Publication: May 9th 2019 by Hodder & Stoughton Pages: 400 Purchase: Amazon | Waterstones | Book Depository Welcome, welcome to Caraval...all games must come to an end. It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne. Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all. Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win...and those who will lose everything.
Most of my life, I’ve romanticized death. I used to love the idea of something being so tremendous that it was worth dying for. But I was wrong. I think the most magnificent things are worth living for.
I fell in love with Stephanie Garber’s Caraval trilogy from the second I picked up the first book. I was instantly captivated by the magical world she had created — and this feeling only grew stronger when I read the second book in the series, Legendary. So, as you can imagine, I had really high hopes when I dove into the last book in the trilogy — the aptly titled Finale.
I want to start this review on a positive note: I absolutely adore the characters in this series, and having the opportunity to read more of their stories was wonderful. Donatella is one of my favourite young adult characters of all time. She’s brave and fierce and a little reckless, and not afraid to love with her entire heart. I was really happy that Stephanie chose to write this book from a dual perspective, so I was able to spend more time with Tella. I also liked Scarlett a lot more in this novel than I have done throughout the rest of the series. I felt like she grew a lot in Finale, and I loved seeing her taking more risks and, in the end, have them pay off for her. As well as this, I loved the bond between the two sisters, as well as the bonds they shared with other characters in the story.
Another positive is Stephanie Garber’s writing. She has a way of phrasing things that makes everything feel magical. Her writing is really beautiful, but still flows really well and doesn’t lose the reader at any point. This, like the previous two novels, was a joy to read in that sense.
However, I have to be honest — in the end, I was disappointed by Finale. Although both previous novels where quite focused on romance (and I love reading about romance), this one was a little too focused on it. It didn’t feel like much happened outside of the relationships in this novel — and, anything that did happen never felt fleshed out or exciting enough. The rest of this series was full of heart-pounding twists and turns, but it just wasn’t there in Finale, and I felt really let down by that.
I think, without the games, Garber got a little bit lost and, as a result, the plot felt really thin. Garber also made the mistake of revealing her main villain in the final book, which left things feeling quite rushed and, ultimately, anti-climatic.
Although I enjoyed some aspects of Finale, in the end, it just didn’t work for me. With a title like that, I expected something fantastic, but I was left wanting a lot more when I turned the last page. I’m pretty sad that such a beautiful series came to such a disappointing end, but at least I’ll always be able to read Legendary over and over to remember how good it was at its peak.
He smelled of magic and heartbreak, and something about the combination made her think that despite what he claimed, he wanted to be her hero.