Stephanie Garber: Legendary

LegendaryAfter being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more – and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets . . . including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything – maybe even her life.

But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

As they once again dive into the thrill of Caraval, Scarlett and Donatella switch positions as Tella herself attempts to win the game this time around. However, it is not Scarlett’s life that she wishes to save but that of her Mother who, thanks to her mysterious friend that she has been writing, may not be as out of reach as she thought. Upon setting foot in Valenda, Tella is immediately faced with mischief, passion, mystery, and uncertainty as she falls for the game as easily as her sister once did, questioning the reality of everything around her as well as what she feels. Caraval is just as magical and thrilling as the first time around, but is it really just a game?

I hadn’t really paid too much attention to the release of Legendary. It had managed to fall under my radar where I had taken a break from blogging and my TBR pile was starting to stack up. However, when Mary from Ramblings of a Writer pulled this out of her bag for me to read, I was immediately intrigued once again. Caraval was a novel to be watched and was eagerly anticipated by everyone last year. There were high expectations for Legendary, and boy did it not disappoint!

It’s a testament to how good Garber’s writing is, and the intensity with which I was instantly drawn back into the world having completed the book in less than 24 hours. I was hooked from the get go, eager to find out who this mysterious friend was and to find out the truth about the girls’ Mother. Not only that, but I was looking forward to the headache that was trying to sift through what was or wasn’t a game as Tella dove back into Caraval. Legendary was, as the name suggests, quite legendary in and of itself – bringing back on the magic and wonder of the game and so much more. We are introduced to new and exciting characters that put a spanner in the works, giving more information about the world they live in and the motives behind Legend and the games that he hosts. We also find out more about what drives the girls’ to choose the paths that they are walking, whether that be intentional or not.

I felt there was definitely a lot more mystery this time around, as we begin to find out who her friend is; who Legend really is; and the motives behind their Mother leaving them all those years ago. However, it is a mystery easily solved with the writing clearly leading you in the right direction and your hunches almost always coming out correct. That being said, it did not hinder or deter from the fun and enjoyment of the novel but made things all the more exciting as you realise how everything is or isn’t connected.

In Caraval, I spoke about how Scarlett really developed as a character as the games progressed, having to realise how to play the game and finding out so much about herself she never previously knew. This time around, Tella learns about herself and begins to see why she does things the way she does having believed that her future has been set for her by the powers that be with barely any chance of alteration. But, as the game is played, decisions are made, and new people come and go, Tella begins to realise that, though her fate may be set in stone, it is her interpretation of it that has put her on this course in life as she faces obstacles, physical and emotional, that test who she is as a person.

The ending of the novel is one that you will both love and hate, as you brace yourself for another book in the series. I found myself slightly at a loss as I read the last words and cursed Garber for not tying up a few loose ends and leaving myself speculating. In this regard, Legendary far exceeds the first novel bringing the series along in leaps and bounds that solidifies this series as being one to read.

Caraval Review

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