by Garber, Stephanie

A sequel to the best-selling Caraval finds Scarlett's younger sister, Tella, making a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal before throwing herself into the dangerous legendary competition of Caraval to uncover the true identity of Caraval Master Legend. Simultaneous eBook.

Stephanie Garber is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of Caraval. She lives in Northern California.

Garber's sequel won't stand alone, but that's no problem for those who started the story of sisters Scarlet and Tella in Caraval (2017). Caraval is a magical performance that occurs annually, centered around audience participation. Tella, having saved her sister, Scarlet, from a disastrous marriage to Count Nicolas D'Arcy, arranged by their treacherous, cruel father, now has to discover Caraval Master Legend's true name. Rife with fairy-tale elements, this action-packed and moderately steamy romance features feisty heroines, gorgeous costumes, ridiculously handsome and flirty young men, an intricate card game, secret identities, and sisterly allegiance. Though the prose is sometimes overwrought ("They kissed as if the world were ending, lips crashing together as if the heavens were breaking"), it fits the breathless pace and Harlequin formula, providing romance fans a satisfying romp. With its glossary of "Fates and Terms" and a cliff-hanger ending, fans will anticipate the next title. Grades 9-12. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Garber returns to the world of bestseller Caraval (2017), this time with the focus on younger, more daring sister Donatella. Valenda, capital of the empire, is host to the second of Legend's magical games in a single year, and while Scarlett doesn't want to play again, blonde Tella is eager for a chance to prove herself. She is haunted by the memory of her death in the last game and by the cursed Deck of Destiny she used as a child which foretold her loveless future. Garber has changed many of the rules of her expanding world, which now appears to be infused with magic and evil Fates. Despite a weak plot and ultraviolet prose ("He tasted like exquisite nightmares and stolen dreams, like the wings of fallen angels, and bottles of fresh moonlight."), this is a tour de force of imagination. Themes of love, betrayal, and the price of magic (and desire) swirl like Caraval's enchantments, and Dante's sensuous kisses will thrill readers as much as they do Tella. The convoluted machi nations of the Prince of Hearts (one of the Fates), Legend, and even the empress serve as the impetus for Tella's story and set up future volumes which promise to go bigger. With descriptions focusing primarily on clothing, characters' ethnicities are often indeterminate. Dark, seductive, but over-the-top: Characters and book alike will enthrall those who choose to play. (glossary) (Fantasy. 12-16) Copyright Kirkus 2018 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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