Author: Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval, #2
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton Ltd
Release Date: May 29th 2018
A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister’s. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfil her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval…the games have only just begun.
– Blurb courtesy of goodreads.com
This review may contain spoilers for previous book(s) in the series.
My Thoughts On…
Caraval is over. Scarlett won freedom for herself and Tella but now a new game is being set up, and it very quickly becomes obvious that this time around Caraval is not simply a game. In order to pay back the bargain she made Tella needs to take part in Caraval and win, so she can discover Legend’s true name, but when she comes face to face with her mysterious friend Tella quickly realises how out of depth she truly is.
Legendary was one of my most anticipated releases of this year. Before picking it up I’d heard plenty of people saying it was even better than Caraval and from what I read I agree. Very quickly the stakes in this new game are set higher than they were in the previous book. Caraval and the world it exists in are opened up and expanded on in Legendary, giving us new players to figure out and a new villain to face alongside Tella.
As Tella follows the clues Legend has left through Valenda she quickly finds herself in over her head; dealing with a murderous heir to the throne who isn’t what he seems, long gone Fates who are at last waking up, and tangled secrets which have Tella doubting the one person she thought she’d always be able to rely on. The nights pass quickly, and if Tella can’t deliver Legend by the last night of Caraval she’ll not only lose her mother, but her own life.
In many ways this book seemed more real. In Caraval it was never made clear how much of Scarlett’s experience was fantasy and how much was reality, but in Legendary everything is both fantastical and real, and the warnings Tella receives have very serious consequences. Caraval is no longer a place for make believe and magic, instead it’s a battle between Legend and the Fates themselves, a battle Tella has somehow found herself in the middle of.
Tella was willing to risk everything, believing in her sister’s love for her, and now she’s willing to do the same all over again for their mother. Tella may be seen as flighty and irresponsible to the world, she refuses to believe in love, but she loves her family fiercely and is willing to do anything for them. Her death in Caraval has not left her unscathed, she fears Death but at the same time it’s made her stronger because she won’t give into Death without a fight again.
Dante was always an enigmatic character in Caraval, and he doesn’t become too much clearer in Legendary. He is determined to one-up Tella whenever they see each other, but one of his lies to outsmart her ends up leaving her in more danger than he could have predicted. Dante seems to be on the outskirts of this game, following Tella’s progress the same way her mysterious friend is, but when she needs the help he steps in even if it means risking himself.
The relationship between Dante and Tella started out as nothing more than a bit of fun, they kissed to feel alive again after both dying in Caraval. Neither of them believe in love or relationships, but they keep going back to one another even when they would normally walk away. They’re constantly going toe to toe, fighting to get a rise out of the other, but every time they interact there’s something slowly building between them.
Tella and Scarlett’s bond as sisters is one of the strong points of this series in my mind. Like in Caraval the two don’t spend much time together in Legendary, although this time it’s Tella playing the game with Scarlett on the sidelines, but we get to see their relationship through Tella’s eyes. While Scarlett has always been protective over Tella Tella feels the same way about Scarlett, but she’s willing to risk so much more to keep her sister safe.
In Legendary we travel to Valenda and as Tella takes part in the game we follow her from Elantine’s palace and the golden tower where she is staying, to the Spice Quarter where all the unsavoury bargains are made, to the Temple District where people worship the Fates, the Stars and even Legend himself. It was a fantastic world to explore but the development of the world itself was what had me hooked. We’re introduced to the Fates who fled the world so many years ago; the Prince of Hearts, the Undead Queen and Her Handmaidens, and the Aracle To name a few, all of them have fascinating back stories which we’ve only really begun to learn more about.
Stephanie Garber has a way of ending her books which wraps up the story but still leaves me desperate for the next in the series, and that’s exactly what she’s done again here. Legendary expanded on the world and the characters to give us a faster-paced story, which was better than I’d hoped it would be (and my hopes were high).
What did you think of Legendary? Was it a favourite of yours or could you just not get into the story? Let me know.