Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world...
Scarlett has never left the tiny island where she and her beloved sister, Tella, live with their powerful, and cruel, father. Now Scarlett’s father has arranged a marriage for her, and Scarlett thinks her dreams of seeing Caraval, the far-away, once-a-year performance where the audience participates in the show, are over.
But this year, Scarlett’s long-dreamt of invitation finally arrives. With the help of a mysterious sailor, Tella whisks Scarlett away to the show. Only, as soon as they arrive, Tella is kidnapped by Caraval’s mastermind organizer, Legend. It turns out that this season’s Caraval revolves around Tella, and whoever finds her first is the winner.
Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But she nevertheless becomes enmeshed in a game of love, heartbreak, and magic with the other players in the game. And whether Caraval is real or not, she must find Tella before the five nights of the game are over, a dangerous domino effect of consequences is set off, and her sister disappears forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval . . . beware of getting swept too far away.
Praise for Stephanie Garber’s breakout debut novel:
New York Times bestseller
#1 IndieNext Pick
Publishers Weekly Flying Start
Entertainment Weekly Best 10 YA Books of 2017
Amazon Best Book of the Year
Barnes & Noble Best Book of the Year
BuzzFeed Best Book of the Year
“The Hunger Games meets The Night Circus. Grade: A-.” Entertainment Weekly
“Impressive, original, wondrous.” USA Today
“Spellbinding.” US Weekly
“Magnificent.” Publishers Weekly, starred review
“I lost myself in this world.” Sabaa Tahir, author of An Ember in the Ashes
“Beautifully written.” Renée Ahdieh, author of The Wrath and the Dawn
“Shimmers with magic.” Marie Rutkoski, author of The Winner’s Curse
“Darkly enchanting.” Kiersten White, author of And I Darken
“Decadent.” Roshani Chokshi, author of The Star-Touched Queen
“Like stepping into a living dream.” Stacey Lee, author of Outrun the Moon
“Destined to capture imaginations.” Kirkus Reviews
“Ideal for fans of The Night Circus, Stardust, and The Hunger Games.” School Library Journal
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
By Stephanie Garber
Flatiron BooksCopyright © 2017 Stephanie Garber
All rights reserved.
It took seven years to get the letter right.
Year 50, Elantine Dynasty
Dear Mister Caraval Master,
My name is Scarlett, but I'm writing this letter 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.
Most hopefully, Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda
Year 51, Elantine Dynasty
Dear Mister Caraval Master,
It's Scarlett again. Did you get my last letter? This year my sister says she's too old to celebrate birthdays, but I think she's just upset you never came to Trisda. This Growing Season she'll be ten and I'll be eleven. She won't admit it but she'd still very much like to see you and your wondrous Caraval players.
Most hopefully, Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda
Year 52, Elantine Dynasty
Dear Caraval Master Legend,
I'm sorry I got your name wrong in those other letters. I hope that's not why you haven't come to Trisda. My little sister's birthday wasn't the only reason I've wanted you to bring your amazing Caraval players here, I'd love to see them too.
Sorry this letter is short, my father will be angry if he catches me writing to you.
Most hopefully, Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda
Year 52, Elantine Dynasty
Dear Caraval Master Legend,
I just heard the news and I wanted to send my condolences. Even though you still haven't come to Trisda or responded to any of my letters, I know you're not a murderer. I was very sorry to hear you won't be traveling for a while.
Most kindly, Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda
Year 55, Elantine Dynasty
Dear Master Legend,
Do you remember me, Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda? I know it's been a few years since I wrote. I heard you and your players have started performing again. My sister told me you never visit the same place twice, but a lot has changed since you visited here fifty years ago, and I truly don't believe anyone would like to see one of your performances more than I would.
Most hopefully, Scarlett
Year 56, Elantine Dynasty
Dear Master Legend,
I heard you visited the capital of the Southern Empire last year and changed the color of the sky. Is that true? I actually tried attending with my sister, but we're not supposed to leave Trisda. Sometimes I believe I'll never go farther than the Conquered Isles. I suppose that's why I've wanted you and your players to come here so badly. It's probably futile to ask again, but I do hope you'll consider coming.
Most hopefully, Scarlett, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda
Year 57, Elantine Dynasty
Dear Master Legend,
This will be my final letter. I'm going to be married soon. So it's probably best you and your players don't come to Trisda this year.
