This is what happens when Alice in Wonderland meets the Night Circus.
Scarlett and her little sister Donatella are living on an isolated island, dreaming of getting away from their abusing father. Scarlett is about to marry a rich Count she never even met. However, she would do anything to find her and her sister a safe haven. Her only escape from the horrible reality they were living at was dreaming about the Caraval. Few days of magic, artists, games, and excitement. The Caraval was created by a mysterious Legend, whose life is surrounded by rumors and speculations. He was never seen, but his reputation as a powerful, dark and tragic master of the Caraval was known all over the world.
Just a few days before Scarlett’s wedding, the sisters receive an unexpected invitation to the Caraval. The light-headed Tella is ready to flee immediately, but more reasonable Scarlett is afraid that going to the Caraval would cost them bigger price than they can imagine. However, Tella is not ready to give up and lose her chance to see outside world. With the help of handsome but mysterious Julian, she manages to snatch her sister and leave for the biggest adventure ever!
Once Scarlett wakes up, she discovers that her sister disappeared, and the only way to find her is to join the Caraval game, which is not as innocent as she thought. Together with Julian, Scarlett discovers the magical world of the Caraval, she understands that nobody can be trusted and nothing is the way it seems. As the game continues, it gets even more dangerous. Will Scarlett be able to find her sister and finish the game before it is too late?
This book was seriously messing with my mind! Just as I thought I was getting what is going on, it turns upside-down. It was original, magical, unexpected and intriguing. It might be the first time when I was reading and I did not know what to expect and where the story was heading.
I loved the completely enchanting Caraval experience, it was so vividly and colorfully described, and you could just feel the magical, circusy and mysterious vibe in the air.
Scarlett was the only character that had any development, though. It is probably because she was the main player. I do not know. She quite grew from a frightened girl to a brave young woman, who can decide for herself. Moreover, Julian was burning hot!
I think that the book is one time experience though, it will not be as exciting again as the first time, so I would not be reading the sequel (I have heard this is a duology).
“Every person has the power to change their fate if they are brave enough to fight for what they desire more than anything.”