(2.5 / 5)
I read this book a few months ago for a buddy read/ read along with Brookie over @Brookie Cowles. Then, I put it on hold because after finishing it, I honestly had no idea how I was supposed to feel about it.
Had I liked it? How much had I liked it? What hadn’t I actually liked about it? Was I lying to myself about liking it because of all the hype? What made me not like it? Are the characters really that dumb? Was the plot really that good? Should I just ignore this and go read The Night Circus?
All of these were questions running through my head. And now, after two months, I have decided that the time for reviewing this book has come.
Around the time when Caraval was coming out, everyone and their mother was talking about it. Few times have I seen so much hype an author’s debut novel. Everyone wanted to know what was up with the novel, and I was one of those people. And then, the time came and I got to actually read the book, and I was so excited.
And then I read it, flew through it if I’m honest. There were so many twists and turns and magic and deceptions. And then it ended and I put it down to collect my thoughts. And this weekend, months after I read it, I came to think of it again for the very first time, because, if I’m honest, it wasn’t all that memorable.
Caraval is a mystery. It is a fantastical world where magic and lies go hand in hand, and no one is ever whom they seem. The plot was crazy with unexpected twists, leaving me guessing until the very end. The world was strange and lovely and dangerous. And I wanted to punch all of the characters in the face.
I feel like the world of Caraval would have been more fun to explore behind the eyes of a different character. A more fun, more engaging character. A character who, unlike Scarlett, does not fall deeply, madly in love with a guy she’s known for less than a week. A week in which he drugged and kidnapped her, almost let her die, made her sleep in a hallway, and lied to her through every step of the way.
This was insta-love of the worst kind. I was not a fan of them falling in love. Had they perhaps built up a friendship in this novel, and have left the love for the sequel, I might have liked it better. But, no, these two teenagers decided that they would fall in love in 400 pages or less. Much, much less.
There were also moments in the plot that seemed repetitive or unnecessary. These were moments that the story could have worked without, and it might have even been better. It felt like the story was trying too hard to bee too much, and there is nothing I hate more than when authors clearly try too hard. It was obvious in the extreme amount of purple prose (which admittedly, I didn’t actually mind), and how it was trying to be so many things at once. I would have liked a more straight forward story. Yes, still with the twists and turns, but a story about one thing, not all these bits and fragments from all over the place. I know it sounds vague but if you read the book, then you know what I’m talking about. There is no real way to explain it without spoilers.
I put this book on hold for review because I didn’t know how to feel about it, and even know I am not sure if I liked it or not. I think that a younger version of me would have liked this book. She would have loved this book. But I have noticed that as the years have passed, my taste in books has changed a lot. Sadly, I just don’t think that this was the one for me.
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