Legendary: Whimsy and Confusion All in One!

Legendary is the sequel to Caraval, a hugely hyped young adult novel that was released last year. I enjoyed Caraval, so I was interested to see how I’d like it’s sequel… especially since I’ve been liking YA novels less and less recently. My quick thoughts? It reads a heck of a lot like its predecessor: flowery language, confusing analogies, and a plot that is relatively simple but is complicated when viewed through the lens of Garber’s writing.

Legendary: Whimsy and Confusion All in One!Legendary by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #2
Published by Flatiron Books on May 29, 2018
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 416
Format: Ebook
Source: Netgalley
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy from The Book Depository

Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval

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.

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

a mysterious carnival game played in the night, the power of fate, and a young woman torn between two magical men 

What I enjoyed about Legendary

  1. I really liked the characters that this novel focused on. Dante, Tella, and Jacks all allow the novel to take quite a different turn from Caraval. They often left me questioning who was good and who was bad; who was doing the right thing and who was in the wrong. It’s a fun place to be when reading a story.
  2. Following Tella’s perspective instead of her sister, Scarlett, in this story was also a good change. She obviously had more of a story to tell since she was a Caraval participant this year, and her story was quite enjoyable (especially the little love triangle bit, because y’all know I’m a sucker for that stuff!).

What I didn’t enjoy:

  1. My biggest complaint was the language/writing. It was a little trying in the first novel, but I found it endlessly exhausting in this one. The analogies made little sense and the adjectives often weren’t appropriate. It made for a convoluted read at times.
  2. Since I have started writing, one of my concerns is whether or not the motives of my characters are appropriate for the actions that they take. Now in my reading I notice when the motives aren’t well hashed out, and this book is full of them. There are so many places where it’s obvious that Garber wanted something specific to happen, but didn’t know how to get the characters to that point organically. It made the story feel sloppy. For example: View Spoiler »

The bottom line: Read this book if you loved Caraval. If you were lukewarm about it or simply liked it, I don’t know that I’d really push you to read it.


What’s a circus/carnival book that you have read recently that you enjoyed?

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  1. I follow you on Instagram and have never actually payed attention to your bio… Until today. Fellow veterinarian and blogger! First time I ever saw that combo on the Internet 😊 Good review. I have been feeling the same way about YA Novels for quite some time now. Guess, I will be skipping this one then.

    1. Hello fellow vet!! Small world! I love meeting other vet/blogger duos (there aren’t very many of us, that’s for sure)! Also, I can’t resist telling your that your photo from your wedding is GORGEOUS. I’m over here drooling.

  2. I’m not a big YA reader, but I read Caraval because of the hype and was disappointed. The world felt underdeveloped and the plot didn’t travel as far as the author wanted it to. I’ll take your word for it and skip Legendary! 🙂

    Night Circus and Water for Elephants are both well- written circus stories. Loving your book reviews!

  3. I just finished reading this and now I’m over here devouring all the reviews I can find because NO ONE had read this thing yet. Lol. I really liked this, but I COMPLETELY understand what you’re saying. Garber’s writing is so flowery and sometimes I just want her to get to the point. And OMG. I don’t want to reveal the spoiler that you purposely hid, but I THOUGHT THAT WAS INSANE!!! I wanted to reach through the pages and STRANGLE HER/THEM. I don’t understand!! WHYYYY?!?!
    Loretta @ The Laughing Listener just posted Mini Reviews: Curse of the GodsMy Profile