I am intensely sceptical of second-book-in-trilogies, but I loved the cover and the idea in the first Caraval book that I wanted the second book, Legendary, looking delightful on my shelf. I confess, I read Caraval as my reward for finishing my exams – literally the afternoon my exams finished (I had to wait another three days for everyone else to finish so the celebrations could begin) and I collapsed onto my bed and read Caraval in a matter of two hours. It was fanciful and intensely visual and just what I needed. It ended with the lead’s sister, Tella, receiving a note from a mysterious friend, claiming payment for all he had done to get Scarlett and Tella away from their abusive father.
Now, Tella and Scarlett are pretty much part of Legend’s crew, and the crew is on the move. For the first time in history, there are two back to back Caraval’s, but now they are moving to the city’s capital, where the mysterious Fates want to come out to play. In the first game you are reminded that Caraval is just a game, but this game might just be very real.
The thing about Caraval is that it’s a huge living gameboard, the lines between what is real and what is not blur and merge and it becomes second nature for the players to doubt everything they know. Well, it’s second nature for impulsive Tella anyway, she is apparently playing a very different game to the rest of Caraval’s players. With her heartbeat getting slower every passing night, Tella needs to win the game or forfeit her life. This has started sounding like a second blurb, my apologies. What I was trying to say is that the stakes are much higher in this second round of Caraval, especially because Tella is convinced it’s just another game for so long.
I much prefer Tella to her older sister Scarlett – Tella is impetuous, incredibly strong willed and exceedingly wilful, but she is a little more interesting than Scarlett. Scarlett herself has grown a lot since the end of the last game, but she’s still cautious whereas Tella has a tendency to jump headfirst into a situation and then wade her way through the consequences. She is a far more interesting main character. Scarlet and Julian are still there in the background, Tella has an disgustingly handsome, morally dubious man from the Caraval that she is antagonising (and predictably falling in love with) and the people in the game are now people the sisters know.
I was fairly ambivalent towards the relationship angle in this book – it was clearly marked, became clearly obvious, and was also clearly bad for all parties involved. But that is my personal opinion, I was just incredibly ambivalent towards the entire romance plot, it was predictable and there was nothing unexpected about it.
So, higher stakes, more interesting MC and a deeper look into the magical mysteries that make up the world, including the mysterious Fates, trapped by a witch when their power got too strong. Except now the Fates are slipping out of their trap in a deck of cards and its all a bit weird and wonderful and one heck of a lot more interesting than in Caraval. So in summary, I thought Legendary was actually better than the first book in the series, and I already have theories about how book 3 is going to pan out.
In other news – I really love the hardback covers of this series! They’re gorgeous and I wish I had lots of shiny stars I could have scattered around. As it is, I had to settle for shiny little butterfly things I bought when I went through a scrapbooking phase before I realised they were not suitable for scrapbooking. That’s the shiny magical part of Caraval covered in my book photo now thought.
Have you read the Caraval series thus far?