My {Spoiler-Free!} Review of FINALE by Stephanie Garber

O P E N I N G   L I N E:

SCARLETT DRAGNA'S BEDROOM was a palace built of wonder and the magic of make-believe. But to a person who'd forgotten how to imagine, it might have just looked like a disaster of dresses.

(pg. 10, US e-ARC edition)

“Every story has four parts: the beginning, the middle, the almost-ending, and the true ending. Unfortunately, not everyone gets a true ending. Most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, when the situation feels hopeless, but that is where hope is needed most. Only those who persevere can find their true ending.”

~FINALE by Stephanie Garber

Do you ever regret reading a book you desperately want to read from Page 1 because it will never be the first time again? My heart isn't ready to say goodbye to this fantastic series just yet. It wasn't when I started, and it isn't two weeks after I finished reading, either. I love this series so much, and want the world to flourish and expand forever. CARAVAL was my third favorite book of 2017 and LEGENDARY was in my top five last year -- and even better than its predecessor! The expectations on FINALE were huge for me, and thankfully, it lived up to all of them.

For those of you reading this review, I do want to let you know there is a misconception out there that this is a series about the circus. It isn't. One of my friends recently said she wouldn't read it because of that. It has been compared to THE NIGHT CIRCUS by Erin Morgenstern, but that's more due to its atmosphere and the way setting and objects are brought to life so visually than it is due to a circus being involved. She also recalled one of the UK covers having a circus-like design. So if this is what's keeping you away from the series as well, I highly recommend trying it out anyway. Nothing could be further from the truth. It is about a game both lovely and vicious. It is about sisters. It is about discovering who you are. It is about falling in love. It is about Fate and magic and whimsy. It is about so many things, and I can't describe them all fully or properly here. Check out my review of CARAVAL and sneak peek, spoiler-free look at LEGENDARY for more!

I will say that, while I promise not to spoil FINALE in this review, I can't say the same for previous books, especially when it comes to LEGENDARY. There's some stuff that happens in the back half that impacts the entirety of FINALE, and it's impossible to talk about this new book without spoiling those secrets. So if you haven't read the series and don't want to hear spoilers, I would stop reading this review now! 

I have loved different things about each book in this series. In CARAVAL,  I loved the worldbuilding and the fact that Scarlett has a form of synthesia, making the world vibrant and extra visual. In LEGENDARY, my fairy tale/mythology loving heart was enamoured by the Fates and the possibility they could be real. Stakes were higher and I couldn't turn pages fast enough. In FINALE, the encounters are vicious and deadly, and the world is on the line. 

FINALE begins about two months after the events of LEGENDARY. The beginning is slow-moving as roads are being built and the Fates have yet to awaken and grounded a bit more in "reality" than other books. As magic and curses and danger ramp up, so does the story, and the back half will hold readers captive as they hurl toward the finale. 

The whimsy is still there, too -- and so is the breathtaking wardrobe. There is a dress with butterflies that I wish I could see in reality. There is a library full of animals created from the pages of books that I would love to live in. The truth behind Scarlett's magical dress was stunning, and a shining moment of the book. And I'm going to stop there before I start giving away secrets and let you experience the magic for yourself. 

What I loved the most, aside from reuniting with beloved characters, was the fact that Stephanie Garber laid down the possibility of Fates in LEGENDARY --and brought them to life in FINALE.  They are real. Cruel. Vicious. Deadly. Legend's decision to free them from their cursed deck resulted in a huge blow for humanity. The death toll is rising and it may not be possible to defeat these gods and goddesses now that their powers have returned to them. Sisters Scarlett and Donatella never dreamed that by taking part in Caraval, they would unearth secrets from their past that could destroy everything they ever wanted and hoped for and loved....

I am truly not ready to say goodbye to this series. I also have a lot of thoughts that I can't discuss just yet. All I can do is wait with bated breath for you to catch up to me so we can discuss all the things.


Content Ratings: highlight between ( ) for details

Romance: PG13 ( Kissing. Innuendo ) 
Language: PG ( Bastard, damn ) 
Violence: PG ( There are a couple of battle-ish scenes and the Fates torture people off-page )
Other:  -- 
C O V E R   D E S I G N:

I am so excited to see how this will look in person! I have BN exclusive edition, the Owlcrate edition, and the Fairyloot edition on the way. So I'll do another post about editions soon!

O F F I C I A L   I N F O:

Title:  FINALE
Author: Stephanie Garber
Release Date: May 7, 2019
Publisher: Flatiron Books // Macmillan
Received: For Review

Welcome, welcome to FINALE, the third and final book in the #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series!

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...all games must come to an end.

It’s been two months since the last Caraval concluded, two months since the Fates have been freed from an enchanted deck of cards, two months since Tella has seen Legend, and two months since Legend claimed the empire’s throne as his own. Now, Legend is preparing for his official coronation and Tella is determined to stop it. She believes her own mother, who still remains in an enchanted sleep, is the rightful heir to the throne.

Meanwhile, Scarlett has started a game of her own. She’s challenged Julian and her former fiancĂ©, Count Nicolas d’Arcy, to a competition where the winner will receive her hand in marriage. Finaly, Scarlett feels as if she is in complete control over her life and future. She is unaware that her mother’s past has put her in the greatest danger of all.

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. . .