Unlike many sequels which take place in a similar event as the first novel (e.g. Hunger Games and Catching Fire), Garber’s follow up of Caraval does not simply repeat the plot devices or themes of the first book. While the events occur over another of Legend’s games, it does not share much more with the previous game than an air of mystery and, oddly enough, another individual supplying the protagonist with her clothing every day.
Again, I enjoyed the prose. Many have complained about the nonsensical nature of some descriptions in these novels, but I feel they carry the magic and splendour of Caraval from the pages into the reader’s imagination. As soon as I started Garber’s sequel, I was swept away by the familiar tone.
This game takes place in a new city, which acts as a passive background to the action. The world-building has left room for interpretation. The main landmarks are clear, but you and I could still produce drastically different scenery around which our characters carry out their stories. While this may just be due to weak world-building, it has the effect of making the reader feel as if they are watching a play unfold before them. The entire novel feels as if it is setting up another act for an audience that will require more from the heroes and villains we have come to know a bit better.
The characters shine in this book more so than they did in the predecessor. There are no white and black lines between hero and villain. While the narrator may suggest someone is cruel, evil, or manipulative, the reader has their doubts. This conflict between the narrator and reader reiterates the unreliable nature of the storyteller. A reminder that in the game of Caraval you cannot trust anything, not even the story.
I felt the excitement, hope, heartbreak, and betrayal suffered by characters throughout the story as real as if it were my own. As I finished this sequel, I was confident only that Garber is not done with us any more than we feel done with Scarlett, Julian, Dante, Tella, and Legend.
I would like to thank Net Galley, Flatiron Books, and Stephanie Garber for providing me with an eARC of Legendary so that I could offer an honest review.
Keep reading, lovelies.
A Bookish Girl