad, but you get the gist. That description, btw, should give you an idea of how the author likes to describe everything. Though I make fun of it, I have to admit it did add to the whimsical, magical theme of the story...except it's way overused, and half the time those descriptions made no sense:

"Aiko beckoned Scarlett onto a street lined with hanging lanterns, smelling of flowers and flutes and long-lost love"

Although I did like Scarlett, it annoyed me that she was constantly harping about being in Caraval to find/save her sister, and she reminded me of this every five minutes, in case I forgot because her actions said otherwise.

Another problem with the book is the dad. We are told he used to be a loving father until Scarlett's mother left them, and this somehow turned him into a villain who tortures his daughters and kills people when they disobey. Yeah, right. I could see the dad being angry, depressed, detached, cold, indifferent, you name it. But an abusive father? I don't buy it. You don't become an abuser because your wife leaves you unless you were an abuser to begin with.

This book's biggest downfall, however, is its plot. Caraval is supposed to be this highly coveted, magical and whimsical game, but it was more along the lines of a bland scavenger hunt where all clues and answers conveniently fall into Scarlett's lap, and all the other players are irrelevant background fillers, thus robbing the story of any sense of competition, urgency or tension. All Caraval brings to the table is confusion and lies.

Bottom line: it's interesting and confusing enough to keep you invested in the story--and the characters are likable--but when all is revealed at the end, you might feel a little miffed.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

I would not let my kids read this

I have never (and I've read the Twilight series AND fifty shades) read a book with such a nonfeminist message disguised as a story about a "powerful" young woman- in reality she is completely man-obsessed and lives her life pathetically passing from one man to another. The characterization in this story is painful to the point of raucous laughter at inopportune moments; the main character is nothing but PATHETIC. What happens to her is neither interesting (how can a fantasy book be so boring?) nor well thought out, and I'm frankly appalled that this book was even published. The narrator has a taste for melodrama, and consequently fake-sobs lots of heart-wrenching "nooooooooos" whenever someone "dies". If you want to keep your brain cells, don't listen to this book.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

While many will love it, I did not.

I couldn't connect to the writing, the world, or the characters. Contains weird metaphors like "tasted like midnight" and "was the color of lost things". The world of Caraval was mostly lackluster with a few magical locales thrown in. Definitely not anything that swept me away. The romance felt forced and very angsty. Best thing about it was the premise, but sadly it just didn't deliver.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Dreadful Drivel

While the narrator is wonderful, I felt bad for her having to read hours of this awful crap. This story is overwritten, full of stock characters, paper-thin plot devices and cliches of every description. Please do not bother.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Ho hum

The story and main character were insipid and predictable. There was promise, but this book never really delivered.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Ugh

I lost interest very very fast and the story wasn't worth the hype at all

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

I believed the hype and it fell short for me

I like the story from the beginning to caraval. Then things seem to be on an even plane from there. It was predictable and repetitious. The journey reminded me of Alice in wonderland. It wasn't as magical as I thought it would be. I would say more trippy than magical. I was looking for it to get better, but it never did. I believed the hype, but as some have stated, the story fell a bit flat. Ending was meh, I wanted more.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Wants to be the Night Circus, but misses the mark.

I took a chance on this book after seeing fans of The Night Circus also enjoyed it. I wish these books had more in common than flowery descriptions. Throughout, Caraval is described as a magical place, but the author fails to follow through on the wonder and imagination. The wilting female protagonist heaves and sighs her way to a predictable, flat ending.

Narration wasn't anything out of the ordinary, though I tired of listening to her reedy wailing every time the protagonist cried 'Nooooooo!' Fans of The Night Circus, move along.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

Whoops!

This book was NOT For me. Silly, shallow plot line and one-note, "petulant" narrator drove me mad. I made my choice based on Audible's recommendation. Stuck with it just because. Putting this one behind me.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful