I can’t believe we’re well into March already. Summer is fading, there’s a few yellowing leaves about and I can finally manage to sit near the window in my house during the day without feeling like I’m being boiled. We are coming into my favourite time of year when it’s cooler at night, the days are still warm and all those cosier, heavier joys that summer makes you forget are suddenly found in the cupboard.
Last month’s read was Caraval by Stephanie Garber. It’s been on my shelf for a while, partly because I have a huge tbr shelf, but partly because I was afraid after reading some great reviews, and loving the back cover blurb that it would let me down.
In terms of readability, I tore through this in just over a week. Scarlett Dragna her sister Tella are immediately real, shown as loving sisters in a less than perfect family situation. After a couple of unfortunate events, Scarlett travels to Isla de los Suenos to play a game called Caraval, with the ultimate winner receiving a single prize – a wish.
It’s difficult to give too much detail without spoilers, however Scarlett is quickly ensconced in the game along with Julian, who merely escorted her there, but is drawn in due to reasons of his own. The gorgeous streets, shops and people inhabiting Caraval are never who they seem o be and the most innocuous things can be clues, leading Scarlett further in and further down into a world where even the darkest depths may be a part of the game.
It was an easy read. It wasn’t difficult to enjoy Scarlett’s journey through Caraval, and wonder over both the scenery and the puzzles that presented themselves. Yet in the end there was a curious detachment. Scarlett seemed carried along for the most part, trying to save her sister, yet not really showing a closeness one would have expected in that scenario. In that, it felt false, and maybe that carried through from the game, that nothing and nobody was who they said they were, so Scarlett probably wasn’t either.
To that end, it’d be a 4/5 from me. Not quite perfect, but good enough to make me go out and get the sequel already.
The book for March is already well underway. A dramatic change of pace, Halcyon details a family dealing with a devastating tragedy trying to find some peace in a quiet, self sustaining society, cut off from the rest of the world, following their own rules. Paradise, however is not always what it seems from the outside, and Halcyon is no different.
Happy reading, and let me know if there’s any suggestions for April.