Scarlett has dreamed of attending Caraval, a performance of sorts, for her whole life. Unfortunately, her abusive father has not only forced her to remain on her home island but will soon require her to participate in an arranged marriage. Shortly before said marriage, Scarlett receives a letter from Caraval Master Legend himself, inviting her to the upcoming Caraval. With her sister, Tella, and Tella’s boyfriend, Scarlett runs away from home to attend the event. However, as audience participation is quintessential, her sister is stolen upon their arrival. Scarlett is left to determine whether the events of Caraval are those of a performance or a real, perilous scheme.
The most compelling aspect of this book was how each of the characters develop. Scarlett, for example, is initially afraid of her father, risk-taking, and rule breaking. However, as the book continues, she learns that she has to beat some of her fears, in order to survive; not to mention, she is able to grow as a person and take on more challenges. Also, the reader has to interpret the other characters’ true motives, as many are hiding information that could alter one’s perception of said character and their morals. Personally, I thought the book began too slowly, with too much emphasis on describing a setting that would be largely irrelevant for the rest of the book. Otherwise, I would recommend Caraval to those who enjoy reading a fluid, thoughtful, and at times, suspenseful story.
The cover reflects the content, because the color scheme (blue, red, black, and white) suggests the presence of magic and intricate storytelling. Also, the font is grandiose, similar to Caraval and the settings.