Year 57, Elantine Dynasty
Dear Scarlett Dragna, from the Conquered Isle of Trisda —
Congratulations on your upcoming nuptials. I am sorry I cannot bring my players to Trisda. We're not traveling this year. Our next performance is by invitation only, but I would look forward to meeting you and your fiancé if you could find a way to leave your isle and join us.
Please accept the enclosed as a gift.
From the pen of Caraval Master LegendCHAPTER 2
Scarlett's feelings came in colors even brighter than usual. The urgent red of burning coals. The eager green of new grass buds. The frenzied yellow of a flapping bird's feathers.
He'd finally written back.
She read the letter again. Then again. And again. Her eyes took in each sharp stroke of ink, every waxy curve of the Caraval master's silver crest — a sun with a star inside and a teardrop inside of the star. The same seal was watermarked onto the enclosed slips of paper.
This was no prank.
"Donatella!" Scarlett plunged down the steps into the barrel room in search of her younger sister. The familiar scents of molasses and oak snaked up her nose, but her scoundrel of a sibling was nowhere to be found.
"Tella — where are you?" Oil lamps cast an amber glow over bottles of rum and several freshly filled wooden barrels. Scarlett heard a moan as she moved past, and she caught bits of heavy breathing as well. After her latest battle with their father, Tella had probably drunk too much, and now dozed somewhere on the floor. "Dona —"
She choked on the last half of her sister's name.
Tella flashed Scarlett a sloppy grin, all white teeth and swollen lips. Her honey-blond curls were a mess as well, and her shawl had fallen to the floor. But it was the sight of the young sailor, with his hands wrapped around Tella's waist, that made Scarlett stutter, "Did I interrupt something?"
"Nothing we can't start up again." The sailor spoke with a lilting Southern Empire accent, far smoother-sounding than the sharp Meridian Empire tongues Scarlett was accustomed to.
Tella giggled, but at least she had the grace to blush a little. "Scar, you know Julian, right?"
"Lovely seeing you, Scarlett." Julian smiled, as cool and seductive as a slice of shade in the Hot Season.
Scarlett knew the polite response would be something along the lines of "Good to see you, too." But all she could think about were his hands, still coiled around Tella's periwinkle skirts, playing with the tassels on her bustle, as if she were a parcel he couldn't wait to unwrap.
Julian had only been on the isle of Trisda about a month. When he'd swaggered off his ship, tall and handsome, with golden-brown skin, he'd drawn almost every woman's eye. Even Scarlett's head had turned briefly, but she'd known better than to look any longer.
"Tella, mind if I pull you away for a moment?" Scarlett managed to nod politely at Julian, but the instant they'd woven through enough barrels to be out of his hearing she said, "What are you doing?"
"Scar, you're getting married; I would think you'd be aware of what occurs between a man and a woman." Tella nudged her sister's shoulder playfully.
"That's not what I'm talking about. You know what will happen if Father catches you."
"Which is why I don't plan on getting caught."
"Please be serious," Scarlett said.
"I am being serious. If Father catches us, I'll just find a way to blame it on you." Tella gave a tart smile. "But I don't think you came down here to talk about that." Her eyes dropped to the letter in Scarlett's hands.
The hazy glow of a lantern caught the metallic edges of the paper, making them blaze a shimmery gold, the color of magic and wishes and promises of things to come. The address on the envelope lit up with equal luster.
Miss Scarlett Dragna Care of the priests' confessional Trisda Conquered Isles of the Meridian Empire
Tella's eyes sharpened as she took in the radiant script. Scarlett's sister had always liked beautiful things, like the young man still waiting for her behind the barrels. Often, if Scarlett lost one of her prettier possessions, she could find it tucked away in her younger sister's room.
But Tella didn't reach out to take this note. Her hands remained at her sides, as if she wanted nothing to do with it. "Is this another letter from the count?" She spat out the title as if he were the devil.
Scarlett considered defending her fiancé, but her sister had already clearly expressed her thoughts on Scarlett's engagement. It made no difference that arranged marriages were very much in fashion throughout the rest of the Meridian Empire, or that for months the count had faithfully sent Scarlett the kindest letters; Tella refused to understand how Scarlett could marry someone she'd never met in person. But wedding a man she'd never seen frightened Scarlett far less than the thought of staying on Trisda.
"Well," Tella pressed, "are you going to tell me what it is, then?"
