Legendary Book Review

Legendary Book Cover Legendary
Stephanie Garber
Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
Hodder Paperbacks
February 21st 2019 (first published 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 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.

“Every story has four parts – the beginning, the middle, the almost ending, and the true ending.”

I will be completely honest with you. Even though I love Caraval, I wasn’t sure what to expect with Legendary by Stephanie Garber. I owned a copy of this book for a while, but once I got the smaller paperback version, I decided it was time to read it.

Although it took me a little bit to get into the book, the lyrical writing style of Garber is superb. The world within the story pops out at you and you can truly visualize everything. It is super mysterious with much more to it than you realize. I adored learning about the city of Valenda with its districts and rope carriages. It felt super alive, especially with Caraval ascending on it. There is also SO MUCH MORE within Legendary than in the first book. It felt a lot more magical and more mysterious. There were twists and turns that I did NOT expect.

“There is more to life than staying safe.”

The book, unlike the first one, is told from the perspective of Donatella. Caraval is a mysterious and magical game that is held once a year. However, this year is different. Another Caraval will take place within the city of Valenda for Elantine’s Day – the Empresses birthday. But for Donatella, although Caraval is only a game, is a lot more real. She has a debt to pay to a friend in order to find her mother who left years before. The debt – provide him with Legend’s true name. With this information, her friend will reunite Tella with her mother.

But in order for Tella to get Legends name, she needs to win Caraval. For the person who wins the game this time, they shall come face to face with the mysterious curator of Caraval. But will she be able to hand his name over to her friend, who may not be all that he seems?

“Fate is only an idea, but I think by believing in it we turn it into something more.”

I was a bit on the fence with Donatella at the beginning. I’m not too sure why I was, but I felt like I wasn’t clicking with her as much as I did with Scarlett. As the story progressed though, I found myself warming up more to her. There was then a moment that something clicked and Donatella became a superb character. She is the type of character who is determined and brave and is willing to risk herself for others. Tella has a huge weight on her shoulders with searching for the clues to win the game.

Throughout the story, Tella needs to keep making harder and harder choices. She is also continuously questioning what is real and what is only part of the game. For her, the game is very real. But with warnings from Scarlett, she doesn’t know what to feel. That feeling of not knowing is a massive burden for her, but how she counteracts that is brilliant. I am very glad that my original thoughts of Tella changed to the point of loving her.

“Every good story needs a villain.
But the best villains are the ones you secretly like.” 

There was something super alluring about Dante within Legendary. He was a constant nuisance for Tella during Caraval. With him being super mysterious and charming, however, Tella didn’t know what to think of him. I absolutely adored their sassy and bickering conversations and I was rooting for their ship to sail. The way he didn’t want anything to happen to Donatella was heartwarming. I am super curious to find out what will happen to him in the final book, Finale.

“If you can convince yourself it’s true, you can convince anyone.”

I DO LOVE A BAD BOY. Jacks was the definition of bad. Completely somber and cold and bad. But god he is such a welcome addition to the story. The way he treated Tella was wicked and nasty but I swear deep down he feels something. He reminds me slightly of Cardan from The Cruel Prince, but even more wicked. I hope there is more of him within the final book.

“You’re the starlight to his darkness, and if you feel the same about him, you should give him another chance.”

Scarlett, although not the main focus within Legendary, was still there. But she felt super mysterious too. She struggles with her relationship with Julian after some truths he kept from her come to light. Even though she didn’t participate in the game, Scarlett is more mysterious than ever. She is holding back from telling Donatella secrets. I really hope there will be more of her within the next book.

Overall, I did ENJOY this book. I think for me though it may require a reread since it did take a while for me to get into it. I loved the mysterious aspects and the twisty turns and reveals. The lyrically pleasing writing is also a great bonus and Garber really knows what she is doing when it comes to writing.

I would recommend this book if you enjoyed Caraval. It is a highly acclaimed book and I am sure you will love it!

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