Review: Legendary (Caraval, #2) by Stephanie Garber

11:00 AM

Legendary by Stephanie Garber | Rating: ★★★★★

As a note, a printed galley of this novel was sent to me via the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

Do you hear that? Me, singing the praises of Stephanie Garber's magical world once more? Last year, the first installment of this spellbinding series Caraval blew me away--and made my best-of-2017 list. It was beyond brilliant and it froze me up for a good month because I had that delicious book-hangover sensation.

This year, Legendary is going do much of the same for very different reasons. I already expected great things from Garber based on Caraval, but Legendary not only continued the story--feeding on the dark, romantic, whimsical feeling we came to know previous--it carved out stories of its own. Many of the characters we met in Caraval appear in Legendary, but we also have the good fortune of knowing many more. And this time, we see a story told through Tella's eyes.

And, oh my God, it is vivid

Although we see Scarlett throughout the story, Legendary is truly Tella's time to shine and we still get many revelations along the way about the events in book one. I liked that we were able to add a new level of mythology to Legendary--information on Scarlett and Tella's mother, just how deeply woven their world is with Legend's master plan, new (and delicious) possible villains. Even moreso, we get to know more about the plot of Scarlett's fiancee and Legend himself.

What I loved most about this installment is that we are able to see more layers to Tella. Of the two sisters, she was my least favourite (although I hesitant to word it like that because I do quite love them both) but after reading Legendary it was obviously that I felt less connected to her because I didn't quite understand her. Throughout Legendary, we see underneath the thoughts and motives when it comes to Tella and, more importantly, we see her heart.

She's a beautifully ambitious, flawed character that I'm ecstatic to know. Together, these sisters are as unstoppable as a pair of siblings can be and I hope that we see more of that bond explored in the future.

I really loved how the game was back but in a different element. Sure, the theatrics are the same. But this is about it. This time, the stakes--and the main player--are very, very different. I loved getting to know the new layers to the story--in particular, a certain stack of cards that belonged to Tella and Scarlett's mother, the whereabouts of said mother, and the mythology of the Prince of Hearts and co.

Garber's tale of magic and intrigue still casts that perfectly romantic spell on its readers. From Tella's connection with the mysterious Dante, to the bizarre relationship she shares with the Prince of Hearts, to tiny glimpses in Scarlett's ever-complicated love life, there is no shortage of love in the air. It does not overcrowd the story, instead, it adds something extra to the plot.

Everything about Legendary is a world of complexities and fantasy and I adored it. Because once you looked closer, you really saw the depth of things throughout every reveal, every romantic interlude, and introduction. Every promise and every question will leave readers salivated over the next book. Legendary outdid itself in the suspense factor and I was positively on the edge of my seat for the duration of the book.

Once again, the story is perfectly crafted and had my heart pounding throughout the chapters. I love this world that Stephanie Garber has created and cannot sing my praises high enough--Legendary is one of my favourite books of the year and its pull is undeniable--almost as much as the game itself.

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