Overall Rating: 5 Stars
Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #2
Format: Hardcover purchased from Amazon
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.
I. Am. Reeling.
Holy book hangover, batman!
Stephanie Garber, I bow to you and your gorgeous descriptions.
The way she brings emotions and settings to life in the most delicate and magical ways is absolutely perfect for this world.
In Caraval, she used colors as emotions, in Legendary, she used visuals.
“The people on the streets were thicker than maggots on death.”
“A bastion of stones as white as goddess robes and innocent sacrifices.”
“They tasted like frost and wishes gone wrong.”
“He tasted like exquisite nightmares and stolen dreams, like the wings of fallen angels and bottles of fresh moonlight.”
I knew going into this book, I knew that I was going to get swept away and fall for Legend.
“Gold shimmered no matter what, but few people could make darkness glitter the way he did.”
And I did.
“The best villains are the ones you secretly like.”
What I didn’t know and couldn’t anticipate was falling desperately in love with Tella.
I didn’t just love her more than anyone else in this book, I love her more than any other character I’ve ever met in any book I’ve ever read. Ever.
Answering why this is is something I’ve been struggling with. Maybe it’s because I 100% agree with every choice she made, good or bad.
“In her experience, the safe choice often felt like not making a choice at all, like politely stepping back and allowing others with more power to do what they saw fit.”
Maybe it’s because her comebacks are on point, but believable.
“I take it you’re afraid of me now,” he drawled.
“You’re mistaking fear with disgust. You’re a loathsome monster.”
Maybe it’s because she’s strong and fierce without being cartoonish and over-the-top about it.
“Tella didn’t wash along the muddy shore, she raged her way out of the water in a tangle of wet curls and skirts and bruises, chest heaving, blue skin shiver, but was still standing and breathing and living.”
Maybe it’s because her strength doesn’t come from a necessarily supernatural ability, in willpower. She is mentally tough.
“She loved the feeling of doing something bold enough to make her future hold its breath while she closed her eyes and reveled in the sensation that she’d made a choice with the power to alter the course of her life. It was the closes she ever came to holding real power.”
She knows who she is and what she wants and accepts what she doesn’t know and doesn’t want.
“Tella wasn’t the sort of girl people saved – she was the one they left behind. But she was also the sort they underestimated.”
But she isn’t perfect. And she’s vulnerable without being crippled by it. She loves fiercely and fights hard, even when she’s losing at both.
“Oh, how Tella wished she was his weakness. She’d have loved to destroy him.”
I want to be her, I want to be her best friend, and I want to be loved by her.
“Tella would destroy the world before she allowed anything to happen to her sister.”
She is absolutely worthy of the love that she receives from these spectacular men and her sister.
She is worthy of being the subject of jealousy from extremely powerful beings.
So, it wasn’t just the spellbinding story that swept me away… it was the characters, namely the main character.
Even if you aren’t a fan of the series, even if this isn’t your genre, read this book for Tella.
Butterfly Rating: 5 Stars
Is there anything better than when a love interest shows up unexpectedly multiple times throughout a novel?
Re-read Worthiness: Hell Yes!
And very soon!
Bookshelf Placement: YES!
It’s got top shelf placement!
Book Boyfriend Rating: 5 stars
Click for Spoiler
Despite their downfalls, both Jacks and Dante were the best kind of Fantasy boyfriends… a little dangerous, a lot mysterious, and full of great banter.