Author: Stephanie Garber
Category: Young Adult
Status: Book 2 of Caraval trilogy
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 read Caraval last year and I LOVED it. I even tweeted about it and my tweet was quoted in the UK paperbacks. It was lovely. I really liked the idea of Caraval. The game which is real or not and you’re questioning everything while in the race to win the game.
While I liked Legendary, it still felt short of Caraval for me in the ways that I liked Caraval. Legendary had more of a personal plot line with many things weighing in. It did not have the actual Caraval on the forefront.
Note: There are spoilers for Caraval below.
Donatella “Tella” Dragna has to find her mother. On the way she’s done many deals and now the way to her mother is a little complicated when she can’t give her “friend” what he wants to find her mother.
She needs to find Legend’s real name for him and the only way to do so is to win the next Caraval. She has five nights to win Caraval, set in the beautiful Valenda, home to the empress. It’s all well and good but she can’t get rid of Dante who’s there at every turn and she might have made a dangerous bargain.
My thoughts on the book:
- As I said before, the story is not actually focused on Caraval the game. It’s about Tella’s quest to find her mother, for which she has to win Caraval, and a bunch of other personal plot lines that come into mix.
- To me, it didn’t feel like everyone was playing the same game. Tella had a completely different path to the finish line. I didn’t like that because it’s engineered.
- There were so many things coming in to play which weren’t in Caraval. We had the dangerous Fates, mysterious and annoying Dante, Tella’s mother’s past and the Heir (to the empire) meddling in. On one hand, it’s good. But I went in wanting Caraval as a game not Caraval as a venue.
- The one thing I liked from the start is Tella. She’s way more interesting, spunky and determined than Scarlett. She made a good protagonist.
- I somehow couldn’t bring myself to care about Tella and Dante’s romance. I don’t know why but every time I started to, it fell away. Probably because I got the “oh I like him but I shouldn’t but oh he’s so handsome but I need to find my mother” vibes. I hate indecision and push-and-pulls like this.
- On it’s own, the plot is good enough but I’m just disappointed that the Caraval magic wasn’t there.
Recommended, especially if you didn’t like Caraval because it’s pretty different that book 1. But if you did like Caraval, especially for the Caraval part of it, don’t read it.