Scarlett and Donatella Dragma escape their cruel and controlling father to enter the magical world of Caraval, a magical game and competition run by the mysterious Legend. Each sister must risk their lives and test their daring and their love as they compete, to save each other’s lives and more as the alluring world sweeps them into it’s depths and stories. In a world where they can’t know what is true each sister has secrets and plans that in turn will affect the whole world around them.
Trying to summarise two books is difficult!! I thought I had already reviewed Caraval, but it seems not so I’m doing two in one. First thought – these are great! They are the books most like one of my favourites ever The Night Circus that I have read. They draw you in quickly and deeply, the world they create is exciting in it’s twists and turns and evocative and sensual in it’s magic and setting. I’ve really enjoyed them – but I do think they’re a bit over done, a little over sensual and over descriptive. A little over flavoured – like a black forest gateaux.
In a world almost completely covered in water, North and her bear have lived with the floating circus for as long as they remember. But they have secrets that mean they must move on, but where could they possibly go where they would be accepted? Meanwhile Callanish is exiled to a small island where she cares for the dead, but longs for more.
So I’d definitely got my hopes up. This book had been compared to one of my all time favourites The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. And the cover was pretty wonderful, and the concepts as explained by the blurbs seemed pretty excellent: circuses, bears, floating on an ocean world. And all of the elements were there but… for me, it just didn’t come together right. It felt like the set up of something amazing that never quite went anywhere.
These days I get to read a whole load of new books, which usually keeps me distracted – but these three books keep popping up on twitter, in bookshops and all over the place, and I really want to read them!
The Church of Marvels, a circus of fantastical tricks and flourishes, burns to the ground, with owner and mother of Odile and Belle inside. Belle disappears, and Odille sets off from Coney Island to New York to find her – and many secrets. Meanwhile, ostracised, hairy night soiler Sylvan finds a baby, and Alphie finds herself forcibly and wrongfully put into a mental asylum. Secrets and discoveries abound as the stories weave together and the past pulls together to form a new present.
I was very excited to read this book, and even more so because I also got to interview the author! How fun! It was gripping and interesting, bringing alive characters and settings that I had never even heard of before, all bizarre and extreme in their experiences and stories. I had been hoping for something as good as The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, and it wasn’t that good – I wasn’t totally pulled in, and would have liked to have seen some more of the circus – but it was a magnificent nevertheless.
I’m so excited to get into these! Christmas, a birthday and various loans have meant I’ve got a larger pile than normal, and it’s very exciting!
Whether you’re fleeing the memory of last night’s match or just trying to drown out the sound of any football at all here are five fantastic immersive books to take your mind off things.
These are repeatedly-read books that have managed to transport me to new worlds and fix their place within my favourites. In no particular order.