Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling and breakout debut Caraval, following Scarlett’s younger sister, Tella, on a journey to the empire’s capital to fulfill a mysterious bargain.
Praise for Caraval:
New York Times bestseller
#1 IndieNext Pick
Publishers Weekly Flying Start
“The Hunger Games meets The Night Circus. Grade: A-.” Entertainment Weekly Must List
“Impressive, original, wondrous.” USA Today
“Spellbinding.” US Weekly
“Magnificent.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
“I lost myself in this world.” Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes
“Beautifully written.” Renée Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn
“Shimmers with magic.” Marie Rutkoski, author of The Winner’s Curse
“Darkly enchanting.” Kiersten White, author of And I Darken
“Decadent.” Roshani Chokshi, author of The Star-Touched Queen
“Like stepping into a living dream.” Stacey Lee, author of Outrun the Moon
“Destined to capture imaginations.” Kirkus
“Ideal for fans of The Night Circus, Stardust, and The Hunger Games.” SLJ
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Tella was no longer floating.
She was on the damp ground, feeling far, far away from the bright, sparkly thing she'd been the evening before. Back when Legend's private isle had radiated amber-tipped light, which breathed enchantment and wonder, along with a hint of deception. A delectable combination. And Tella had reveled in it. During the party to celebrate the end of Caraval, she had danced until her slippers were stained with grass and sipped flutes of bubbly wine until she'd practically floated.
But now she was facedown on the cold, hard forest floor.
Not daring to open her eyes, she groaned and brushed bits of nature from her hair, wishing some of the other remnants from last night could be as easily swept away. Everything reeked of stale liquor, pine needles, and mistakes. Her skin itched and crawled, and the only thing worse than the spinning in her head was the twisted soreness in her back and neck. Why had she thought falling asleep outside was a brilliant idea?
"Argh." Someone grunted the not-quite-satisfied sound of a person on the verge of waking up.
Tella opened her eyes, peered to the side, and then closed her lids immediately. Dirty saints.
She was not alone.
Amid the towering trees and the untamed greens of the forest floor, Tella had flashed open her eyes just long enough to glimpse a dark head of hair, bronzed skin, a scarred wrist, and a boy's hand covered with a black rose tattoo. Dante.
It all rushed back in a surge of blurry memories. The feeling of Dante's experienced hands wrapped around her hips. His kisses on her neck, her jaw, then her mouth as their lips became intimately acquainted.
What in all the hells had she been thinking?
Of course, Tella knew exactly what her thoughts had been during the Caraval performers' party the night before. The world had tasted like magic and starshine, like granted wishes and dreams come true, yet beneath it all, death still coated Tella's tongue. No matter how much champagne she drank, or how warm the air grew from dancing, Tella still shivered from the chilling recollection of how it had felt to die.
Her jump from Legend's balcony had not been an act of despair; it had been a leap of faith. But for just one night she hadn't wanted to think about it, or why it mattered. She wanted to celebrate her success, to forget everything else. And Dante had looked like the perfect way to do both. He was attractive, he could be charming, and it had been too long since she had been properly kissed. And, saints, did Dante know how to kiss.
With another groan, he stretched beside her. His large hand landed on her lower back, warm and firm, and far more tempting than it should have been.
Tella told herself she needed to escape before he woke. But even asleep, Dante was so good with his hands. He idly ran his fingers up her spine to her neck, lazily digging into her hair just enough to make her back arch.
His fingers stilled.
Dante's breathing grew suddenly quiet in a way that told Tella he was now awake as well.
Swallowing a curse, she hastily pushed up from the ground, away from his stilled, skilled fingers. She didn't care if he saw her sneaking off; it would be far less uncomfortable than exchanging any forced pleasantries before one of them became bold enough to make an excuse for why he or she needed to rush away. Tella had kissed enough young men to know that anything said by a boy right before or directly after she kissed him could not be believed at all. And she really needed to leave.
