February’s OwlCrate theme was “Run Away with the Circus,” and it was so much fun! I love all things circus, so I was very excited for both the box contents and the book (which we all knew was going to be the super-hyped Caraval). Read on to see the goodies and my thoughts on the book!
What was inside (pictures below):
- A very cute tote with a quote from The Night Circus by Evie Bookish.
- A “Le Cirque des Reves” candle by Frostbeard Studio. A little too sweet for me, but I’m sure others will like it!
- Mini doughnut lip balm by Geek FIre Labs!
- A cute little notepad made out of recycled casino cards by Attic Journals.
- Perfect page flags from Girl of All Work (I LOVE PAGE FLAGS! I probably don’t use them as often as I should, but I love having the ability to use them if I decide to XD)
And lastly, the book: Caraval by Stephanie Garber. This book came with a note from the author, a signed bookplate and a fun little quote card (all but signed bookplate pictured below).
Caraval by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #1
Published by Flatiron Books on January 31st 2017
Buy on Amazon, Buy on Barnes & Noble, Buy from The Book Depository
Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world . . .
Welcome, welcome to Caraval―Stephanie Garber’s sweeping tale of two sisters who escape their ruthless father when they enter the dangerous intrigue of a legendary game.
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.
What I liked:
- The concept of the book! I mean, an immersive circus-like world where everyone around you is essentially acting? It’s like a circusy Truman Show! LOVE IT! It was a fantastically unique concept.
- The whimsy and world-building was so much fun. I loved how just slightly bizarre everything was and how intricately it was all described. The food, the clothes, the buildings – all of it was so magical!
- The plot twists! Somewhat predictable, but still highly enjoyable.
What I didn’t like:
- Scarlett and Donatella’s father and their relationship with him. View Spoiler »He was alarmingly abusive. In any other book, this would have been a huge deal and at the forefront of the story, but it took somewhat of a backseat in this book. His daughter’s also did not seem to be appropriately terrified of him. I don’t know, it just felt a little a little incongruent to me. « Hide Spoiler
- The stupid-ass cliffhanger at the end. I mean, COME ON. It was such a cheap shot to end the book with that letter. Instead of being intrigued, I was immensely annoyed. I wish she had just alluded to the things that were discussed in the letter in the last few chapters rather than make things so blunt. Again, it just felt cheap and like I was robbed of a resolution to the story.
I really did enjoy this book, and I plan to pick up the next one whenever it comes out!
What are your thoughts on Caraval, on this OwlCrate box, or on life in general?! Let’s chat.