‘Caraval’ is an Alice in Wonderland style story where things aren’t quite as they seem, and despite it’s faults I somehow thoroughly enjoyed it from beginning to end!
In terms of rating it would’ve been a solid 4 stars for me if it wasn’t for the over-abundance of figurative language and dodgy analogies. I don’t mind a bit of purple prose if it serves the story, but in the case of ‘Caraval’ nine times out of ten it actually suceeded in taking me out of it. Thankfully it does start serving the story a little better towards the end, but in the beginning at least once every turn of the page I found myself re-reading something and thinking ‘eh?’
I feel like the focus at the beginning of any story needs to be building the readers understanding of the world and it’s characters rather than waxing lyrical. So early on it felt frustrating and over-indulgent because it could sometimes feel like a long time to get to the end of a descriptive sentence, when all we want as readers is the information we need to move forward with.
Our main character Scarlett (my niece’s name 😊) also seemingly suffers from some kind of synesthesia, which is a bit random in that was only referenced explicitly on one occasion and wasnt explained adequately in terms of what relevance it actually had to the story (so none?) and while entertaining at first, albeit for the wrong reasons, it became quite tiresome.
The aspect I was most impressed by was actually the love interest, which makes for a change, because this is typically where YA novels lose me!
Initially it seems a typical scenario where boy meets girl, they detest each other but the plot requires that they stick together and they become attracted to each other nonetheless, then spend the rest of the story denying and/or being seemingly unaware of their feelings for one another. While that trope wasn’t entirely absent, it was refreshing that Scarlett seemed aware of her attraction early on but her issue was not being confident that he was who he says he was, which makes total sense to me in the situation they were in.
As well as this, the plot was generally fast moving, and the pace was comfortable. The whimsical world was enjoyable and there was enough mystery and intrigue to keep turning the pages, although the ending was a little convoluted and I’m still piecing together who was who and what was what. But then again I don’t really mind as this is something I could happily re-read, and I’m really looking forward to continuing with this series.
So I’m conflicted here because, while not very accomplished in terms of quality of writing, I still kinda loved it.
Writing ☆☆+ Enjoyment ☆☆☆☆ = ☆☆☆ 🤷🏼♀️