A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
I remember being excited for Caraval when I first learned about it. The cover, the setting, the premise– everything about it sounded wonderful. When I finally read it, I was satisfied and enjoyed the story, but wasn’t entirely overwhelmed. The ending contained a few too many twists that were difficult for me to follow and keep track of, amongst a few other issues I had. But I did enjoy it enough to look forward to its sequel, Legendary.
Originally, there were only supposed to be two Caraval books, but when it was announced that there would be a third one, I was intrigued by the fact that Stephanie Garber had much more story to tell than what was originally planned. This could only mean that Legendary was going to be much more sweeping and extensive in scope than its predecessor, I thought.
I was right.
While Caraval focuses on a very small portion of the world it is set in, Legendary explores numerous places, religions, and myths that make the world come to life in ways that could only be described as breathtaking. What may have seemed like small stakes during the first book and the beginning of this one become direr as the time goes on and as multiple parties get involved for their own reasons.
One of the reasons why I was so interested in reading Caraval were the comparisons to my favorite book of all time, The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. One of the things that really enraptured me in that novel was Morgenstern’s exquisite prose that brought the story to life like I’ve never experienced. Caraval didn’t do that for me, however, and the only thing that the two things have in common is the use of a magical circus/carnival as a central plot device. Although still not quite on the level of The Night Circus, Garber’s prose and imagination shine dozens of times brighter than Caraval.
The story ends with a couple big reveals which are shocking and set the stage for an epic Finale when the trilogy comes to a close this month.