Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Legendary (Caraval #2) - Stephanie Garber

Summary: A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun. (Summary and pic from

My Review: I don’t know if you read Caraval yet or not, but if you have, you know that it was a fun story in a very unique and magical world. I always love me some fun YA Fic with really good world building. When I heard Legendary was coming out, I was super excited and got right on the library’s [very long] waiting list. I’m always a little nervous for sequels. You never know if it’s going to be as epic as the first one. Sometimes I love a book so much that I’m almost protective about it; I don’t want it ruined by a bad or even not-as-good second book. A really good book is hard to live up to, ya know? Sometimes I don’t even share my book recommendations that are near and dear to me because I can’t trust others to understand the awesomeness. I try not to be so selfish, but you hear me, right? You recommend a book that really meant something to you and your friend/family member/random stranger is all “Oh. Yeah. I read it. It was okay.” Or, “Yeah, I couldn’t really get into it so I just stopped.” All the mad emojis should go right here! I mean. What?! Anyway.

I wasn’t nearly as committed to Caraval as all that, but I really did enjoy the book. It’s been awhile since I read it, though, so when it turned out that Legendary was written from a different perspective, it was a little confusing at first. It took me going back and re-reading the summary to figure out what was happening. Once I got over that, though, I was thoroughly plummeted right back in to that fun world of intrigue and magic. Garber does an awesome job of creating a very tangible, real place. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever experienced in real life, and yet I can see it and feel it all around me when I read. That is one of the things I love about this series—that I am transported immediately to that very foreign place. It’s like Marie Antoinette meets STEAM punk. What’s not to love about that? My only gripe is that stylistically, sometimes Garber’s very extensive descriptions of everything are a little weird, like she took random things and put them together to describe something. And everything is described extensively and with the same amount of descriptive words, so it almost feels formulaic  i.e. “But when Tella held the opal up toward the light, the stone sparked, covering the room in embers of luminescent cherry, gold, and lavender that hinted at magic curses and rebel pixie dust.” It’s beautiful and descriptive, right? And this pattern is used for every. Single. Thing. It’s okay. I’m just noting that it got extensive and kind of tiresome at times.

As far as the story goes, I wasn’t as surprised by this story as I was by the first one, and I think that’s because I was so taken aback and enamored by what was going on in Caraval that I couldn’t help but not be as shocked in this book. It’s hard to recreate the first feelings of being so intrigued by everything. That being said, there were some fun twists and differences in this book that I really enjoyed. I liked how the world building extended out (I’m being intentionally vague here) and involved characters not necessarily part of the first one. There was also some behind-the-scenes story telling that I enjoyed, and this is obviously possible because I was aware of the what the world was like from the first book. So although you don’t HAVE to have read the first book to get into this one, I would definitely recommend it.

So will I read the third one? You betcha! I can’t wait to see what happens. The story was left on somewhat of a cliffhanger, as many good books are, so I have to know what happens next! Who will the narrator be? What will happen to the people and the game of Caraval? I guess we’ll all have to wait!

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

For the sensitive reader: This book has some light romance and some mild language.

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