178 Thoughts I Had While Reading Finale by Stephanie Garber

11:00 AM

It's officially been a week since Finale was released and I am still SUFFERING FROM THE BIG BAD BOOK HANGOVER IT GAVE ME. And Stephanie Garber just officially snagged Caraval a spot on my all-time favourite book series list. (Which, to be fair, she already had from the time I first read my ARC of Caraval.)


This post needs no introduction beyond I owe Stephanie Garber a kidney or something for this series because honestly? It's that important to me. I don't know, there's something about this series that is just My Brand and I'm never, ever going to forget it. It's definitely worked itself into the top five and I'm just...

I HAVE SO MANY WARM FEELINGS FOR IT. I feel like there's always a book series that has a really big meaning to me at very specific times in my life and with how hellish the last six months were (they're better now that my dad has found work) I really needed something like it. Rereading Caraval and Legendary was very much so a source of distraction for me. Finale was so highly anticipated for obvious reasons.

To be honest, my last few weeks were solely consumed by this book, and my notes on it, plus The Red Scrolls of Magic by Cassandra Clare and Wesley Chu. Finale, though, managed to snag the most of my heart and honestly, I don't think I've ever taken so many notes from a book.

Without further ado, HERE IT IS. The Finale.


  1. Fetus Scarlett and Donatella playing dress up. And their mother quietly watching.
  2. “I’m a pirate, not a princess!” BABY TELLA KNEW WHATS UP TBH!
  3. So soft, so pure.
  4. Aaaaaand there’s some good ole sibling rivalry!
  5. “A true queen’s power isn’t in her crown, my little love. It’s here.” Her mother placed a hand over her heart.
  6. Tella had a spark that could either set the whole world ablaze, or give it much-needed light.
  7. HONESTLY I AM MAKING SO MANY NOTES ALREADY. WE ARE ONLY ON PAGE THREE!!!!!! Stephanie Garber at it again.
  8. Tella and Legend/Dante. Stings in a cute way. “He was still the most beautiful liar she’d ever seen.
  9. Tella smacking the top hat off his head is the most on brand thing I’ve ever seen and also uhhhh same girl!
  10. “...as vibrant as a freshly cut wound.”
  11. Yes! Tella! Make him work for your forgiveness. I love him but he has no right to be irritated when he cannot muster an ounce of apologetic energy.
  12. Legend is honestly one of my top ten characters. Like, is he a magical F*ck Boy? Probably. But, is he intensely fascinating and completely compelling? Yes. The perfect balance between hero and villain. He just is. He is Legend. He is a Legend.
  13. Screaming at Legend setting the dream in THE CHURCH OF LEGEND. I bet he has a coffee mug that says “WORLDS BEST GAME MASTER” or “HONK IF YOU LOVE LEGEND” tbh
  14. I don’t know why but Tella describing her sparkling green cordial and how it tasted like black licorice made me taste black licorice for a moment. I hate black licorice so:
    Me:
    0
    Stephanie Garber:
    10
  15. Wheezing at Tella and Legend’s exchange about his appearance. We love a bantering duo!
  16. Oh, I do so hate when you wake up to the taste of fire and find you have a dead butterfly in your palm. It really is not fun.
  17. Quick, someone design Tella’s periwinkle dress. I need.
  18. “Legend stole kingdoms with lies. Legend wrangled the stars.” The man, the myth, the, and I say this with all the flourish imaginable, Legend.
  19. I NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING ABOUT ESMERALDA. ABSOLUTELY. EVERYTHING. Red haired witch?????? Who basically created Legend????? Sign. Me. TF. UP. NOW!
  20. I always wondered if Legend was a Fate.
  21. Tella realizing that Legend is exactly as the stories she’d always heard—at least, for now, who knows where the story is to go—is so heartbreaking but really reaffirming.
  22. Woo, time for some Scarlett POV! My OG daughter.
  23. I wish Scarlett wasn’t keen on meeting Nicolas. He could be a perfect gentleman for all we know. But, Julian and Scarlett were made for each other.
  24. There he is! but... 5 weeks? You gots some explaining to do, sir.
  25. Julian and Nicolas are out here doing The Most, huh
  26. Scarlett coming in quick with that Tella flex!
