Caraval is a trending book. It is everywhere and everybody loves it. The cover is amazing, the name gives a certain magic, it had so much potential.

I read it all at once because I was participating in the 24in48 readathon.

I like to make reviews, and I like true reviews. So I am offering here is a true review of this book that so many people love, madly.

1 | The main character is a pain

Where should I start?

The book starts in a sequence of letters, that Scarlett (our main character) sends to Legend, the creator of Caraval. I love this. 

I think letters are such a great way to start a story and you can see she is trying year after year and no reply. Until… there is a reply.

After 7 years, there is a reply.

Scarlett wants lots of things. She wants freedom for her and her sister, she wants to get rid of her dad which is a mean person, she wants a comfortable life (after all she is the daughter of the Governor), she wants a comfortable choice.

Her father, who is a horrible person, finds a fiance for her. What are the chances that he is also a horrible person? They are going to get married and she expects they will live happily ever after away from her father.

Yeah, right…

OMG, she is just the worst! She waited 7 years to receive a reply for her DREAM – which is a very rare event, that only happens once a year and she wants to say no to all of this because of a man that she doesn’t know!! I understand she is afraid of her dad, but gimme a break!

She is overprottective on her sister, which it doesn’t look like when you’re reading the book.

2 | Why is this a different world?

In the first page of Caraval, you realized you’re not on Earth.  But the only map on the book is of Caraval.

The story passes on the year 57, at Elantine Dynasty, at the Isle of Trisda.

“Scarlett’s feelings came in colors even brighter than usual. The urgent red of burning coals. The eager green of new grass buds. The frenzied yellow of a flapping bird’s feathers”

Based on these lines, I thought that everyone in this world changed colors based on their feelings. I found it interesting at first, having synesthetic people. But it’s only Scarlett and it’s only inside her. So, nobody sees it.

Why using unnecessary metaphors to describe something that’s not adding anything to this story?

In this world, they have seasons like “the growing season” and “hot season”, because they don’t have words for the seasons.  some of the names of places are in Spanish like “Del Ojos Beach”. Most of the people don’t believe magic is real, they have common professions like sailors, or guards, or farmers,

Characters travel around islands, countries, empires, and the reader has no idea of what’s going on because there is no explanation of the background and again, there is no map.

So why is this not Earth? Or why making a different world if you’re not going to use it? Just to justify magic? Harry Potter happens in London, baby!

3 | This shallow romance

I hate romance in adventure books. And the romance in this one it made me want to through the book away. Because it based on looks, on attraction and it’s so shallow.

You want someone because he is so hot, omg, look at his muscles. Every time Scarlett talked about Julian’s body, I’d closed the book. Not because I wanted to imagine… I just wanted to know why!?

Why is this important to the story? Why this character has to suck this other character fingers?

4 | The scavenger hunt

Oh! I love a good goose chase, and Caraval was a big one. You have clues and only one prize: a wish. The not-explained magic of this book.

The cover of the book tells you “Remember is only a game…”. Things can happen inside Caraval that will look real, but they are not… They say that, more times than you want to know.

It’s just a game.

Scarlett knows everything about Caraval because her grandmother told her everything about it. We should expect that this girl who has this love about it would be smart enough to crack some clues.


It’s funny that she exactly the people I hate the most: the entitled one. She thinks everyone should help her. And she is not smart. I was appalled so many times of how stupid she was. Some clues were so obvious and she made the worst decisions based on coming back to her wedding.

The way Scarlett realized where to go next many times felt manipulated like “oh let me put this thing here in front of you, so you can see it”. Like this is not how a scavenger hunt works.

5 | Please, don’t underestimate me

This book was advertised and marketing as a YA – Young ADULT. I am not a Young Adult anymore, I am just an adult.

I don’t know if any of you read Lemony Snicket’s A series of unfortunate events but that author has a particular way to tell a story. Every time he writes a word that can mean another thing, he fills the page with the other meanings. I like it, I know it’s not for everyone, and I know it’s not YA. Lemony Snicket help us with our vocabulary and helps the story too, and he knows that we are reading and we are paying attention, so he doesn’t have to repeat the plot every single time.

Stephanie Garber filled the book with the same information over and over again. We are reminded every 2 pages that Scarlett is looking for her sister, she can’t stay all the days of Caraval, she will marry a count she never met but will solve all her problems forever, and also how many days she needs to come back.

YA lit that I know and love, doesn’t treat readers like children and even Lemony Snickers who is a children’s author treats his readers as clever children.

The plot twists were predictable.

I felt so stupid reading this book and I only continued and finished because I needed to know why so many people love it!

And I don’t understand. People say that I should read the second book, but I can’t take more of this.

Don’t bother. Save your money.


Same theme of Caraval, a magic circus, better characters, and real magic. Click here to buy it.

You can’t go wrong with Leigh Bardugo. Such an amazing trilogy! Click here to buy it.

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Did you like Caraval? Why? Share in the comments.