Tella's memories might have been blurry, yet somehow she couldn't manage to forget the letter she'd received before things became interesting with Dante. A stranger, face hidden underneath the cloak of night, had slid the note into her pocket and disappeared before she could follow. She wanted to reread the message right away, but considering what she owed the friend who'd sent it, she did not think that would be very wise. She needed to return to her room.
Damp earth and spiked tree needles snuck between her toes as she began to slink away. She must have lost her slippers somewhere, but she didn't want to waste time searching for them. The forest was tinged with indolent honey light and punctuated by heavy snores and murmurs that made Tella think she and Dante weren't the only ones who'd passed out under the stars. She didn't care if any of them saw her sneaking away from the pretty boy, but she didn't want anyone telling her sister.
Dante had been more than a little nasty to Scarlett during Caraval. He worked for Legend, so it had only been an act — but although Caraval was over, it was still somewhat difficult to weed out the bits of fact from fiction. And Tella didn't want her sister further hurt because Tella had chosen to have some fun with a boy who'd been so cruel to Scarlett during the game.
Thankfully the world remained asleep as Tella reached the edge of the forest, and then, Legend's turreted house.
Even now, with Caraval officially ended, and all the candles and lanterns inside unlit, the mansion still breathed wisps of beguiling ember-glow light, reminding Tella of tricks yet to be played.
Until yesterday, this estate had contained the entire world of Caraval. Its grand wooden doors had led visitors to elegant balconies draped with lush red curtains, which surrounded a city made of canals, streets that had minds of their owns, and uncanny shops full of magical pleasures. But in the brief time since the game had ended, the turreted house had shrunk in size and the ephemeral wonderland hidden within its walls had disappeared, leaving behind only the parts that would normally belong inside of a grand house.
Tella trotted up the closest staircase. Her room was on the second floor. With a rounded robin's-egg-blue door, it was easy to find. It was also impossible to miss Scarlett and Julian, standing next to it, holding on to each other as if they'd forgotten how to say the word good-bye.
Tella was glad her sister had finally lost herself in some happiness. Scarlett deserved every joy in the Empire, and Tella hoped it would last. She'd heard Julian didn't have a reputation for stringing girls along, he never carried on relationships after Caraval, and he'd not even been scripted to stay with Scarlett after bringing her to Legend's isle. But he lied for a living, which made it difficult for Tella to trust him. Yet, as the pair stood there with their arms wrapped around each other, and their heads leaning closer together, they looked like two halves of the same heart.
Their eyes stayed locked as Tella crept around them toward her room.
"Is that a yes?" Julian murmured.
"I need to talk to my sister," Scarlett said.
Tella halted in front of the door. She swore the letter in her pocket grew suddenly heavy, as if impatient to be read again. But if Julian had just asked Scarlett what Tella had hoped, then Tella needed to be a part of this conversation.
"What is it you want to talk to me about?" Tella interrupted.
Scarlett pulled back from Julian, but his hands remained wrapped around her waist, weaving through the blushing ribbons of her dress, clearly not ready to let her go. "I asked your sister if you'll both go with us to Valenda for Empress Elantine's seventy-fifth birthday celebration. There will be another Caraval and I have two tickets." Julian winked.
Tella tossed her sister a grin. This was exactly what she'd hoped for. Although a part of her still couldn't believe the rumors she'd heard over the past week were true. Caraval only occurred once a year, and she'd never known of two games being played so close together. But Tella supposed even Legend made exceptions for the empress.
Tella continued to look at her sister hopefully. "I'm surprised this is even a question!"
"I thought you didn't like Elantine's Day because it always overshadowed your birthday."
Tella wobbled her head as she weighed her answer. Her true reasons for wanting to go had little to do with Elantine's Day, although her sister was correct. For as long as Elantine had been empress of the Meridian Empire, her birthday had been a holiday, Elantine's Day, which was ushered in with a full week of parties and dances, bended rules, and broken laws. On the girls' home isle of Trisda, this holiday was only celebrated for one day, on the thirty- sixth day of the Growing Season, but it still overshadowed Tella's birthday, which had the misfortune of occurring the day afterward.
"It will be worth it to visit Valenda," Tella said. "When do we leave?"
"Three days," Julian answered.
