- Author: Stephanie Garber
- Series: Caraval #3
- No. of pages: 493
- Dates read: 19.05.20 – 22.05.20
- Star Rating: 2
- Challenge: Sequels Challenge
Before we fully get into this review I want to again, bring light to my Black Lives Matter post, see here. It has a list of petitions, places you can donate to and link to a master thread on Twitter! It is important all of us do our bit!
Plot: It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.
Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finally, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all. Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything.
Well, this was disappointing.
After starting off the series with a 5-star rating I wasn’t expecting it to end like this!
This is a spoiler-filled review. I will need to look at the series as a whole to explain some on my points.
Starting with what did work. I am not the biggest fan of overly flowery writing but I really enjoyed the way Garber described emotions and the focus on colour in this story. Sometimes the writing can be cringey but it made for a different reading experience to what I am used to, so I enjoyed it. This may not be everyone’s cup of tea but I really liked it.
The romance in this was really fun. I adore Julian, he is one of my fave literary romantic interests and I don’t have many! I enjoyed the dynamic between Legend and Donatella in this book as well.
Sadly we must now discuss what didn’t work.
First, we had the same problem I had with Legendary. You can read my review here. I don’t think this trilogy was thought out that much in advance as loads of things in this book seemed out of the blue, random and convenient for the plot. All these things really needed to be set up better in the previous books but they weren’t so it looked like retconning or just a super convenient way for the characters to get out of a situation.
The love triangle to me just did not work. The love triangle between Scarlett, Julian and the Count (which was set up as being a massive thing) lasted about 100 pages and felt really unnecessary. I think the whole love triangle could have been scrapped altogether.
The triangle between Legend, Donatella and Jacks just didn’t work as well. To be honest, I forgot why Jacks was important to the story. Legend and Tella had a lot going on between them i.e. immortality that they didn’t really need Jacks to be there to create tension for their relationship.
Scarlett was my fave sister, she reminds me of myself, but I did not like where her character went. To me, her parentage and her subsequent powers made no sense at all and felt out of the blue. Again, we needed so much more foreshadowing and setting up in the previous books for this to have paid off.
I wasn’t a fan of the mum. All of Legendary focuses on saving her and she’s only in the first quarter of the book and then we never see her again. Again, we didn’t need her in this story we could have stayed with the memory of her rather than bringing her back.
One of the reasons I loved Caraval so much was the existence of the game itself. I was disappointed we never got experience it again. I loved the low fantasy vibe of that story and it just didn’t work this attempt of high fantasy/save the world kind of book.
The worldbuilding could have been way better, again this comes with setting up these elements earlier in the series. The Fates, while incredibly interesting, felt like a way to make things convenient for the characters and plot. It felt like things were made up along the way to suit the story.
Overall, this series needed more direction. It started off as low fantasy and ended up becoming a big save the world/kill the gods story which could have worked if the structuring of the series had been worked on more. That being said, I have read somewhere that the plan wasn’t for it to be a trilogy originally it was standalone, then a duology and then a trilogy so this would explain some of my points.
Overall, this was a disappointing end to series that I felt had a lot of potential. The next book I will be reviewing is Predator’s Gold by Phillip Reeve. The second book in the Mortal Engines Quartet.