ARC Review: “Legendary” by Stephanie Garber

I promised I would post my review about this book even though I’m currently on a hiatus. I had hoped to finish it before the book’s release date on May 29, but unfortunately, that obviously didn’t happen. 😛

Thanks to NetGalley and Flatiron Books for giving me a free, digital copy in exchange for an honest review!

LegendaryTitle: Legendary (Caraval #2)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release date: May 29, 2018
Genre: Young adult, fantasy, romance
Length: 451 pages (U.S. hardcover)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “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.”

four starsMy Thoughts

Truth be told, I like this a lot more than Caraval. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the first book, I just didn’t really care for the main character, Scarlett, and found Tella to be far more interesting from the very beginning. Garber does a fantastic job of keeping us on the edge of our seats, questioning everything we know about Caraval, and making us wonder–just like the Dragna sisters–if this is just a game or something more.

Garber pumps up the world-building game in Legendary, introducing the ominous Deck of Destiny and the Fates, magical beings who once ruled the world but are now stuck inside the Deck, which ones belonged to Scarlett and Tella’s mother, Paloma. From the first book, we know that the two girls’ mother is supposedly dead. But Legendary introduces a whole new side of the game, one that makes even seemingly cool and collected Tella question how far she’ll go to find her mother. What a thrilling game! I will admit, though, the world-building confused me in some parts just because it was so immersive. The main characters aren’t on their home island of Trisda, so we get bits and pieces of culture and history.

I wasn’t disappointed in Tella at all, though I was concerned about her daring nature as well. I will say, though, I was confused–concerned?–about Scarlett. I wasn’t sure how to interpret her actions, and thought she acted quite differently than how she is in the first book. I wish the two sisters could have talked more and worked out what was happening in this Caraval game. But Scarlett seemed extremely distant, and now that I’ve finished the book, I wonder how (if?) it’ll come to play in the third and final book, Finale.

Tella plays a dark and twisted game with Jacks, who already has rumors spread about him. I’m not sure what to make of him. But one thing’s for sure, Legendary is darker than Caraval, and really asks us what risks we’d be willing to take in order to save our family. I’m not even sure what to make of Dante either. While I don’t mind his and Tella’s attraction to one another, we’re often reminded that he (and Scarlett’s love interest, Julian) is a performer in Legend’s game. I’m just not sure who to trust or even what to trust, and maybe that’s the whole point. Garber certainly has me questioning even the main character’s intentions.

Overall, I found Legendary to be a dark, thrilling sequel to Caraval, with twists and turns, questions upon more questions of the truth and intent behind Legend’s game. Yet there’s also…more, and I’m certainly glad there will be one more book to explore.

You can purchase Legendary on Amazon, Barnes and Noble (exclusive edition), Book Depository (U.K. edition), and IndieBound. You can also find it at most major booksellers.

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