  27. Ooooh that’s creepy. Is it a Fate? A copycat? Another performer from Caraval? I have questions!
  28. Yeah, I figured Julian left out of either anger or fear. Or both, even. I am not surprised but that isn’t a bad thing! In fact, gimme the angsty confessions! All of them!
  29. Yay! Scarlett and Julian saved them!
  30. Well little girl I, too, think that Miss Scarlett Dragna is magical!
  31. Not to be dramatic but if no one makes a necklace based on the key that is no longer rusty but crystalline, I am cancelling the whole book community. Sorry, kids, I don’t make the rules! And honestly, I just want a Caraval necklace to pair with my Deathly Hallows, Angelic Power Rune and Mockingjay necklaces.
  32. Tella............ finding her mom. Sitting up in bed. Talking. WE ARE SHOOK.
  33. I am forever intrigued by Paloma.
  34. Ugh, I had a feeling she wouldn’t still be in the bed/apartment by the time Tella returned from getting the food.
  35. Paloma’s note hurts. I WANT MY GIRLS TO BE HAPPY AND SAFE. STOP HURTING THEM
  36. EVEN EMOTIONALLY
  37. I am emo. It’s fine.
  38. Fear was a poison that people mistook as protection. Love. It. So true.
  39. Well that was a twist!!!! I hate that she just drugged her own daughter.
  40. Enter a new mystery: GAVRIEL
  41. WHAT
  42. IS
  43. EVEN
  44. HAPPENING
  45. RIGHT
  46. NOW
  47. Oh my god, is Paloma dead?
  48. So soon????????????
  49. STILL. WHAT. FATE. IS. GAVRIEL. DID I MISS SOMETHING????? AM I TOO TIRED TO REMEMBER????
  50. Jacks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! HAS!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ARRIVED!!!!!!!
  51. Oh how I missed my morally questionable son.
  52. I know I shouldn’t love him but I doooo. SO. MUCH.
  53. Tella, honey :(
  54. #PROTECTDONATELLADRAGNAATALLCOSTS
  55. Way to look on the brightside, Jacks.
  56. Jacks, after showing he cares: I do not care.
  57. .........................................
  58. Oooh so Gavriel is the Fallen Star. I am intrigued. Also terrified.
  59. Why do I get the feeling that Jacks owns a crop top that says Cute But Psycho across the chest? Okay, fine, I am sleep deprived and just had two glasses of wine. Time to regroup tomorrow.
  60. (Hello, future Jessica.)
  61. Honestly JACKS IS A MURDEROUS SOFTIE. Convince me otherwise.
  62. Traveling through time is ONLY a mistake if you aren’t with the Doctor, Jacks.
  63. This is TOTALLY not going to backfire, Jacks, Tella. Nope. Of course not.
  64. We clasp hands and say magic words is also my pick up line, Jacks. It's also first base.
  65. I... never would have guessed I’d care for Jacks, honestly. BUT OUCH. Him doing this for Tella. Crying for Tella. Being uncertain that him taking away her pain was the right thing. OWIE. I KNOW he's probably going to hurt Tella and us all but like... Jacks.
  66. LEGEND. I KNOW YOU DID NOT JUST HAVE MY GIRL TELLA ARRESTED. SQUARE UP PUNK!!!!!!
  67. No one cares what you prefer, YOU BASTARD—Donatella Dragna, probably
  68. Tella having to relive Paloma’s death. Having to break the news to Scarlett. Hurts!!!!!!!!!!
  69. But yes honeys! The Dragna sisters are like okay pause in the mourning, let’s go hunt the Fates! *queues up the Shadowhunters theme song*
  70. Legend being all chilly and stiff feels fake to me. Even if it isn’t, I’m still like @ Stephanie Garber: SOUNDS FAKE BUT O K A Y.
  71. Jovan! SUP!
  72. AN ENTIRE WEDDING PARTY TURNED TO STONE. And then the bride’s sister sacrifices herself. Sounds like a wedding to remember.
  73. Legend? Acting like a legitimately caring royal figure? More likely than you think!
  74. STEPHANIE I AM FEELING VERY ATTACKED RIGHT NOW BY HOW MUCH I LOVE TELLA AND LEGEND I—
  75. I don’t remember anyone saying, “You know what this chapter needs? A little Armando.” Guarding Tella??? No. This is bad decision, hear it sputter to a stop and then catch fire. I judge thee. Then again, I have apologized to my TV controller after dropping it, roughly two times this week, so I probably have no right to judge Legend’s choices.
  76. Scarlett needs a nap AND a vacation.
  77. UH OH!!???? What just happened ???
  78. Tella is literally brilliant.
  79. Domestic Julian and Scarlett.
