Caraval by Stephanie Garber
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
After finishing this book last night and sleeping on it, I'm deciding to knock my ratings down 0.5 stars, which means it rounds down to 3 stars on Goodreads.
Here's what I actually liked about the book:
The fantasy realm that Garber created was very original compared to most of the other fantasy stuff that I have read recently. I liked how she included the magical potion that allowed you to only see the important aspects of the game in color and the dress that morphs into your emotional state.
That being said, there were many aspects of this book that I found to be problematic:
1. For some weird reason, Scarlett (the protagonist of the novel) see emotions in colors. This was just way too fluffy and cheesy for me. For example, she hates the color purple and it is synonymous with terror and fear of her abusive father. At first, I thought there was going to be a magic component related to this ability, but sadly no, she just emphasizes everything with her flower talk. It was honestly really hard to stop myself from rolling my eyes 20 pages into the book.
2. I honestly didn't feel attached to any of the characters. I thought that Scarlett and Tella's father just woke up one day and decided it was okay to mentally and physically abuse his children for absolutely no reason (or...because his wife left him, but that's a pathetic excuse). Scarlett was kinda boring as a protagonist because she didn't have any distinctive personality. Without the fantasy elements of this story, this book is just about a girl trying to find her sister and experiencing a dash of first-love.
3. The love interest. Julian honestly didn't do anything except play a game with her. Can't two people honestly be friends without romantic lust getting in the way? And we really need to stop with this YA insta-love, extremely attractive male companion cliche. It's so overused and makes me dislike the characters more.
4. The rushed ending. I mean come on! Why do authors keep doing this? (beginning of spoiler) One second Tella jumps off the balcony to her death and then she's revived in like 5 pages? And all the deaths that occurred throughout the game was all fake. The characters all come back to life and the story concludes in a neatly wrapped box. Mind you, this all happened within like 10 more pages. The only thing that would make me want to continue this series is Tella's story form the epilogue. I wan to the see what bargain she decided to make with Legend for her sister to play the game. Plus, Tella is infinitely more interesting and vibrant as a character than Scarlett. (end of spoiler)[ One second Tella jumps off the balcony to her death and she is revived in like five pages? And all the deaths that occurred throughout the novel was all just fake. The characters all come back to life and the story concludes in a neatly wrapped box. Mind you, this all happened within like 10 pages. The only thing that would make me want to continue this series is Tella's story from the epilogue. I want to see what bargain she decided to make with Legend for her sister to play the game. Plus, Tella is much more vibrant of a character than Scarlett. (hide spoiler)]
I enjoyed reading this, but still had problems with the plot and characters.
Overall rating: 3.25 Stars
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