"It's not from the count." Scarlett spoke quietly, not wanting Tella's sailor friend to overhear. "It's from the master of Caraval."
"He wrote you back?" Tella snatched the note. "God's teeth!"
"Shhh!" Scarlett pushed her sister back toward the barrels. "Someone might hear you."
"Am I not allowed to celebrate now?" Tella retrieved the three slips of paper hidden within the invite. Lamplight caught their water seals. For a moment they glowed gold, like the edges of the letter, before shifting to a dangerous shade of bloody crimson.
"Do you see that?" Tella gasped as swirls of silver letters materialized across the page, slowly dancing into words: Admit One: Donatella Dragna, of the Conquered Isles.
Scarlett's name appeared on the other.
The third only contained the words Admit One. Like the other invites, this was printed above the name of an isle she'd never heard of: Isla de los Sueños.
Scarlett imagined this nameless invitation was meant for her fiancé, and for a moment she thought of how romantic it could be to experience Caraval with him once they were married.
"Oh, look, there's more!" Tella squealed as new lines of script appeared on the tickets.
To be used once, to gain entrance into Caraval.
Main gates close at midnight, on the thirteenth day of the Growing Season, during the 57th year of the Elantine Dynasty. Anyone who arrives later than this will not be able to participate in the game, or win this year's prize of one wish.
"That's only three days away," Scarlett said, the bright colors she'd felt before turning to her usual dull shades of gray disappointment. She should have known better than to think, even for a moment, that this could work out. Maybe if Caraval were in three months, or even three weeks — sometime after she was married. Scarlett's father had been secretive about the exact date of her wedding, but she knew it would not be in less than three days. Leaving before then would be impossible — and far too dangerous.
"But look at this year's prize," said Tella. "A wish."
"I thought you didn't believe in wishes."
"And I thought you'd be happier about this," Tella said. "You know people would kill to get their hands on these?"
"Did you not see the part where he said we need to leave the isle?" No matter how badly Scarlett longed to go to Caraval, she needed to get married even more. "To make it in three days, we'd probably have to leave tomorrow."
"Why do you think I'm so excited?" The glimmer in Tella's eyes grew brighter; when she was happy, the world turned shimmery, making Scarlett want to beam along with her and say yes to whatever her sister desired. But Scarlett had learned too well how treacherous it was to hope in something as illusive as a wish.
Scarlett sharpened her voice, hating herself for being the one to crush her sister's joy, but better she than someone who would destroy even more than that. "Were you also drinking rum down here? Have you forgotten what Father did the last time we tried to leave Trisda?"
Tella flinched. For a moment she looked like the fragile girl she pretended so hard not to be. Then, just as quickly, her expression changed, pink lips curving once again, shifting from broken to unbreakable. "That was two years ago; we're smarter now."
"We also have more to lose," Scarlett insisted.
It was easier for Tella to brush aside what had happened when they'd attempted to go to Caraval before. Scarlett had never told her sister the entirety of what their father had done as retribution; she'd not wanted Tella to live in that much fear, to constantly look over her shoulder, to know there were worse things than their father's standard forms of punishment.
"Don't tell me this is because you're afraid it will interfere with your wedding." Tella gripped the tickets tighter.
"Stop." Scarlett grabbed them back. "You're going to crinkle their edges."
"And you're avoiding my question, Scarlett. Is this about your wedding?"
"Of course not. It's about not being able to get off the island tomorrow. We don't even know where this other place is. I've never heard of Isla de los Sueños but I know it's not one of the Conquered Isles."
"I know where it is." Julian stepped out from behind several rum barrels, flashing a smile that said he'd make no apologies for listening in on a private conversation.
"This doesn't concern you." Scarlett waved him away with her hand.
Julian looked at her strangely, as if a girl had never dismissed him. "I'm only trying to help. You've never heard of this isle because it's not part of the Meridian Empire. It's not ruled by any of the five Empires. Isla de los Sueños is Legend's private isle, only about two days' journey, and if you want to go there I can smuggle you onto my ship, for a price." Julian eyed the third ticket. Thick lashes lined his light brown eyes, just made for convincing girls to lift their skirts and open their arms.
Tella's words about people who'd kill for the tickets echoed in Scarlett's mind. Julian might have had a charming face, but he also had that Southern Empire accent, and everyone knew the Southern Empire was a lawless place.
"No," Scarlett said. "It's too dangerous if we get caught."
