Title: Finale (Caraval #3)
Author: Stephanie Garber
Published: May 2019
Publisher: Hodder & Stroughton
Readership: Young Adult
Sunday Times and #1 New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Garber takes us once again to the magical world of Caraval, where Scarlett and Tella Dragna must fight for their happy endings. . .
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. Welcome, welcome to the Caraval’s Finale. All games must come to an end . . .
I’ve been a big fan of the Caraval series since before the first book was released. I’m pretty sure Caraval may have even been one of the first review copies I received on Netgalley way back when I first started reviewing books on my blog, so reading Finale was kind of bittersweet for me.
For those unfamiliar with the series, the world of Caraval follows sisters Scarlett and Donatella/Tella who escape from a life with a very over-bearing father to the world of Caraval – a carnival renowned for its’ magic and mystery, led by the mysterious Grand Master Legend. Book one follows Scarlett as she plays the game to rescue Tella (who’s become the prize for that year’s Caraval). Legendary follows Tella’s story as she seeks to uncover the mystery of what happened to her mother who mysteriously disappeared years ago, while also trying to uncover the identity of Legend.
Finale, as the concluding book in the trilogy, brings together the POV of both sisters, and takes place five weeks after the ending of Legendary. The know the identity of Legend, but they don’t know that his magical power is waning with the rise of the Fates and the two sisters unwittingly become pawns in the game of magic.
I have to say, that Finale didn’t quite live up to my expectations – which is not to say I didn’t enjoy it: I did, immensely. These books have always been fun, easy fantasy reads that I speed through because the world is fun to return to time and time again. This book felt like it was forcing relationships on to the two sisters rather than exploring what had already been established, and, in the case of Tella, I didn’t feel that it was resolved in a way that sat quite right with me – which is entirely a personal feeling.
There were a lot of threads that were tied up, just enough to provide a resolution but with enough string left to potentially open doors to spin-offs or additional tales featuring characters. (And to be honest, I’m wondering if there’s a Jacks story in the works, or even one to do with the bargain that Tella strikes in the Vanished Market.) I don’t mind that possibility, it gives me hope that we might return to the world at some point, which would be a lot of fun.
Overall, it was really lovely to see a conclusion for these characters – it’s not so often these days that I read all the way to the end of a series or trilogy and it’s definitely satisfying to see this magic come full circle.