Caraval by Stephanie Garber is a young adult fantasy novel concerning two sisters, Scarlett and Tella Dragna, and the magical annual performance, Caraval, where the audience get to participate in the show – or, more accurately, the game. Scarlett and Tella have been enchanted by the idea of Caraval and its mysterious ringleader, Master Legend, ever since their grandmother told them stories of it as children. But when they finally receive invitations to Caraval, just days before the event, Scarlett is just days away from marrying a man who promises both herself and her sister a secure future away from their abusive father. Going to Caraval would mean putting their future and their safety in jeopardy.
Tella, meanwhile, has other ideas. Despite the risk of missing the wedding, she tricks Scarlett into going with her to Caraval with the help of sailor Julian, before promptly disappearing upon arrival. Scarlett quickly realises Tella has been kidnapped by Legend himself: Tella’s whereabouts is the mystery that this year’s participants must solve to win the game. She vows to find her sister in time to return for her wedding, but soon discovers that Caraval is less harmless than she imagined. While it might just be a game, Scarlett cannot risk that it isn’t, and that something sinister really is going to happen – or has already happened – to her sister. Not only must she figure out the clues that Legend has left for them, but also who to trust – including whether she can trust herself.
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