It’s not often that I actually pay money to read a Dutch book. In fact, the last time I remember buying a Dutch book, it was for a signing. Before that? I don’t even know… Anyway, everyone was excited about Caraval by Stephanie Garber, I was considering reading it in Dutch. I went to my favourite bookshop and I just couldn’t leave without it! And so I bought Het zwarte hart. It’s absolutely wonderful! To all those international bookworms who can’t read it yet: It”s worth the wait! Here’s what I think of Caraval.
“It took seven years to get the letter right.
Year 50, Elantine Dynasty.
Dear Mister Caraval Master,
My name Scarlett, but I’m writing for my sister, Donatella. It’s going to be her birthday soon and she would very much like to see you and your amazing Caraval players. Her birthday is the 37th day of the Growing Season and it would be the most wonderfulest birthday ever if you came.
Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda.“
Caraval is a once-a-year performance in which the audience participates in the show. Scarlett and her sister Donatella have dreamed of participating in the legendary game for years. When Scarlett’s ruthless father arranges a marriage, she believes her chances at seeing Caraval are over. But then Scarlett finally gets her invitation. Scarlett’s sister Tella whisks her away with the help of the mysterious sailor Julian. As soon as they arrive at the show, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s organiser Legend and the tables turn when Scarlett figures out this year’s Caraval is all about Donatella…
Holy moly, where do I even begin!? Caraval is absolutely wonderful. It’s magical and mysterious, and it’s quite a bit darker than I expected! (How, I hear you ask? I mean, translate the Dutch title and you get “The Black Heart”, hehe!) I can’t really explain what Caraval actually is. Is it a circus? Is it a show? Or a game?! I don’t even know! It’s super mysterious. I think I’ll go with a mix of everything I just mentioned. It has the mystery of a circus and the vibe of a game.
Stephanie Garber is a fantastic writer. Caraval is full of surprises and plot twists. The characters are so unreliable! I mean, at one point I seriously thought Scarlett was crazy and I was so in shock! Then it turned out differently, and I was pretty shocked again! Julian is also a very interesting dude… I can’t tell you the details as I’d spoil, but man, watch out for that guy! Basically, I just didn’t know what to think anymore. When that happens to me, you know it’s an amazing book.
I read a translation, so I can’t say much about the writing/use of words, but the translation was so magical, I can’t even imagine how magical the original book is! The writing, setting and plot really made this a truly wonderful. I cannot think of a single bad thing to say! It did get a little bit confusing sometimes, but that was probably from exhaustion. I read a huge chunk of the book during the Best of YA Sleepover, which was a busy, exhaustion but great weekend. It didn’t really bother me as I’ll be rereading this in English this year, but I thought it was worth mentioning.
My review of Caraval including spoilers and my favourite part of the book can be found on Goodreads.
Caraval is absolutely fantastic. I cannot wait to reread it in English and for the next book in the series to come out! But this on your 2017 TBR, it’s absolutely amazing!
Caraval is the debut of the wonderful Stephanie Garber. The Dutch edition released in October this year, although the English edition won’t come out until the end of January 2017. It’s the first book in an untitled series. You can find Stephanie on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.
Are you excited about Caraval coming out next month? Are you going to read it?