Caraval Was A Bit Like A Victorian Freakshow


You know- where you can’t look away, even though it’s a bloody mess and there’s body bits all over the joint… Okay, I might be being a bit theatrical, but I can tell you that you’re in for a bit of a show today, because *drumroll please* I’m here with my good friend Trang from Bookidote!!

TADAA ! You didn’t expect that huh? Trang and Orang-Utan Librarian together is like a death bomb for excitement. I don’t think I’ve ever clicked so fast with any blogger before (YAS!!!!) LOL Our conversations were very… animated, but mostly full of laughter and cramps. So now be prepared for this bitter truth about Caraval.

First off rid your brain of Night Circus comparisons- THIS IS NOT NIGHT CIRCUS!!!

Nothing is like the Night Circus. I think we should just ban Night Circus comparisons in book marketing now. One of the most beautiful things about TNC is the exquisite and classy writing. But in Caraval? It was so ordinary and childish.

The writing was so peculiar, what with the obsession with wax metaphors (I didn’t notice it until you make the remark LOL ) and other cringey comparisons. For about half the book- literally till page 200!- I was bored. It didn’t help that the plot was virtually signposted throughout the book- from the exposition letter at the start to the bullet point instructions.

Bullet point instructions ? Really Legend ? Why don’t you give us a Power Point presentation as well? For the first half of the book we were stuck with a main character who’s indecisive af. Half wanting to desperately find her sister half wanting to kiss her wanna be fiancé.

Plenty of other things were signposted too- like who to like and who to hate. The love interest was signalled through his eyelashes. The villain… well he wasn’t literally twirling his moustache but he may as well have done.

*another obvious clue from the author*

But then the plot started getting somersaulting all over the place with plot twist after plot twist. I will happily say I didn’t see *any* of them coming. And when the twists started coming in, I was impressed. It just kept getting twistier and twistier… if only it hadn’t gone for that one last twist! You know- the one that broke the spine of the story with a sickening crunch? Maybe the acrobatics should have ended earlier. Because gah- that ending was what I call an “it was all a dream ending”.

What was that pace though? 200 pages in, nothing really happens, and then BAM BAM BAM 3-4-5 PLOT TWISTS ONE AFTER ANOTHER. The last twist ruins everything for me too. The Magic powers were disappointing, we don’t have any details on how it works, the descriptions were minimalist.

Oh yes, agree, it was disappointing all round- the only thing that wasn’t disappointing was how A-W-E-S-O-M-E this collab has been!! The only question left is how do you rate a book like this? After wayyy too much deliberation…

My Rating: 2½/5 bananas


(I’m being stingy with my bananas)

Trang’s Rating: 3/5 stars


So hope you enjoyed this *magical* collab! Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments below!

56 thoughts on “Caraval Was A Bit Like A Victorian Freakshow

  1. Hey!

    Nice blog (: I just started mine up and was looking for a few relative friends in the book world! I have a Booktube channel too. Also, There is a giveaway currently going on and I will be posting more as soon as I finish editing a few videos.

    Thanks and I hope you like my blog! :*


  2. I have to admit I’m surprised by your review. All of the ones I’ve read have been super positive about it. Maybe it was the hype monster along with The Night Circus comparisons that ruined it for you? I’m going to read this book at some point, so I’m interested in seeing if I agree with your conclusions. Great review!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehe yes in part- I definitely felt let down at the start. I also have to say I really wasn’t keen on the writing style (it was pretty juvenile) and that ending wasn’t great. Hopefully you’ll like it more now that you’ve seen a less positive review, because it will modify you’re expectations! Thank you 😀

      Liked by 1 person

    1. hehehe thank you!! Ahh it wasn’t great in the end. I feel like it was half the hype that killed it, but a lot of the problems I had with it was just the writing style and plotting- so I can’t really just blame the marketing! hehe you’re welcome!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Hahaha that was a lot of fun to read. I have read pretty positive reviews of that book so far, it’s good to see a more, well, mixed review about it to change things up and lessen my expectations for sure 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hehehe I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Yes I’ve read a fair few too. haha yes- I hope it helps- I personally think that if I’d had lower expectations I wouldn’t have been so disappointed. I do think, on reflection, that I also wasn’t a fan of the writing style at all, so I still wouldn’t have been crazy about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I was also kind of disappointed by this book. It was very, very standard YA for me, and marketing was trying to bill it as the next big thing, wildly unique, like nothing that has ever been seen in YA before. That just wasn’t true. And, yeah, it has nothing in common with The Night Circus besides like…a circus.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. So, this is what happens when two superbloggers come together and work on a review? 😉 This was very good… It’s funyn with Caraval, some people tell me I’d enjoy it, some people are like- no, don’t ever read it… and I just don’t know… BUT… the ‘it was all a dream’ ending would piss me off big time….
    Good work, you! 🙂 Can we have some more of your collaborative awesomeness in the future? 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. hehehe thanks!! 😉 haha I don’t know if you would or not- personally I had a problem with the writing style, which really does come down to personal taste… But there were good parts… Still in the end it just pissed me off- so I’m not sure lol!
      Thank you so much!! haha yeah hopefully- it was such fun to do! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’ll bum it down on the TBR pile… I never reallt felt THAT excited for it for some reason… but who knows.. I might just come across the book and decide to go for it.. so we shall see… I’ll be sure to keep ym expectations with the ending in check!

