Thursday, May 31, 2018

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Legendary by Stephanie Garber
Release Date - May 29, 2018
Publisher Website - Raincoast Books
Publisher Social Media - Twitter
Pages -  451 pages
My Rating - 5/5
**received from the publisher for an honest review**

**Spoilers For Caraval** 

Here is the Goodreads synopsis
Stephanie Garber’s limitless imagination takes flight once more in the colorful, mesmerizing, and immersive sequel to the bestselling breakout debut Caraval

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 fulfill 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.
Caraval is the kind of book you could easily get lost in. It has that magical quality where you are instantly transported into the world and swept away by the story. I went into Legendary with high hopes and am thrilled to say it surpassed them. It is everything Caraval is and more. It's more magical, more seductive, and manages to pack in even more surprises.

Tella is a different narrator than Scarlet was. Tella is less careful. She is more willing to take risks, and be a little reckless. She is also, surprisingly, more guarded with her heart that Scarlet was. She may be willing to share a few kisses with any man she fancies, but falling in love is not something that she is overly interested in. She likes to keep things light and casual. She does share some similarities with her sister in that they are both fiercely loyal, and both have a fondness for Caraval itself. Her backstory is more complex than I anticipated, and there is way more going on with her than I could have guessed.

The inclusion of some new characters not only widens the world that has been created, but creates some interesting new dynamics. The journey Tella takes demands that she interact with a lot of characters we hadn't met before (and some we are familiar with) and this allows it to feel unique in a lot of ways.  Jacks is a particularly fascinating character who I immediately wanted to know more about. He has such a presence and easily is the most interesting of the new characters we meet.

The romance in this novel, and the way Stephanie Garber writes romance in general, is my favourite part of these novels. It feels more sensual than flat out sexy. It's a tease that feels more seductive than other more explicit make out scenes do. There is so much that is able to be conveyed with only a look, a touch, or a perfectly phrased piece of dialogue. Caraval had this as well but it feels dialed up in the sequel. The chemistry between the characters is palpable, and Stephanie captures this element of Caraval (the game) effortlessly. There is something inherently sexy about the game of Caraval and that fact is used to perfection within this series.

The magical world of Caraval is only beginning to reveal all of its secrets and I cannot wait to continue this journey with the Dragna sisters. There is plenty of set up here for what is sure to be a stunning finale to this series. I am quite excited about many of the possibilities and the uncertainty I felt about the direction of the story after finishing this one. This sequel kept me on my toes in the best possible way. It offers up information that makes you want to read the series again to experience it from this new perspective. I love when sequels manage the unexpected and this one more than delivers.

I highly recommend this for anyone wanting to get swept up in not just the story but the setting that has been created. I also recommend it for anyone who likes books that are addictive and almost impossible to put down. It's an enchanting sequel that more than lives up to its predecessor. It's a world you'll be reluctant to leave and filled with characters who will steal your heart.

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