Scarlett puckered her mouth. "Tella, we need to discuss this first."
"I thought you've always wanted to go to the capital, to see all its ancient ruins and the carriages that float through the sky, and this will be the party of the century! What's there to talk about?"
Julian's brown skin went gray.
Tella's face might have done the same.
"The count lives in Valenda, and we can't let him see you," Scarlett said.
Scarlett was the overly cautious sister, but Tella couldn't blame her for this reservation.
Count Nicolas d'Arcy was Scarlett's former fiancé whom Scarlett's father had arranged for her to marry. Before Caraval, Scarlett had only written him letters, but she'd believed herself in love with him. She'd also thought the count would keep both her and Tella safe — until Scarlett met him during Caraval and learned what a despicable human being he was.
Scarlett was right to worry about the count. If Scarlett's former fiancé discovered Tella was alive, he could send word to their father — who believed Tella was dead — and it would shatter everything.
But things would also fall apart if Tella didn't go with Legend and his performers to the Empire's capital city of Valenda. She might not have had the chance to reread the letter from her friend, but she knew what he wanted, and she would never get it for him if she was separated from Legend and his performers.
During Caraval, Tella hadn't been entirely certain who worked for Legend. But all of his performers would be on the boat to Valenda — Legend might even be on the boat as well, giving her the opportunity she needed to finally get the one thing her friend required.
"The count is so concerned with himself he probably wouldn't recognize me even if I walked up to him and gave him a slap in the face," Tella said. "We only met for a moment, and I was not looking my best."
"I know, I know, you want me to be serious," Tella cut in. "I'm not trying to mock you. I'm fully aware of the danger, but I don't think we need to be afraid of it. We could just as easily perish in a shipwreck, but if we let that fear stop us, we'll never leave this isle again."
Scarlett grimaced and turned to Julian. "Would you mind giving my sister and me a moment alone?"
Julian answered against Scarlett's ear, too low for Tella to hear. Whatever he said made Scarlett blush. Then he left and Scarlett's mouth flattened into a line as she and Tella enclosed themselves in Tella's room.
Inside, unmentionables were everywhere. Stockings peeked out from the drawers of a dresser topped off with bonnets, while a variety of capes, gowns, and petticoats formed a path to her bed, which was covered in a teetering pile of furs that she'd won in a card game.
Tella knew Scarlett thought she was lazy. But Tella had a theory: Neat rooms were easy to rifle through and search undetected because it was simple to put carefully placed things exactly where they'd been. But messes, on the other hand, were difficult to re- create. With one sweeping gaze, Tella could see no one had been brave enough to lay a finger on her personal disaster. Everything appeared untouched, even though there now seemed to be an additional bed, which Tella imagined must have magically appeared, or more likely had been carried upstairs for her sister.
Tella didn't know how long they'd be allowed to stay on the isle. She was relieved they weren't being kicked out right away, although if they'd been evicted, maybe Scarlett would have been more eager to travel to Valenda. But Tella didn't actually want her sister to be forced into anything; she hoped Scarlett would make the choice for herself. Though Tella could understand her sister's reluctance. Tella had died during the last game. But that had been her decision, it was for a good reason, and she wasn't planning on dying again. It had been as horrid for Tella as it had been for Scarlett. And there were still so many things Tella wanted — and needed — to do.
"Scar, I know you think I wasn't being serious out there, but I think we need to start being happy rather than serious. I'm not saying we need to participate in Caraval, but I think we should at least go to Valenda with Julian and the others. What's the point of all this glorious freedom if we don't enjoy it? Our father wins if we keep living as if we're still trapped beneath his heavy fists."
Tella must have misheard. "Did you say I'm right?"
Scarlett nodded. "I'm done with being scared all the time." She still sounded nervous, but her chin now lifted with something like determination. "I'd rather not play the game again, but I want to go with Julian to Valenda. I don't want to trap myself here like our father trapped us on Trisda."
Tella felt a surge of pride. Back on Trisda, Scarlett held on to her fear, as if it would keep her safe, but Tella could see her sister fighting to let it go. She really had changed during Caraval.
