“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world. Her grandmother’s words played in Scarlett’s head as she looked at the slips of paper in her hands. The Caraval stories she adored as a young girl never felt more real than they did in that moment. Scarlett always saw flashes of color attached to her strongest emotions, and for an instant goldenrod desire lit up inside her. Briefly, Scarlett let herself imagine what it would be like to go to Legend’s private isle, to play the game and win the wish. Freedom. Choices. Wonder. Magic. A beautiful, ridiculous fantasy.”
Scarlett and her younger sister Donatella live with a tyrannical father. In order to keep his daughters in control he punishes the other daughter when the other transgresses. It’s a diabolically cruel way to maintain control…mess up and your sister gets beaten. Needless to say that the sisters desperately want to get away from their father. Scarlett’s marriage is arranged by her father and she sees that as her escape though she’s never met him. The sisters have been enamored by stories of Caraval as told by their grandmother. When three tickets arrive in the mail to attend the magical event escape is imminent.
““Welcome, welcome to Caraval! The grandest show on land or by sea. Inside you’ll experience more wonders than most people see in a lifetime. You can sip magic from a cup and buy dreams in a bottle. But before you fully enter into our world, you must remember it’s all a game. What happens beyond this gate may frighten or excite you, but don’t let any of it trick you. We will try to convince you it’s real, but all of it is a performance. A world built of make-believe. So while we want you to get swept away, be careful of being swept too far away.”
I am still not sure what to make of this novel. I did mostly enjoy it, but I am not sure whether to continue the series. I probably will.