"Everything we do is dangerous. We'll be in trouble if we get caught down here with a boy," Tella said.
Julian looked offended at being referred to as a boy, but Tella went on before he could argue. "Nothing we do is safe. But this is worth the risk. You've waited your whole life for this, wished on every fallen star, prayed as every ship came into port that it would be that magical one carrying the mysterious Caraval performers. You want this even more than I do."
Whatever you've heard about Caraval, it doesn't compare to the reality. It's more than just a game or a performance. It's the closest you'll ever find to magic in this world. Her grandmother's words played in Scarlett's head as she looked at the slips of paper in her hands. The Caraval stories she adored as a young girl never felt more real than they did in that moment. Scarlett always saw flashes of color attached to her strongest emotions, and for an instant goldenrod desire lit up inside her. Briefly, Scarlett let herself imagine what it would be like to go to Legend's private isle, to play the game and win the wish. Freedom. Choices. Wonder. Magic.
A beautiful, ridiculous fantasy.
And it was best to keep it that way. Wishes were about as real as unicorns. When she was younger Scarlett had believed her nana's stories about Caraval's magic, but as she'd grown, she'd left those fairy tales behind. She'd never seen any proof that magic existed. Now it seemed far more likely that her nana's tales were the exaggerations of an old woman.
A part of Scarlett still desperately wanted to experience the splendor of Caraval, but she knew better than to believe its magic would change her life. The only person capable of giving Scarlett or her sister a brand-new life was Scarlett's fiancé, the count.
Now that they were no longer held up to the lamplight, the script on the tickets had vanished and they looked almost ordinary again. "Tella, we can't. It's too risky; if we try to leave the isle —" Scarlett broke off as the stairs to the barrel room creaked. The heavy tread of boots followed. At least three sets.
Scarlett shot a panicked look at her sister.
Tella cursed and quickly made a motion for Julian to hide.
"Don't disappear on my account." Governor Dragna finished his descent, the sharp odor of his heavily perfumed suit spoiling the pungent scents of the barrel room.
Quickly, Scarlett shoved the letters into her dress pocket.
Behind her father, three guards followed his every step.
"I don't believe we've met." Ignoring his daughters, Governor Dragna reached a gloved hand toward Julian. He wore his plum-colored gloves, the shade of dark bruises and power.
But at least he still had the gloves on. The picture of civility, Governor Dragna liked to dress impeccably, in a tailored black frock coat and striped purple waistcoat. He was in his mid-forties but he'd not let his body turn to fat like other men. Keeping with the latest fashion, he kept his blond hair tied back with a neat black bow, showing off his manicured eyebrows and dark blond goatee.
Julian was taller, yet the governor still managed to look down upon him. Scarlett could see her father appraising the sailor's patched brown coat, and his loose breeches tucked into scuffed, knee-high boots.
It said much about Julian's confidence that he didn't hesitate before offering the governor his own, ungloved hand. "Good to meet you, sir. Julian Marrero."
"Governor Marcello Dragna." The men shook hands. Julian attempted to pull away, but the governor held on tight. "Julian, you must not be from this isle?"
This time, Julian did hesitate. "No, sir, I'm a sailor. First mate of El Beso Dorado."
"So, you're only passing through." The governor smiled. "We like sailors here. It helps our economy. People are willing to pay a lot to dock here, and they spend more money while they visit. Now, tell me, what did you think of my rum?" He waved his free hand around the barrel room. "I imagine that's what you were down here tasting?"
Excerpted from Caraval by Stephanie Garber. Copyright © 2017 Stephanie Garber. Excerpted by permission of Flatiron Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
Isle of Trisda,
The Night of Caraval Eve,
Night One of Caraval,
Night Two of Caraval,
Day Four of Caraval,
Night Four of Caraval,
Night Five, the Last Night of Caraval,
The Day After Caraval,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book is an absolutely magical story. Pulls you in from the very first page! Full of action and adventure from the very beginning. Many unexpected twists and turns. I highly recommend it!
A beautiful idea, that was completely crushed by unnecessary romance. The idea is a competition with dangerous secrets and magic around every corner. It may sound good, but in truth, the whole book is not focused on the fantasy at all, its about an awful romance. When you put two characters together that have nothing in common and have no chemistry, it is definitely a bumpy ride. Instead of focusing on the wonderful idea of the competition, you get to listen to the MC forgetting about everything (INCLUDING her sister!) to ask where her love interest is. Not to mention that the romance blossoms at the VERY beginning, and began when he was kissing the MC's sister. In fact, I could not even finish the book it was so aggravating! This book was a waste of time for me and it will be for you too!
