No spoilers in this review of Legendary by Stephanie Garber. I give it 4 stars. The overall tone was light and playful, and the writing was chock full of flowery descriptions, especially in the first two-thirds of the book. When the climax was imminent, Garber concentrated a little more on storytelling and a little less on imagery.
Legendary focuses on Scarlett’s sister Donatella (Tella), a secondary character in Caraval. The very end of book 1 hints at Tella’s role in getting Scarlett into the game in the first place, and now Tella must pay up to the anonymous benefactor who helped her gain her sister’s admittance. Tella not only owes her “friend” payment for the first favor but now also owes for a new one she’s asking of him or her. So Tella enters a special round of Caraval in book 2 with much more complicated motives than Scarlett’s in book 1.
The side tasks Tella’s “friend” gives her made everything in the game seem a little too real to me. I started wondering whether this special round really was a game at all or if it was something more sinister. It was fun second guessing everyone’s motives and roles throughout the story. Garber really messed with my head for a while! 😉
There were several reveals at the end of the book, and the foreshadowing gave me a pretty good idea of what they were ahead of time. But I didn’t mind guessing these plot points because the entire end of the book was just so much fun. In fact, the ending bumped my rating from 3 stars to 4. I would say I liked the first three-fourths of the book and then loved how it wrapped up.
I wish I could ask Garber how much of this she had planned when she started writing Caraval. Did she know the characters’ backgrounds and ulterior motives all along? I’m curious about one character in particular but won’t name him or her to avoid anything remotely spoilery. Let’s just say we get to know one character from book 1 a lot better, and each scene in which we did was so much fun!
I think Legendary was even better than Caraval, and I recommend it to everyone who loved book 1 in this series. And I recommend both books to anyone looking for a fun, light read on the younger side of YA. Garber once again left me hanging in the final pages of this story, so I will be picking up Finale as soon as it comes out next year!
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