        Liked by 1 person

  6. agh sadness that this didn’t work for either of you! Tbh I’ve not seen many good reviews for it at all, eeep. I do have it to read, but I’m not really excited for it anymore.😂

    Loved the collab/conversation though!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hehe yes, but it was such fun to gripe the whole way along about it, so don’t feel too bad for us 😉 hahaa well hopefully you’ll enjoy it in the end- it can be better sometimes when the hype’s died down 😉 Thank you!!


  7. Great review! I read this book some time ago but I never reviewed it because I didn’t know how I felt about it. I honestly just wrote my review yesterday and it’s scheduled to post in a few days. I gave it 2.5 also. I think it was way too hyped and in no way delivered all that it promised.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! Ahh I totally understand that- this was really hard to review or decide how to rate it- cos it was, if I’m totally honest, a bit of a mess- there were good bits, but they were really mixed up in the not so good bits. Yes absolutely agree!! Looking forward to checking out your review!! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  8. All the reviews I’ve read of this have been pretty much the same of yours – that it was a bit mediocre and underwhelming. I’m sorry you felt that way too but thanks for sharing your thoughts regardless. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Great review! 😀 I was actually looking forward to this book, since it was compared to The Night Circus (one of my all time favourites), but after reading quiet a few reviews of it I have decided against reading it. I just don’t feel like I will enjoy it, sooo there’s really no point in me reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!! 😀 Ahh I totally understand that- it’s not a terrible book, but there are a lot of flaws and it was wayyy overhyped, so I wouldn’t exactly recommend it 😉 But yeah, it’s nothing like Night Circus, that’s just marketing spin 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Yass!! I agree on everything and I’m loving the collaborations!
    For a while after reading I was convinced I hated the book because it wasn’t at all like the Night Circus. But it also just wasn’t great. It needed some more work. It was a struggle to complete it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ahh thank you!!! I’m so glad you think so 😀
      Yes- at first I thought a lot of the issues were with how overhyped it was and how disappointed I was when I first cracked it open, buuuut I actually really hated the writing style (one of the reasons I was so unimpressed when I first started reading). I don’t normally say this cos I love flowery writing, but when I was reading I kept thinking “KILL YOUR BABIES!”- cos the writing was so self indulgent and juvenile. Definitely agree!!


      1. Lol! Yea, I could see what the author wanted to do by writing like that but it just came off so awkward. Also, I’ve seen peeps praising the sister relationship in the book but it wasn’t a positive one to me. It was so manipulative.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. haha yes!!! Yeah- I didn’t really get that. I *love* good sister relationships in books- it’s one of my favourite things- but this really didn’t seem good to me. It just seemed messed up by the end, when the *big reveal* happened.


  11. Hahaahha as sad as it is to be deceived and greatly disappointed by a book, these ranting-reviews are gold!!! 😀 I absolutely love the part about “the [twist] that broke the spine of the story with a sickening crunch?”. That is BEAUTIFULLY said. One twist too many! Fantastic collab review! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I can’t stop laughing! This is an amazing collab. Please PLEASE do more of this. Please.

    I haven’t read Caraval yet, but it wasn’t on the TBR before and it definitely won’t be now. I hate the overuse of Night Circus comparisons! Worst. It also sounds like the pacing was a wreck. At least the concept is interesting?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Aww thank you!! It was so much fun to do!!! 😀
      hahaha fair enough. Oh gosh me too!! It really was all over the place- I was bored for half of it, really excited and then let down in the final couple of chapters again. Wellll- it was almost interesting- until the ending ruined it. So no 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Loved reading your collab post, guys! Very fun indeed XD
    I haven’t read this one yet nor am I in a hurry to do so. At first, there were only amazing reviews everywhere and then, the negative ones came rushing in one after the other (kind of like the 200 pages of non-existent plot and then plot twists showing up all at once lol)
    So yeah, maybe one day!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hmmm… I’m not a fan of the overused twist anyway but this is just sad! i hate boring adult book 200 page setups in a YA book1 I am hating this trend… Well at least I won’t be shocked if I do decide to read the book… I wanted to do a comparison read with other carnival/circus set books but I don’t know now… ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. hehehehe yeah- there were *a lot* of twists in this book- it’s just a shame about the last one 😉 But it’s not a terrible book and I read it really fast. I think that if you couple this with other circus books it would be really interesting. I just hope you like this more than I did!


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