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Updated: May 26, 2021

Author: Stephanie Garber

Publisher: Flatiron Books

Synopsis: 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: I adored Caraval, but Legendary fell flat. The plot felt forced, and the characters failed to keep me engaged. I wanted to like Tella, unfortunately her naivete drove me crazy. Yes, she’s a young teen, yes, she’s lovesick over Dante, but I prefer strong female leads who don’t fall at men’s feet.

Scarlet’s POV in Caraval was much more enjoyable than her sister’s in Legendary. Speaking of Scarlett, her minor role in this book made me forget about her altogether. The author’s over the top descriptions pulled me out of the story. I love vivid details, but the purple prose did nothing to enhance the scenes. Most of the time, I giggled at the silly similes and metaphors.

Now, I will say this, my reading taste has matured over the years. This is probably why I didn’t enjoy this book. It’s catered to younger audiences.

On a positive note, Garber has created a magical world of deception. The characters are colorful and mysterious. The plot twist, though predictable, are fun and the cliffhanger leaves you curious about the next installment.

Plot: 3/5

Pacing: 4/5

Escapism Factor: 3/5

Emotional Connection: 3/5

Character Development: 3/5

Warnings/Triggers: N/A

Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️

Completed Read: 1/31/2021

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