Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval
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.
REVIEW (Spoiler Free):
Welcome back to the world of Caraval! I have been eagerly waiting Legendary since I finished Caraval. I actually bought two copies! The US edition (cover pictured above) and the U.K. edition with the mystery covers (I got the Aracle and it’s beautiful!).
Our story picks up the morning after the end of Caraval party. Tella wakes up with her letter and coin from her “friend”. Tella needs to repay her “friend” for helping her contact Legend for the previous game. To repay him, Tella must learn Legend’s true name. We discover that there is going to be another Caraval right away. It will be in the city of Valenda to celebrate the Empress Elantine’s birthday. On the boat ride to Valenda, Tella learns that she must participate in the upcoming Caraval and win to learn Legend’s name. I won’t include anything else from the plot to avoid spoilers!
I loved being back in Stephanie Garber’s fantastical world of Caraval. Legendary starts off very different compared to Caraval. This time around the story is told from Tella’s point of view. We begin seven years ago, where we learn about the “Fates” and the “Decks of Destiny” which are used to predict the future. However, these decks are very dangerous because once a future is foretold it becomes a living thing and fights to bring itself about. Tella finds her mother’s (Paloma) deck and draws 3 cards…the Maiden Death, the Prince of Hearts, and the Aracle. I was immediately captured by this story. It was so ominous and creepy. This short prologue is our first introduction to one of the main plots in Legendary…the Fates. I absolutely loved learning about the Fates and their mythology. Garber put a lot of thought into each Fate, their history, and mythology. It was so interesting and unique!
In Legendary, the world of Caraval expands and we travel to a new city…Valenda. Stephanie Garber’s writing is absolutely beautiful. She truly has a gift when it comes to the way she describes everything. Valenda is a stunning city with so much detail. All of Garber’s imagery is so beautifully done. Some of my favorites were the Caraval symbols in the stars, the dresses, and the Fates. I started to get lost in the story as soon as the Caraval troupe and our protagonists arrived in Valenda. I instantly found myself asking, “Has Caraval started already?” and “Is this part of the game?”. I think that I had a harder time telling what was real and what was part of the game in Legendary than I did in Caraval. We are told multiple times that the game is different this year, and that added to the confusion! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again (and again), Garber is able to create a captivating environment that leaves the reader guessing the whole time.
It’s no secret that I was not a fan of Tella in Caraval. I found her extraordinarily selfish and horrible to her sister, Scarlett. I started Legendary uneasy about Tella. She definitely began as the same selfish girl, but as the story progressed, I was able to watch as Tella grew and developed into a better person. I finished Legendary with a much higher opinion of Tella than when I started. One of my favorite quotes (page 441) is, “Tella had feared that was her true ending. But she was too young for endings. Her adventures were only beginning. They would be bigger than promises, and brighter than constellations. By the end of them, Tella would be the legendary one.” I really loved this quote and I think it shows how much Tella has grown throughout the series.
Now…as for the big reveal…we find out who Legend is in this book. This is a spoiler free review, so I will not give anything away. I will say that I’m a bit disappointed. I thought the reveal was kind of a let down. For the entire book (Caraval and Legendary), I was dying to know who Legend was. I was constantly theorizing and asking is it this person? or this person? I wanted to be shocked, but unfortunately I wasn’t. However, I am looking forward to learning more about Legend in the next book. We got a couple little snippets of his history in this book, but I am hungry for more! The book also ends with a new mystery about Legend. We once again don’t know what is real and what isn’t. I need answers!!
Overall, Legendary was a great story. I was drawn back into Garber’s magical and captivating world. The writing is beautiful and the characters are very well done. I once again got lost in Garber’s world and I can’t wait to continue Scarlett & Tella’s story in the next book.
I wanted to include a couple of other quotes that I loved…
“Glowing brighter than before, they danced into new constellations. She counted more than a dozen, all forming the same bewitching image – a sun with a starburst inside and a glittering teardrop inside of the star. The symbol of Caraval.” (page 104)
“…and Tella would be damned before she allowed any of them to use her like a pawn on a game board again.” (page 375)
“There are two types of endings because most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, where the situation feels hopeless. But that’s when hope is needed most. Only those who persevere can find their true ending.” (page 391)
- I absolutely loved learning about the Fates! I love when authors create their own mythology and Garber’s Fates were no exception! I am hoping we get to explore more of them in the next book.
- The story and the game are very different this time, but it still felt like the same magical, whimsical, and mysterious world.
- I started this book not liking Tella, but her character development was fantastic and I can’t wait to hear more from her in the sequel.
- Garber’s imagery and world building is stunning once again.
- The Legend reveal was a let down for me. I am curious to see what other readers think! Post in the comments (spoiler free please!) or send me a message of what you thought!
- Garber once again ended on a big cliffhanger. Many of my questions from Caraval were answered, but now I have even more unanswered questions!! I can’t wait to see what happens next!!