Tag Archives: 3 Stars

Caraval (Caraval #1)

Read on 20th February, 2017

Author: Stephanie Garber


3 Stars

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Welcome to Caraval, where nothing is quite what it seems.

Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show.

Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father.

When the sisters’ long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show’s mastermind organiser, Legend.

Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.

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Having heard really mixed reviews (mostly of the “meh” connotation) I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this one.

The writing was great, the world was interesting and overall it was fairly entertaining. I read it in one sitting.

That said, I did have some issues.

I really wasn’t a fan of the characters.

Scarlet grew on me and I actually ended up liking her, Julian was kind of “meh” but I liked him well enough and the little we knew about Legend interested me.

As for everyone else… not really a fan. I understand that dislike for the Governor and the Count is expected but I really disliked Tella; I found her to be selfish and not at all a good sister. I felt that, even though she was the younger sibling, she patronised Scarlet and looked down upon her because she was cautious. I took issue with a lot of her actions and something about her just rubbed me the wrong way.

The plot was interesting and had several unexpected twists. That said, I felt like it romanticised death and suicide, using it as a plot device, which is not cool. There were several instances where it felt unnecessary and I just feel like it wasn’t dealt with well or in a sensitive way at all.

Here’s a link to a good thread on the topic: https://twitter.com/piratesnpixdust/s… However, she does go into spoilers.

Trigger warnings for suicide and parental abuse.

While it was an okay read and I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it to anyone, I am intrigued enough to continue with the series.

Let’s Discuss!

Have you read Caraval? If so, what were your thoughts? There seems to be a lot of mixed opinions around this one.

I read Caraval for The Ya Room‘s February book of the month. Are any other fellow Melbournians coming to the discussion next week?

A Brief History of Montmaray (Montmaray Journals #1)

Finished on 29th August, 2014

Author: A Brief History of Montmaray


3 Stars

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“There’s a fine line between gossip and history, when one is talking about kings.”

Sophie FitzOsborne lives in a crumbling castle in the tiny island kingdom of Montmaray with her eccentric and impoverished royal family. When she receives a journal for her sixteenth birthday, Sophie decides to chronicle day-to-day life on the island. But this is 1936, and the news that trickles in from the mainland reveals a world on the brink of war. The politics of Europe seem far away from their remote island—until two German officers land a boat on Montmaray. And then suddenly politics become very personal indeed.

A Brief History of Montmaray is a heart-stopping tale of loyalty, love, and loss, and of fighting to hold on to home when the world is exploding all around you.

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I am honestly ashamed at how long this took me to read. It wasn’t even the fact that I’m a slow reader (because I’m not) – but that I kept putting it off.

A Brief History of Montmaray was recommended to me by one of my best friends who gave it a raving review. While I did end up enjoying the novel, it took me until about halfway to get interested. The problem, I found, was Sophie.

In the beginning, I found her quite annoying, somewhat frustrating and an altogether unrelatable character – particularly with her almost obsessive unrequited love for Simon Chester. To be honest, it was only my friend’s review, my interest in Veronica and my determination to finish that kept me from putting this book down and not picking it back up again. However, my opinion (thankfully) changed and while this is not the greatest book out there, I did end up enjoying it enough to want to read the sequel.

Other Characters of Note

I mentioned beforehand that I loved Veronica – and I did. I always get excited when there’s a bookish character and she was just amazing. Veronica was not only intelligent, but pursued answers and was active in her political views. On top of that, Veronica somehow managed to manage the household affairs. She was without a doubt my favourite character throughout the whole story. I admire her greatly.

I never like Rebecca – not even in the beginning. There’s not much I can say without giving anything away, but as the book progressed I liked her even less – to the point where I even wished her dead. Rebecca annoyed me much worse than Sophie – she was useless, slightly mad, complicated things and just vexed me to no end. I really hope she doesn’t have a part in the next book, simply disappearing into the shadows (and taking Simon with her, ideally).

Henry was… unusual. I did enjoy her antics, and her endeavours to convince everyone that she really was a boy were rather amusing.

Toby was great. He sounds like the perfect brother! I did get slightly frustrated at him near the end, but he was great. He had some hilarious lines that made me laugh.

All in all, A Brief History of Montmaray was an enjoyable read after I got past the approximate half way point and I look forward to reading the sequel. However, I certainly do not believe that it lives up to all those raving reviews.