Thank you so much to Flatiron Books and Stephanie Garber for providing me an ARC of Finale through NetGalley!
First let me say, that this book did not at all go how I was expecting. It was another beautiful and fantastical trip into the world of Carval that Stephanie Garber has built, without an actual Caraval event to propel the story. I was a little worried at first that after the curtain had been drawn back on the magic, and Legend’s identity had been revealed, that this book wouldn’t contain what I had loved about the previous two. I was wrong. The love stories, the twists, the magical Fates, the fate of the empire! It’s all rich and suspenseful with a little bit of cheeky fun thrown in.
In Finale, Garber deviates from the single perspective, and alternates between Tell and Scarlett’s stories. I’ll admit, that at first I was rushing through Scarlett’s chapters and waiting for Tella, but towards the end I really wish that we had seen more details of Scarlett’s time with the Fated Menagerie. No spoilers – but her development there seemed like it could have been expanded upon with great results. Truly, this encompasses my only complaint with the final book of this trilogy. I wanted more. More on the Fates, more on Tella and Scarlett’s mother’s backstory, more on the Fated locations, more on Jacks, more on Tella and Scarlett’s feelings about the events happening around them. This really could have been made into multiple novels, and I hope Stephanie Garber gives us some prequel or in-between material because this world is so interesting and complex. I would devour as much material as I can get!
I really did enjoy the departure from the Caravals being the center plot device. Without that restriction, we got a much broader view of magic and a great look at the bits of the capital we might not have seen otherwise. It also led to the sisters working together more than they had in previous novels, and I was happy to see more of their interactions. AND THE LOVE STORIES. I can’t write too much, because spoilers abound, but holy swoon and hard decisions. Stephanie Garber could definitely write stand-alone romances or family dramas. The characters each are so wonderfully crafted, with complex motivations, but without a slog of telling me exactly why they feel those ways. The plot never seems to stagnate, and she continues her streak of giving me a few solvable mysteries and a few great twists I never saw coming. And the way that she describes the environment is beautiful without being too flowery. There are so many good quotes, but the following highlights what I love about her writing style, and just really transported me to that space.
Everything smelled of dust trapped in light, cracked leather, and wayward dreams.
This book felt like a dream. All-in-all I definitely recommend it to everyone who loves a good YA fantasy. Garber’s world-building skills are excellent, and she manages to balance her plot and character building perfectly. If you haven’t picked up Caraval yet, start there, Finale just released yesterday May 7, 2019 so GO CHECK IT OUT!!
Let me know if you’ve read it in the comments, or tell me some of your favorite YA fantasy stories!