"You were right last night, when you encouraged me to give Julian another chance. I'm glad I went to the party, and I know I'll regret it if we don't go with him. But," Scarlett added, "if we go to Valenda, you have to promise you'll be careful. I can't lose you again."
"Don't worry. I swear it." Tella solemnly took her sister's hands and squeezed. "I enjoy my freedom way too much to let it go. And, while we're in the capital, I'll be sure to wear impossibly bright dresses so I'll always be impossible to lose."
Scarlett's mouth tilted toward a smile. Tella could see her sister trying to battle it, but then it transformed into a melodious laugh. Happiness made Scarlett even prettier.
Tella giggled with her until their smiles matched, as if worries were things made for other people. Yet Tella could not forget the letter in her pocket, reminding her of a debt to be paid and a mother who still needed to be saved.CHAPTER 2
It had been seven years since Tella and Scarlett's mother, Paloma, had disappeared.
There was a period of time that started about a year after her mother left, when Tella preferred the idea of Paloma being dead. If she was still alive, Tella reasoned, she'd made the choice never to return to her daughters, which meant she couldn't have really loved them. But if Paloma was dead, then maybe she'd intended to return, but had never been given the chance; if she was dead, it was possible she'd still loved Scarlett and Tella.
So for years Tella clung to the hope that her mother had met death, because no matter how hard Tella tried, she could not stop loving her mother, and it hurt too much to imagine that her mother didn't love her back.
Tella pulled out the letter she'd received from her friend. Scarlett had left to tell Julian they'd go with him to Valenda. But Tella didn't know how long she'd be gone, so she read swiftly.
Congratulations on escaping your father and surviving Caraval. I am pleased our plan worked, although I had no doubts you would survive the game.
I am sure your mother will be quite proud, and I believe you should be able to see hersoon. But first you must keep up your end of our bargain. I hope you haven't forgotten what you owe me in exchange for all that I've shared with you.
I plan on collecting my payment very soon.
The aching in Tella's head returned, and this time it had nothing to do with the drinks she'd consumed the night before. She couldn't shake the sense something was missing from the letter. She swore there'd been more to it when she'd read it at the party.
Tella held the message to the butterscotch light streaming through her window. No hidden lines of script appeared. No words shifted before her eyes. Unlike Legend, her friend didn't lace his letters with magic tricks, but she often hoped he would. Maybe then she'd be able to confirm his identity.
She'd first contacted him more than a year ago, to help her and her sister escape from their father. But Tella still had no idea who her friend was. For a while she had wondered if her correspondent was actually Legend. But her friend and Legend could not be the same person — the payment her friend referred to made Tella certain of that.
She still needed to acquire this payment. But now that she and Scarlett were going to Valenda with Legend's players, Tella felt more confident she would. She had to.
Her pulse danced faster as she hid her friend's letter and opened her smallest trunk — the one she'd not allowed the players to rifle through during Caraval. She had filled it with money pilfered from her father. But that was not the only treasure it concealed. The interior was lined with an unappealing burnt-orange and lime-green brocade that most people would never look at closely enough to notice the slit along the edge of it, which allowed her to hide the catalyst for this entire situation: The Aracle.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Legendary"
Copyright © 2018 Stephanie Garber.
Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Seven Years Ago,
Isla De Los Sueños,
The Meridian Empire's Capital City, Valenda,
Night One of Caraval,
Night Two of Caraval,
Night Three of Caraval,
What Should Have Been Night Four of Caraval,
Night Five of Caraval,
Elantine's Eve: The Last Night of Caraval,
Glossary of Fates and Terms,
Also by Stephanie Garber,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Book two of theCaraval series is just magical, intriguing, and irrestistable as the first book. The continued story of the characters and the game they must play is so refreshing and unique that it is impossible to put down. I literally devoured this book! The only thing that was upsetting was that it ended. I am hopeful that the series will continue, but definitely loathe the wait!
Beautifully written, so much detail, but never too much to make it seem wordy. Kept me on the edge of my seat and squealing with excitement.
