Hey everyone! Two posts in one day, you lucky ducks 😉
Here’s my spoiler-free review of the last instalment in Stephanie Garber’s Caraval series.
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.
It devastates me to say it, but I’m a little disappointed by this one 😦 I adored the first book and really liked the second one (though it didn’t top the beginning of the series for me). However, this one really didn’t have the same magic in my opinion.
Before I get into what I thought was wrong with this one, I’ll talk about what I liked. The purple prose was once again divine and totally recognisable as Garber; I was giving it heart eyes by the end of page one. So I definitely can’t fault it in that respect. The flowery writing that I loved from the first two books was still present in abundance.
I also love the magic in these books. It’s mysterious and a little bit dark, and I just think it’s divine. I want a wardrobe full of magical dresses please and thank you.
However. I struggled with this book because it honestly felt a bit plotless? I would find it quite difficult to describe this book to someone as it didn’t seem to have a proper structure. For the final instalment in a trilogy, it definitely felt a bit weak.
There were also a LOT of characters to keep track of in this book, and not just those we met in the previous two books but newly introduced characters as well. I thought it was a brave choice on Garber’s part to introduce these new characters, in particular a new big bad villain, in the last third of her series – and sadly, I don’t think it paid off. I didn’t feel quite invested because the story was going off in a different direction to what I had been used to in the previous two books. I hadn’t had time to get to know this villain so I wasn’t feeling the high stakes tension that I should have been while reading a concluding book.
I also have to say that I didn’t mind Scarlett too much as a character in the first book (I know a lot of readers had issues with her). Unfortunately, as the trilogy has progressed, she has seriously gone down in my estimations. Her behaviour in this book was childish and quite honestly baffled me. She came across as very self-centred much of the time.
I’m genuinely so sad about how this trilogy has wrapped up. None of the big ‘shocks’ really impacted me, I didn’t feel as emotionally invested, it just didn’t do it for me. I feel bereft.
If you have read this series, please comment down below so we can discuss it! x