Now that we’re nearing the end of the year, I’ve been reflecting on the books that I’ve read and loved this year. The two books that I’m recommending to you today are ones that I read in February of this year and loved them SO much that I haven’t stopped thinking about them!
First we have CARAVAL (click to see full review) by Stephanie Garber. If you were in the book community at all at the beginning of this year, I think it’s safe to say that this was a popular one in January of 2017. It was highly anticipated, sounded quite original, and the reviews were glowing. Naturally my curiosity got the best of me and I jumped in. I’m so glad that I did! This book was full of magic, mystery, intrigue, and adventure. This is also one of the few books that truly had me confused on who to trust! I would be utterly convinced that I knew what was going on only to have my every opinion overturned the very next chapter. In Caraval we meet two sisters, Scarlett and Tella, as they leave their abusive father to visit Caraval, a carnival that they recieved an invitation from the master himself! But upon arrival, Tella goes missing and Scarlett realizes that she’s far more personally invested into the game of Caraval. The sequel to this one is coming out in 2018 and I CAN NOT WAIT!
And if you liked Caraval, I know for a fact that you will LOVE THE NIGHT CIRCUS (click for full review) by Erin Morganstern. When Caraval was first released, I heard many reviewers referring to it as the YA version of The Night Circus. In a way I agree with the comparison (obviously or else I wouldn’t be recommending them in the same post!) but at the same time, they are very different animals. I will get more into that later. This is an adult novel, following a circus that comes without warning, in the middle of the night, devoid of colour and full of wonder. The writing and atmosphere was STELLAR! I mean it’s beyond compare to anything I’ve ever read. There is a lot of magic, trust, games and more. I would give anything for one night at the Night Circus! I want to see the clocks, the tents, eat the popcorn, see the performances – I want it all!!
HERE’S WHAT THE TWO BOOKS HAVE IN COMMON:
- Magic and fantastical elements – Both of these have very strong magical and fantastical elements, specifically The Night Circus. In The Night Circus, the two main characters possess powers, along with some other characters in the book. The main characters in Caraval don’t have any powers themselves but the fantastical elements are brought in when they get to Caraval.
- Carnival settings. This is probably the strongest connection between the two, to be honest. The Night Circus is all about this travelling circus that comes without warning and is only open during the hours when the sun is down. Caraval takes place on an island that is the home of the carnival’s master
- Themes of time. This isn’t a strong theme, but time is mentioned a few times throughout both. The use of this theme was well done and so interesting, giving everything urgency and perspective.
- Unbalanced relationships with their father. This actually plays a HUGE part in the development of all the main characters. Scarlett and Tella run to Caraval to escape their mentally and physically abusive father. While in The Night Circus, the entire game that the main characters are playing were orchestrated by their fathers, to which their relationships are far from normal.
- Games – an unclear game plan, unclear direction, and unsure of being able to trust you’re making the right decisions is the basic theme to both of these. In Caraval, the game is a little more structured while in The Night Circus, the game is used as a way to create intrigue and mystery.
- Romance with people involved in the game.
- Themes of trust and confusion. Knowing assistance is needed to move forward but they’re not sure who can be trusted.
As I’ve already mentioned, as much as these two have in common, they’re also very different. Caraval is a YA novel that focuses more on the carnival and the game. The main characters possess no magical powers and their purpose is to complete a mission while being surrounded by untrustworthy fantastical elements. The Night Circus, however, is an adult novel that deals with two characters who have magical powers who are really unsure of the game they’re playing. They are a part of this amazing carnival setting that brings the whole story together. Even though these books are different, I still have a feeling that if you liked one then you’ll like the other!
Until next time, happy reading!