This is a wonderful series! Both books take you away from life and suck you into the world of caraval! I couldn’t put either books down. Love!
Soo good!! Just like the first!!
Just as good and as magical as the first book! I really hope there is a book 3!
I am so in love with Legend!!! He is the bad guy that you want to love, adore, and worship. I really hope we get to learn more of Legend. Legend made this story for me. Yes Dontella is an okay character, but I couldn't help wanting to know more about Legend.
If you thought Caraval was entertaining, you are in for a treat with Legendary. It's a bittersweet feeling when you finish a book. And Legendary is the bittersweet chocolate ganache on top of the Caraval cake (did you enjoy that lame pun? I did.) All the hopes and dreams that were built up in Caraval have a different test/trial in Legendary. New hopes, wishes, and dreams are equally tentative. We were told in Caraval it's all a game. In Legendary, it's said to be real. But which is worse, thinking it's a game or knowing it's real? Legendary stole my heart and I'm left in mourning. I'm mourning my hopes and denials. You can only blindly cling to naivety for so long. When the truth comes out, you are left to mourn the loss of your innocence. Legendary leaves your innocence in tatters on the stairs of a temple seemingly forgotten. It leaves your heart bleeding on its pages. Legendary left me hoping for...everything! But don't cling to despair the way I am because eventually the next book will be here. Just grab your blanket and rock in the corner with me while we wait!
I received Legendary as an advanced reader copy. This was the second Caraval book and it was a second round of Caraval that Tella was able to play in this time. This Caraval was based on the Deck of Destiny and the mythical Fates. I found this to be absolutely fantastic. In the first book I felt confused for a lot of the book, but I felt that in this book I was more prepared with what to expect and I enjoyed it much more. I also really enjoyed the Deck of Destiny and Fates theme this time, I thought it really added to the Caraval. This is certainly a must read and I am very much excited to hear that there will be a third book Finale.
This series was one of the best I've read in a really long time. I fell in love with the characters.
This time we get Tella's point of view. I was expecting Scarlet, so it took me a minute to adjust, but I enjoyed Tella just as much. Caraval is different this time. It maybe more than a game.. or is it? There are so many things I have to say about Legend! But, I cant. They would include spoilers. So, basically, the only thing you can expect from this trilogy so far is for something unexpected to happen or be revealed. Sometimes, I knew what was coming, but there were definitely some unexpected moments. I really need the next book to be released now. I need my questions answered!
Absolutely loved this as much as the first! I waited to read it so it would be fresh in my mind for when finale releases and I am so glad I did.
Always amazing! Love her work!
The magical world of Caraval keeps getting better! I didn't want to put this book down, and yet, I made myself slow down so I could savor every delicious page! Best book I've read in 10 years!
Let me just say this was already my most anticipated book of the year. I had been dying to read it ever since Caraval, which was amazing by the way. Legendary had the same elements that I loved from Caraval. However, I was very impressed that she was able to still make it different enough to not feel redundant to the first book. Basically, this story follows a spunky girl who is just trying to do right by her family and find her mom while still watching out for her sister, but keeps getting thrown into impossible situations that are holding her up. As an added difficulty, she can never tell what is real and what is all for show. LOVE this author, and will be following her wherever her literary worlds take me.