  80. Oooh! So the key the girl gave Scarlett may be a Fated object: the Reverie Key. Colour me intrigued. Seriously: Scarlett’s dress, colour me intrigued.
  81. MISTRESS LUCK HAS ARRIVED.
  82. Tella and Jacks after anyone insinuates they are together, in love with, or care about each other: No! I hate that dweeb! dozens of pictures spill out of their pockets
  83. Love and immortality cannot coexist is my new favourite quote from the series. I feel like I just got struck down by lightning or wore all white after labor day.
  84. Jacks: ALL EYES ON ME THE CENTER OF THE RING JUST LIKE A CIRCUS! The Prince of Hearts is a Britney Spears stan! Confirmed!
  85. So if the Vanished Market doesn’t have what I want, but what I need, does that mean it’s basically the Mall of America only instead of shops it’s just therapist offices after therapists office? For me? Gee, you shouldn’t have, Fate!
  86. Sea Turtle Messaging is so much cheaper than Verizon so I totally see why it’s so popular in the Southern Empire.
  87. I will never get over how beautifully written this series is. Completely in awe.
  88. YAAAASSS LEGEND!!!! Tell the gossips off!!!!!
  89. Legend giving off Fall Out Boy vibes! “I don’t care what anyone says, as long as they’re saying things about me.” Soooo! Jacks is a BSpears stan, Legend is a Fall Out Boy stan, Scarlett’s dress is a Halsey stan...
  90. “Both of you are terrible.” Preach, Tella!
  91. NOOOOO SCARLETT!!!!!!!!!
  92. The audacity of Legend right now. I love him but loooord.
  93. THAT ESCALATED REALLY QUICKLY
  94. OH
  95. MY
  96. GOD
  97. I—
  98. I have this suspicion that this book is named Finale because it will kill me and truly be my literature finale. Everyone hold a Caraval themed funeral for me! Time to paaaarty!
  99. The dog barking. I wondered if Nicolas told Papa Cruelty (I refuse to say his name or refer to him as the father of the two ANGELS thus I've penned him Papa Cruelty) but now... with the dog barking. The smell. RIP, Nicolas.
  100. Oh my God. I knew it was coming but still. I don’t know if the Count did or did not deserve this but...
  101. So the question is what Fate helped Papa Cruelty. Fallen Star?
  102. I get the same impression Tella had. He didn’t go down without a fight. So it seems. I never trust anything in this series, though, not fully.
  103. I feel so bad for the dog.
  104. Tella wishing Jacks was there to take away the pain. My heart—
  105. I love how Garber created this game of Caraval. And how the game has bled into the real world, no Caraval required. Legend and his performers play the game—but it feels like the Fates play one of their own inventions.
  106. Protection? Wait, I have a theory about Fallen Star. I am not going to say it, though, because I am likely wrong...
  107. NOPE I WAS RIGHT. HE IS HER FATHER. I wondered if one of them was the product of Paloma/Gavriel especially since (1) when they kidnapped Scarlett they mentioned her father wanting her unharmed. (2) Garber always brings up the difference in the sisters skin colour—which always felt like a little clue. Also, wheezing at the accuracy of, “This had to be a mistake. She already had one power-hungry father. She didn’t deserve another one.”
  108. Anissa is pulling up the receipts of truth from her cage right now.
  109. Stephanie did that! She’s been laying hints since day one. Scarlett being able to see emotion in colour. Daaaaamn! In this house, we love foreshadowing.
  110. Tella: Me? Want you? IN YOUR DREAMS!
    Jacks, in her dreams later that night: Hey girl! This is my compromise!
  111. To trust The Lady Prisoner or not...
  112. REUNITED AND IT FEELS SO GOOD
  113. DORKS. Finally saying I love you! I love one couple.
  114. Hate that this happened to Nicolas.
  115. The heart and soul of this series remains forever the same: the love between sisters.
  116. The servants... this is disturbing.
  117. Scarlett is so brave. My daughter.
  118. I paused my reading to get a cherry turnover and some coffee because of LITERALLY EVERYTHING THAT IS HAPPENING IN FINALE.
  119. Tella having the talk with Julian and he is probably secretly quivering in fear.
  120. The twins sound excellent. Fun at parties. I dig it.
  121. OH SHIT. So they know her future. In their past, they see her future—and her future daughter.
  122. Legend: *SurpiseBitch.gif*
