I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Finale by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #3
Published by Flatiron Books on 2019-05-07
Length: 496 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
Reading Challenges: #NGEW2019, 2019 Finishing the Series Challenge, 2019 New Release Challenge
Welcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!
Welcome, welcome to Caraval...all games must come to an end.
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. . .
It is no secret how much I love the Caraval series from Stephanie Garber. I have devoured each book in less than 48 hours and have no shame in saying that I skipped sleep to do so. Finale is the final book in the trilogy about the Dragna sisters and the mysterious Caraval ringmaster Legend. Y’all if you’ve enjoyed the previous two books of the series, you will love its conclusion.
If you have not read the previous books in the series, there are minor spoilers to those books in this review. Read at your own risk.
Finale begins two months after Tella completed her Caraval and Legend claimed Valenda’s throne. The only interaction Tella has with Legend is in her dreams, where he appears as Dante, the boy she fell for in the last Caraval. Tella knows it was all part of the game, but tell that to her heart! Meanwhile Scarlett is writing to the count, her true fiance, and trying to not think about Julian, the boy who she misses. When he turns up on the day she is to meet the count, Scarlett devises a game for the count and Julian to win her hand. Finale is a whirlwind, unlike the first two books in that it focuses on events that are truly happening as the games have ended and lives are at risk.
I really like Tella and Scarlett. I love their relationship and how the two balance each other. Tella is headstrong and acts without thinking where Scarlett is her opposite, thinking too much and with her heart not her head. Both sisters feel deeply and love fiercely and it’s why I love them so much. Tella is a bit lost in this book. She never intended to give her heart away, and Legend shattered it. Now she hangs back, afraid to offer it again to anyone. Scarlett plays a larger role here than she did in Legendary. Scarlett is central to the plot, and I love how Garber weaves her story together. It’s heart-wrenching and beautiful all at the same time.
The plot is two fold as the story is told from both Tella and Scarlett’s points of view. I love the dual POV. It gives a full picture of what the sisters face. In this final installment of the series, Legend continues his work to defeat the Fates who were fully introduced in the previous book. The question and main plot focus is how. Without spoiling the story, the how refers to why Tella, Scarlett, and their mother Paloma fit into Legend’s game. Y’all it is fantastic! I love the history and backstory that is added to this already lush fantasy.
Now I’d be remiss in not mentioning the romance. Y’all we get a double dose in Finale. With the dual POV, we get Tella’s heartache and Scarlett’s romance. It’s a callback to Caraval when Julian had me fall for him the first time. My only complaint about the whole book is the love triangle….really love triangles. In Legendary, Tella enters into a fake engagement to the Prince of Hearts, Jacks, while pining for Dante, erhm….Legend. Well it carries over to this book and drags out til nearly the end which is frustrating to me. Scarlett’s triangle begins because of Julian’s lie about the count. Now she is torn between the man she used to dream of and the man who holds her heart now. Thankfully, the main plot eclipses the triangle, and it resolves early in the story.
Overall, I love this book! I have enjoyed every moment of the series, even the sad and haunting ones. The vivid imagery, the lush fantasy, the history and world-building that makes Caraval magical is perfection. Finale encompasses everything a fantasy should be while staying unique and memorable. If you’ve enjoyed the series thus far or enjoy fantasy, I highly recommend it.