***Review posted on The Eater of Books! blog*** Legendary by Stephanie Garber Book Two of the Caraval series Publisher: Flatiron Books Publication Date: May 29, 2018 Rating: 3 stars Source: eARC from NetGalley Summary (from Goodreads): 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. What I Liked: I'm actually a bit disappointed by this book, which is of course very surprise given how much I loved Caraval, and given how much everyone has loved Legendary. I felt so meh about this book while reading it, and when I finished it, I was left with a rather sour taste in my mouth. Definitely not what you would want to feel after reading a supposed masterpiece. But these things happen. Caraval followed Scarlett Dragna, who entered Caraval in order to save her younger sister Donnatella. Legendary follows Tella, who enters Caraval in order to save her and Scarlett's mother Paloma, who has been missing for years. Paloma is trapped in a card of the Deck of Destiny, a cursed deck of cards that contains the Fates. If the Fates are released, chaos will ensue (or something like that). If Legend gets the Deck, he could gain the powers of all of the Fates in the Deck. In order to save her mother, Tella must find the Deck of Destiny. In order to uphold her bargain with a mysterious criminal who gave her information about her mother, Tella must give the criminal Legend's true identity. Tella has neither of those things, and so she must enter Caraval and win - so that she will receive the ultimate prize from Legend. It's a tricky game that Tella is playing, and it is not without consequences - or sacrifices. In the first half of the book, I was pretty engrossed in the story. I wasn't totally sold on the whole finding-my-mother thing, but I was intrigued, and I liked Tella. I liked seeing Scarlett and Julian, though I hated the unnecessary drama (more on that below). I looooved Dante's appearances. I even loved Jacks' ridiculous, cruel self. The first half of the book was so fascinating. I liked Tella for the most part. In book one, I pretty much hated her and branded her the most selfish, unworthy sister ever. But I liked her in this book. She is bold and uninhibited, and while she seemed selfish in Caraval, she seems more selfless in this book. It's clear that she loves her sister, but is very guarded. Read the rest of my review on my blog, The Eater of Books! - eaterofbooks DOT blogspot DOT com :)
As soon as I finished Caraval, I wanted to read Legendary. And now that I've finished Legendary, I really want Finale in my hands. Stephanie Garber has a way with words and I have really fallen for this series and her writing style. This time the game of Caraval will be played in a different place, but all the rules are the same. The prize this time tho, is one that is better than all the others. This time the prize is learning the true identity of Legend. Tella becomes a participant in the games because she has to win or risk losing everything. Just like the first book, I loved the characters. Scarlett was still my favorite, but Tella definitely surprised me in this one. She was so selfless and loving, and for some reason I wasn't expecting that. I've been thinking to participate in Caraval you have to be ruthless and murderous, but Tella didn't seem that way. As for the plot, this is the reason I gave this 3.5 stars. The plot was very intricate, but even still, I was able to look past them all and figure out all the twists at the end of the book. In the last one everything was a suprise. But for this one I guess I was expecting all the craziness, so I could guess all the plot twists. But even with guessing them all, it was still shocking to see so many of them come to light. I can't imagine what's going to happen in the next book. I also found that it was a bit too slow for my taste. Everything that happened was plot driven, but you don't realize that until the end of the book. And because of that, it seemed like it was a bit slow for my taste. As for the story, I really liked the turn this story took. I love the myths and the way Garber portrayed them. It made for an amazing story. I can't wait to see how Garber puts them all together in the next installment. I won't say more to avoid spoilers, but I really liked this one. Caraval is still my favorite, but this one isn't far behind. I can't wait to see what happens to the family and what comes of the romance in Garber's final installment, Finale.
Anticipating the next book already! Legendary by Stephanie Garber shows us that Tella and Scarlett are once again playing a Caraval game. Tella thinks their mother is alive and wants information to find her, while Scarlett just wants some fun and excitement. Tella’s discovery of who her pen pal friend is floors her and she’s reeling from the revelation and its complications. Once again, the game may or may not be real, in all or parts, and the characters may or may not be trustworthy. Tella is shown an unkind memory of her mother and feels as though her mother didn’t love her at all. Her push and pull relationship with Dante is another matter she’s unsure of, but that’s just the way Caraval is. As the story concludes, it’s clear that a third book is in Caraval’s future. The enticing ending of Legendary makes me vested in this series. 4 stars! * I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary review consideration and all opinions and thoughts are my own.
I didn’t particularly like Caraval, but I was willing to give Legendary a chance. However, it had all the same stuff that I didn’t like in Caraval. I like the addition of the Fates in this book. There’s a bit more world-building and mythology and I enjoyed that. You’ll also find out who Legend is at the end of the book so if that’s the only thing making you read the series, then I recommend this one. I just don’t get along with Stephanie Garber’s prose. It is so flowery and overly descriptive and just becomes nonsense to me after a while. How can a dress look like a fantasy a garden had cried? I don’t know. Tella, the main character, is rather dumb and is almost indistinguishable from Scarlett, who isn’t in this book. So if you’re looking for a sister bond novel, this isn’t it. I also found all of the men in this book rather creepy and borderline sexual predatory. It’s rather uncomfortable. And lastly, Caraval just isn’t magical or mysterious to me. I’ve just decided that this series and I don’t get along. There’s too many things that I don’t enjoy and I felt this book was almost the same as the first one. If you liked Caraval, you'll probably like this one, but I'm finished with the series. It's just not for me.