  123. Tella is definitely similar to her mother in a lot of ways. I think we all understand her a bit more now.
  124. Finally! The Assassin.
  125. The theme of my next birthday party will be Hostages at a Tea Party. Instead of tea we're having wine.
  126. Aiko! I’ve been missing her. I was a bit worried we wouldn’t see her before the series ends. I have been fascinated by her for so long and always wanted to know a bit more.
  127. Ohhh luckless coins
  128. Tella is right. Duh.
  129. Honestly I respect Julian and Tella’s almost friendship. Something about it.
  130. Ouch! Tella and Legend. Ouch.
  131. Ughhhh I want to NOT ship Tella with either Legend or Jacks but I so do.
  132. Jaaaaaaacks. Jaaaaaaaacks.
  133. I love how threatening The Priestess sounds.
  134. Legend you are a dumbass.
  135. Jacks! No! Why! I—seriously? Damnit.
  136. The fact that either Jacks and Legend think they can tell her to do this or that, or that they can own her, is laughable. You cannot own Donatella Dragna. Ever.
  137. I love Jacks but what he did was not okay. I don’t care if he knew Legend wouldn’t let Tella die. CATCH ME FEELING BETRAYED BY A FATE. Things it be: MY OWN FAULT. But, I am okay with that. I am entitled to at least five trash decisions per year.
  138. Julian dropping truths on Legend. Yes sir.
  139. Rather fond of The Lady Prisoner and Scarlett.
  140. DAAAAAAMN.
  141. “Donatella marries the Prince of Hearts.” HELLO IT IS I, THE WIELDER OF QUESTIONS.
  142. OH SHIT. JACKS YOU GOT SOME SPLAININ TA DOOOOOO.
  143. Tella is about to open up a can of whoop ass on dear ole Jacks. Grab the popcorn ladies!
  144. Honestly I love Jacks even though he is a trashbag. Is this what everyone felt towards The Darkling from The Grisha trilogy and what’s his name from Throne of Glass?
  145. Apple Sucking Demon is likely what my AIM screen name would be if it were 2004. Appl3SuckingDem0n to be exact. Away message: being foul, heartless, wretched and everything fun. Cells good, txt it, xoxo
  146. Waiting for Jacks to go all Amy Dunne on Tella. “I’m THE APPLE SUCKING DEMON YOU MARRIED.”
  147. I no longer want Jacks and Tella together buuut
  148. OH
  149. OHHHH
  150. OHHHH
  151. OUCH?????
  152. Waiting patiently for the next heartbreak no big deal
  153. Ohhhh these murals. Stephanie, you are killing me with how gorgeous your writing is. So potent. Intoxicating.
  154. Definitely had a feeling that’s how Legend would react when Tella finally said yes.
  155. Scarlett’s growing power makes me a bit uneasy. In a fun, wee I’m on top of the rollercoaster, way!
  156. The Fallen Star is one crazy bastard!
  157. On one hand JULIAN YOU ARE ABOUT TO ENDANGER YOURSELF AND SCARLETT. On the other hand, GO GET YA CRIMSON LOVE BOY!
  158. Yes Scarlett press those buttons girl!
  159. Ah, yes. Like all good love stories, it started when she threatened to kill me.
  160. Yesss Tella. Tell-uh-him.
  161. There ain’t no party like a torturous Fates party
  162. Fergie lied. a little party definitely could kill somebody
  163. Jacks is freaking WILD.
  164. THIS MAKES ME SO SAD AND SAD AND I
  165. I’d rather be forward than backward. A queen.
  166. That was emotionally exhausting and I loved it all.
  167. “She cried for the horrors he had been, and she cried for the wonders that he could have been instead.” AND THEN I CRIED BECAUSE I AM EMOTIONAL AND THAT WAS A MOMENT.
  168. Yessss!!!!! Legend did a smarts!!!!!!!!!!
  169. GET YA GIRL LEGEND
  170. GET
  171. YA
  172. MORTALITY
  173. “I don’t need immortality. You’re my forever.” AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH
  174. I had a feeling when Tella said she’d become immortal for him, and he was quick to backtrack, he’d toss his immortality to the side eventually.
  175. The True Ending... I am not ready.
  176. OFFICIAL CORONATION OF SCARLETT MARIE DRAGNA. I LOVE THIS SONG!!!!!!!!!!!
  177. Scarlett the Fate Slayer
  178. Julian loves Scarlett so much and brought her what remained of the beloved, magical dress AND THE WHOLE SCENE. THEY OWN MY WHOLE HEART.

I love dying and being dead. NO BUT REALLY, in all honesty? This series is everything and Finale was great. 
BRB, going to go cry over it.

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