Sunday, 14 October 2018

BOOK REVIEW: Legendary - Stephanie Garber

Book: Legendary
Author: Stephanie Garber 
Genre: Fantasy, YA 
Synopsis: A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.
After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

I read Caraval for the first time at the end of last year and fell in love with the world that Stephanie Garber had created! There were so many unanswered questions at the end of the first book that I knew I needed to get the next one as soon as it came out.

This review will contain spoilers, but check out my review for Caraval if you haven’t yet read Legendary :)

Legendary picks up right where Caraval left off; Scarlett and Tella are reunited, with Scarlett trying to figure out who she is away from her controlling father and if her relationship with Julian is real or just an extension of the game. This time, it is told from the perspective of Donatella, or Tella as she is commonly referred to, the feisty younger sister of Scarlett. Whilst Scarlett was cautious and strategic, Tella is the complete opposite; she’s free-spirited and doesn’t let people put her in a box, doing whatever she pleases which usually puts her in a bit of trouble. Tella has been corresponding with a mysterious person about finding her mother, who disappeared when she was a young girl. The story unfolds around this main event, but it doesn’t go as smoothly as Tella would have hoped.

In Caraval you didn’t really get the chance to see Tella’s personality, but this book really showed how determined she is. She's a very strong and independent character, but towards the end of the book, you see her vulnerable side start to come out which I thought was quite refreshing. Strong female characters are quite common at the moment, but I think it’s always good to show that women can be both strong, independent and determined but also have a vulnerable side, especially after a traumatic event, such as her run-in with the Undead Queen and her handmaidens! Tella really grew in this sense throughout the book and it made her more relatable and human, because everyone has days when they need help, even if they seem like the strongest person on the outside.

All the favourite characters from Caraval returned in this book as well. I liked seeing Scarlett and Julian’s relationship develop. I’m glad that it wasn’t a perfect relationship as well. All too often in books, the romantic relationships hardly seem to have any flaws and seem to be perfect, even after a big fight, but Scarlett and Julian have their moments throughout the book where their relationship is strained. I always thought that Julian was suspicious in the first book, but I still feel like he is hiding something and acting shady. In Caraval, Scarlett was reserved and didn’t like doing anything ambitious or breaking rules, but you really see her develop and come into her own. She is still not as daring as Tella, but she acts shifty and suspicious in this second book, something I wasn’t expecting to see from her character, but I liked it, it made her more complex and gave her a bit of definition. I’m excited to see how Garber continues to develop her in the final book.

Jacks was a new character introduced in his book and I am very intrigued by him. He is portrayed as the villain for most of the story, but Garber has a habit of making you 100% believe one thing about a character, then having them do one act that shows them in a completely different light so I am looking forward to see which direction she takes him! I think Jacks was a great addition to the series because he seems to be completely transparent, where as most of the other characters, you never know where they actually stand as they are playing different characters within the game of Caraval, but that could just be another trick!

I did not want to believe it when Legends identity was revealed. I was in denial all the way up until I finished the book. I know it was heavily implied throughout, but I knew from reading the first book that nothing was ever as it seemed in this world, so I really didn’t want to believe it. Part of me wishes that the identity had remained a secret until the final book, but I’m still routing for Dante. I really liked him as a character, just as Julian was in the first book, he was shady but also made you like him. Revealing him to supposedly be the lost heir is a very interesting concept and nothing is as it seems in this world so I never know what to believe! I really enjoyed seeing the relationship between him and Tella develop over the course of the book and I know that it is far from over.

I feel as though Dante’s character could go one of two ways in the final book; he could either realise this feelings for Tella are true and walk away from Legend, or he’ll try to walk away from his alter ego, but the dark side just keeps drawing him back and because he is so far into his persona  he doesn’t know who he is without Legend any more.

The writing was just as whimsical and magical as the first book, but it took me a while longer to get into the story than it did with Caraval. I think this is because I identify more with Scarlett than I do with Tella. That’s not to say I didn’t love this book though! It was magical, romantic, funny and suspenseful all in one! All throughout the first book you are told ‘Remember, it’s only a game…….’ Where as in Legendary, Tella, and the reader, are specifically told the complete opposite; ‘As fantastical as Caraval might feel, the next five nights are very real.’ I thought this was a great touch to add in, as although you are told that everything that happens in this book is real, you still don’t believe it, because of the twists and turns that Caraval had, as a reader of this series, you have been conditioned not to believe anything that is said! I think that is a tough thing to get right in a book, but Garber somehow manages to keep the reader guessing on every page.

I’ve been seeing Garber update her social media with her progress of writing Finale, the final book in the trilogy and I am so excited for its release, and to see how the ending of Legendary plays into that book!

Rating: 4 out of 5 


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