“This was why love was so dangerous. Love turned the world into a garden, so beguiling it was easy to forget that rose petals were as ephemeral as feelings, eventually they would wilt and die, leaving nothing but the thorns.” I am not sure I can gush about this book enough. If I ever become an author, I hope I can write like Stephanie Garber. She takes the vocabulary available to us all and uses it to her full advantage. Sentences and situations that could seem simple and boring become like magic in her hands. And I also have to say, I LOVED Caraval. I gave it 5 stars, but I love Legendary so so much more. Like we have come to expect from this series, I had no idea what was going to happen with each fascinating twist, but I was eating it all up like the decadant treat that it is. I give this book 5 million stars. “‘Every good story needs a villain.’ ‘But the best villains are the ones you secretly like.’”
Going in I didn't think I would like LEGENDARY as much as CARAVAL. Tella wasn't my favorite character in the first book. I was SO wrong. I liked it even more and Tella became one of my faves. The story had so many twists and turns much like navigating around Valenda. I kept second guessing everyone and everything! I will be obsessing for the next year trying to figure out what Garber has up her sleeve for book 3. If you enjoyed reading CARAVAL, even just a little bit to be entertained and escape for a few hours/days, pick up LEGENDARY.
If Caraval was good, Legendary is even better. Some of this is due to the fact that we have experience with Caraval. We know that not everything is as it seems, and that includes the roles people have. We have fallen under the spell of the magic and myth. We know the Dragna sisters, empathize with them, and want them to find happiness after the horrors of life with their fathers. The sequel takes some unusual turns though which turns it into a very different story from the first and makes it a much stronger novel overall. While Caraval is all about Scarlett's search for her sister, Legendary follows Tella as she attempts to uncover one of the greatest mysteries of Caraval as well as the unsolved mystery of her mother's disappearance. Scarlett is nothing but a minor character this go-round, and that is a good thing. Even though she is the younger of the two and somewhat sheltered by her older sister, Tella is the stronger of the two sisters. She is more aware of reality and subsequently less prone to fantasy. She is pragmatic, self-aware, independent, and highly determined. She is also gutsy, willing to solve problems and take risks to achieve her goals. You can't help but admire her for all of this. The game this time around is also more interesting in my mind. No longer limited to a house but to an entire city, the possible clues are more difficult to find. At the same time, the stakes are higher given the bargain Tella makes and the repercussions should she fail. The game is no longer about one of the sisters either, for the truth behind the games will change the world should certain things come to pass. Everything is just a bit bigger about Legendary, which makes it a fitting title for the sequel. Legendary is the type of novel where I lost complete lack of time and reality while reading. I became so immersed into Tella's story and the world of Caraval that I literally neglected everything to read it. I fell in love alongside Tella, felt her pain and frustration, and celebrated her wins. I went into mourning when I finished it because I knew it would be months before I get to experience Tella's world again. I want to go back and read the first novel again. I never want to leave this world of magic and legends. This feeling is why I read. Now, if only every book I read makes me feel this way.
I wasn’t sure what to expect after Caraval - usually, sequels can be so disappointing - but what a fantastically fun read this was, again! Besides Stephanie Garber’s consistent and wonderful playfulness with words, I loved the male love interest(s) and the tension in the relationships. Legendary is a book you won’t be able to put down, and I can’t wait ‘till 2019 when the final book in the trilogy comes out. Along with Caraval, the first book, this is a perfect summer read! (Additional note: check out the authors Legendary Pinterest page…wow!)
Stephanie Garber did it again with an amazing book that that pulls into the world of Caraval.