Adventures, full of mystery and romance… Isn’t that the ur-story, the platonic ideal of a tale well-told? Maybe it’s just me.
That’s what Caraval wants to be, but it falls short. It’s a fine YA book full of adventure and mystery and romance, along with victims of abuse who learn that they don’t have to be victims. Why did it fall short? There were bits that weren’t clear, plot-wise. There were bits that wanted to be grand that just came off as showy. There were bits that just weren’t explained (but this is apparently the first of a trilogy, so perhaps that was intentional).
It definitely was entertaining on a hot summer day, and for that, it fit the bill perfectly. So it is recommended, but don’t expect great amazing things from it.