I've never read anything like it, it is a deliciously rich read!
Could not put it down. Can't wait for the 2nd! Love, magic and adventure awaits you in this novel.
“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.” Caraval is truly a magical book filled with illusions and manipulations that keep you guessing. Sisters Scarlett and Donatella Dragna are invited to the illusive game, Caraval. However once they arrive they find everything is not as it appears, and their expectations are rapidly changing. After Donatella becomes part of the game, Scarlett fights magic and illusions to keep her sister safe. Things I Liked I really loved that Scarlett’s letters opened the book. Her letters to Legend, inquiring about Caraval were the perfect opeining. They immediately gripped me and drew me into the story. I wanted to know more about Caraval and this world. Caraval itself was actually pretty well established, which I honestly wasn’t expecting. We see how Caraval came about through Scaralett’s flashback to stories with her grandmother. I thought Caraval would have been kept more of a mystery, but we learn abouts it’s origins and rules fairly early on in the story. Personal preference, but I really loved the short chapters. It made it really easy to read, and easy to become invested in. Such great potential for the next book. I really loved the ending and the clues dropped about what could be coming in the future. I’m pretty excited for book 2. Things I Didn’t Like I did not like Tella at all. She was was impulsive, stubborn, and selfish - not a good combination in a game with such high risks. I didn’t care for her at all, so I was never super invested in her relationship with Scarlett. While Caraval is well established, I didn’t think there was much world building outside of Caraval at all. We don’t really know anything about the history, culture, or politics of the world or places. It made me care a little less, or at least a little less invested. Scarlett talked about seeing colors attached to strong emotions, but like the world building, the magic outside of Caraval wasn’t really established. I didn’t know why she could see the colors; if it’s a common thing among people (or a certain group of people). Was she being literal (like I took it), or more metaphorical - it wasn’t clear. I guess I just had more questions about the world at large, so I wasn’t completely satisfied. Because of all the lies and manipulations in Caraval, you’re never really sure what’s real or not, what’s important or not, or what’s lasting or not. There did seem to be less weight and impact with some of the events, because I didn’t know if I was supposed to believe what was happening, or I wasn’t sure it would be a permanent problem. Caraval is an enchanting read of magic, family, and breaking out on your own. While I found the world outside of Caraval lacking, Caraval itself is both vibrant and grim - an enthralling blend of danger, adventure, and promise. The strong beginning immediately drew me in, and the ending left me waiting in eager anticipation for what comes next.
A MUST READ
It was so good guys!
A fun novel filled with mystery and awesomeness!!
I couldn't put this book down!!!
Wonderful writing with a wonderful setting that I wanted to see so much more of, but the main character's "struggle" felt like a waste of time, was hard to relate to or care about, and by the end, everything wraps up far too nicely and easily. It was not the ending this book should have had to fit the themes it tried to set up in the beginning. The plot never went deep enough, and there was so much wasted potential. After the ending, this book would have been a two star read for me, but I loved it so much that for the first half, it was going to be four star, so I figure three stars is a good middle ground.
I just loved it! Can't wait for the next book!!!!
Great read. Can't wait for mor!
This book is beautiful, vibrant, eerie, and unpredictable in all the best ways. To me it had undertones of Alice's Adventures Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass, while being channeled through the brilliantly colorful and vibrant mind of Tim Burton. Basically, Stephanie Garbor is a genius and has made it to my all time favorite author list. The characters made me feel very invested. and each chapter felt new and exciting striking a perfect balance between action scenes and world building. This book made me feel things, it made the darkness inside feel real and the light feel pure and raw. This book while saying "it is a game" on the cover really isnt a competition per say. It is an adventure. Our main heroine, Scarlett, is not racing and fighting against other players, but instead against herself, time, the master of the game, and her life as she knows it. She grows, she stumbles, she feels, and every bit of it you feel and grow with her. BUY. THIS. BOOK.
I bought the first two books of the Craval series during the summer book haul sale. I had heard mixed reviews on the series and thought I would give it a chance since it was on sale. Buying these books was definetly worth it! After reading the first book, I ran out and bought the third since I did not want to wait. I had the best of both worlds of fantasy and romance and loved the progession of the characters throughout the series. If you are on the fence about reading this series, give this book a chance.
