Publication: May 29th 2018 by Flatiron Books Pages: 451 Purchase: Amazon | Waterstones | Book Depository 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.
There were many beautiful young men in the world, but Tella believed that none of them could be trusted with something as fragile, or valuable, as a heart.
When I first picked up Stephanie Garber’s Caraval, I was completely entranced by the magical world that she had created. With a fast-paced narrative that had me turning page after page, I found myself hoping that the story would never end. Thankfully, I discovered that there was a sequel, and so I would have another chance to be transported into Stephanie Garber’s utterly enthralling world.
This second book in the series, Legendary, tells the story of Donatella Dragna risking everything by taking part in Caraval for a second time — all for the purpose of saving the mother who abandoned both she and her sister, Scarlett, when they were children. Little does she know, this game might just be more dangerous than the last — and not only will she be risking her life, but also her heart.
No spoilers but, due to events in Caraval, I really wasn’t sure how I felt about Donatella. If anything, my feelings probably leaned more towards negative than positive. And now? I can’t believe how wrong I was!
Donatella Dragna is probably one of my all-time favourite heroines. She is so fearlessly and unashamedly herself, and it was such a delight to read a story from her point of view because of this. She is not afraid to kiss as many boys as she wants to kiss, and wear scandalous dresses, and to speak her mind — regardless of who she is speaking to. I love that more and more YA authors are writing strong, fearless and real female characters, who really take control over their own narratives — and Stephanie Garber really has gone above and beyond this with Tella. I absolutely adored her.
Aside from Tella, the thing I loved most about Legendary was the writing. Stephanie Garber describes her world, her characters — and even her character’s thoughts — in the most beautiful way. Her writing is almost poetic, and it really enhances the mysterious and dreamlike quality of the world she has created. I also have to give credit to the way in which she has plotted the story. I can’t even say how many times I genuinely questioned myself whilst reading this novel, as I ended up as immersed in the game as her heroine — and I, too, found it difficult to distinguish between reality and fantasy, between the characters and the roles they were playing. I swear, at one point, I even wondered if I was Legend.
I also really liked how Garber expanded upon her world in this book. I learned a lot about the history and the mythology of the world outside of Caraval and, although interesting in itself, I especially loved how it intertwined with the game and made the events of Legendary that little bit more dramatic.
The only sore point for me was that the ending was a little more predictable than I would have liked — especially considering how intricate the plot was. It was a small issue in comparison to how entirely wonderful Legendary was, though, and I would still recommend that you give this series a try — although I’ll definitely be a little jealous of those of you who have the pleasure of reading it for the first time. Hopefully you’ll find it as captivating and magical as I did.
Tella might have been many things, but she was far from silly or worthless or whatever labels people liked to affix because a person was young and female. Tella liked to think that was where much of her strength came from. She was bold. She was brave. She was cunning. And she was going to come out of this triumphant – no matter the cost.