❥ Title: Finale
❥ Author: Stephanie Garber
❥ Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
❥ Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
❥ Rating: 3 / 5 stars
It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.
Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancé, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.
Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun―with lives, empires, and hearts all at stake. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win…and those who will lose everything.
Synopsis taken from Goodreads
I want to start off by saying that I will definitely struggle to write this review. I had very high hopes for this book and unfortunately I was disappointed.
When I read Caraval, I loved it! I enjoyed it so much! It was so magical and gave us a brand new world that we hadn’t really encountered in YA Fantasy before. Caraval had a strong plot and a very strong plot twist at the end. I had my reservations about the characters but I hoped that it would improve in the sequel.
Along came the release of Legendary and I picked it up on release day, ready to set my teeth into it. I couldn’t. It just didn’t like the way it was going. I didn’t feel any improvement in the treatment of the female characters from the first book and that stopped me from enjoying the book. I felt that Scarlett and Tella were pawns in the plot. I understand that’s sort of the point in Caraval because the game is so twisted and unexpected but I was hoping that they would start coming to their senses more in the sequel. As Legendary progressed I just kept getting more frustrated that were just as lost and clueless as in the beginning.
That brings me to Finale. Despite all of my frustration with the character development, I still had high hopes that the would be a shining beacon of hope that will present itself in the series finale, especially after the jaw dropping ending of Legendary. Maybe the reveal of Legend’s identity would make up for the lack of character development that I was craving?
That wasn’t the case. I felt that Finale was very predictable and I knew who Legend was even before I was half way through. I mean, there was a pretty big spoiler in the book so who didn’t see it coming?! I also felt even more frustrated with the development of Scarlett and Tella… I mean it’s been three books, do these girls seriously need to be damsels in distress at every moment?!
Now, I do know that there were moments in which things were going well for them but for a majority of the book it was just the same level of helplessness over and over again. At this point it was too difficult for me to overlook the twisted nature of Caraval and I was just tired of Scarlett and Tella being trapped in one level of development.
Overall, I think the Caraval series is a great concept but lacks the correct execution. I think it could have worked well as a standalone if Legend’s identity was revealed at the end, or it shouldn’t have been more than a duology. Let’s be realistic, if Stephanie Garber gave us such a massive clue about Legend’s identity in Finale she definitely could have done that in Legendary and ended the series there. I truly wanted to enjoy the series but in the end I was disappointed more than I was impressed.
Until Next Time,