Caraval was unlike any book I have ever read and I don't think many books will live up to how good this book was for me. Garber has a way of making you feel like you're in this unique and whimsical world she has created. I also love how even though this world was very fantastical, it was easy to imagine everything occurring within the novel. Caraval kept me guessing and had me on my toes from the first word to the last. The world of Caraval had such an elegant presence to it but underneath (literally and figuratively) there was such a dark undertone that changed they way Scarlett as well as readers viewed the game and Legend. This novel leaves your head spinning and your heart begging for more
?? ending was good however the end was not what the climax created or ended as dramatically as it should with the plot.
This has been on my list for a long time and my husband recently read it, so I decided to read it too. Overall, I really enjoyed it. It’s hard to review a book like this because so much of the enjoyment depends on not really knowing what’s going on, so here’s a short review with my thoughts. Caraval is a wild ride. I kept guessing and second-guessing and triple-guessing everything that was going on. I got some things right and some things wrong, so it was really interesting to see how everything turned out. If anything, though, this did keep me turning the pages because I just had to know what was going to happen next. Scarlett is an okay main character–I didn’t really connect to her and had some empathy, but wasn’t wholly rooting for her the way I normally would for a main character. Not that I hated her anything, I just didn’t love her. Julian, on the other hand, I was completely intrigued by. His backstory is really the reason I kept reading, because I just couldn’t figure him out. I kept wanting to know more about him. I did like that this book featured a strong sister relationship; being an oldest sister with two younger sisters, I related to Scarlett’s desperation to make sure Tella was okay and to save her. The bond they have for each other is so strong, and I loved that. The ending really saved this story for me. I knew the whole time that how everything ended would determine how much I liked this book, and I’m pleased with how everything turned out. I’m definitely looking forward to reading the sequel to see what happens next!
Read 3 times’
Love this book!!!! Lots of twists and turns and things that you don’t see coming.
I really enjoyed reading this book, I thought that Scarlett and Donatella's back story was very well done and the character development in Scarlett was pretty well done as well. This was definitely one of those books I just couldn't put down, it kept me at the edge of my seat the whole time. The author also does a good job at pacing, it never felt rushed and the action wasn't all piled in the last 50 pages (which seems to be a common thread in a lot of books I have read). However, I did not like the ending, it seemed very forced and the "wish" thing was a bit too unrealistic for me. The love story was also very cliche and rushed, it seemed unnatural. I enjoyed Donatella's character very much though and I wish we got to see more of her, I am so very excited to read the Legendary since it is entirely her POV!
This book made me so mad after I finished it. The idea itself is very creative, but what the author did with her characters...I didn't care for. Scarlett is manipulated from the very start. She has no victories at all, and is simply strung along by everyone else. I wondered at the end why she was even the main character when she wasn't strong or clever, or adventurous. Even when she appeared to be those things, or when she would indeed do something "clever", it turned out that she wasn't actually clever because it's what was supposed to happen anyway, and she was simply playing into the way game was meant to go. As a reader I was very proud when Scarlett had little victories and was supposedly out-smarting the game. I was very disappointed when it turned out she was the one being outsmarted. When I started the book I was so excited to read about a Heroine who was going to be this fantastic and witty person who wasn't going to fall prey to the manipulation and abuse in the plot. She even said after being manipulated by her father for years that she could tell when there was manipulation happening... She was then manipulated for the entire rest of the book!! By her own sister!! I was hoping something crazy would happen, like Scarlett herself was Legend. (I'm aware that would make zero sense) Or "Hahaha, I knew along I was being played! you didn't fool me!" But nope. Nope, nope, nope. She was played and didn't even know it. When she tried to get her sister to believe her, all she got in return was feeling like she was the crazy one and then watching her sister jump off the balcony and die right in front of her eyes!!! Oh BTW, Legend is not actually Legend and is really an actor playing Legend. Your boyfriend who supposedly loves you is also playing you, and your sister killed herself because she was like "it's fine she'll bring be back with the power of love!" Scarlett is literally mad at her sister for five seconds and then forgives her, I mean sure you're just glad she's alive and everything...but come, that was freaking horrible! Anyway that's the end of my rant (there is no way on earth anyone is going to read this, but oh well I got it out of my system), if you hate feeling tricked I don't recommend this book. I was so frustrated I wanted to throw the book and the wall.