Thursday, March 01, 2018

Legendary by Stephanie Garber

After Stephanie Garber's marvelous New York Times bestselling debut novel, Caraval, was released January 31, 2017, book lovers worldwide were left with jaws dropped and minds blown.  And the tantalizing sequel, Legendary, is no exception.

Let's recap, shall we?  Scarlett had spent years daydreaming.  She and her sister, Tella had been trapped on the small island their entire lives under the watchful eye of their cruel father.  Therefore, daydreaming was the only form of escape Scarlett had.  So, what did Scarlett daydream about?  None other than Master Legend and his mystical Caraval - the annual performance that allows attendees to play an elaborate game where the winner receives one wish.  And after seven years of writing to Legend, Scarlett was finally given two tickets the upcoming game.  

During Caraval, Scarlett is continuously warned not to be too swept away, for it is only a game.  Nevertheless, she eventually becomes fully immersed inside the elaborate performance, never able to determine what is real and what is fantasy especially when it came to Julian, one of Legend's performers who stole her heart.

Caraval concluded with Scarlett saving Tella by wishing her back to life at the end of the game.  She then discovered that Tella had played a key role in an intricate plan to free them from the brutality they faced at the hands of their father.  Unfortunately for Tella, this plan came at a great cost.  She is now indebted to a mysterious criminal.  And that is where Legendary begins.

 "Though for all its glimmer and shimmer, there was something insidious about the place."

At the start of Legendary, readers learn a little about Tella's childhood - specifically, the few memories that she has of her mother, Paloma.  As one could guess from reading Caraval, Tella was a very inquisitive and adventurous child.  One day she stumbled upon Paloma's Deck of Destiny - a method of fortunetelling.  Tella could not contain her curiosity and turned over a few of the cards before her mother could stop her, thus revealing Tella's somewhat unpleasant future.  A short time later, Paloma disappeared, along with the Deck of Destiny.  

Stephanie Garber
Tella had never heard from Paloma again until her 'friend' the mysterious criminal who helped her plan the events of the last Caraval told her that he knew where she could find her mother.  In order to do reunite with Paloma and repay her debt, Tella must provide Master Legend's real name.  However, the only chance that she has of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win the next Caraval in Valenda before Elantine's Day - a celebration that includes an enchanting masquerade ball and a festival that expands across the entire Meridian Empire.

Tella accepts the challenge of playing Legend's maddening game once more, certain that she will not fall for the same illusions that deceived her sister.  But unlike the last Caraval, everything Tella experiences is very real this time around.  All of the magic and mayhem that surrounds the city of Valenda is as real as an apple is red, which means that the game just took a dangerous turn.  Now Tella is on a race against time to uncover secrets about Legend as well as her mother in order to win the game and repay her 'friend'.

"Each memory hurt, behind her eyes, in her lungs, and in her throat, growing uncomfortably tight whenever she recalled their last memory together."

Caraval is a masterpiece in my eyes, so I embarked on this 'Legendary' journey with high hopes.  Needless to say, I was not disappointed.  Like its predecessor, Garber's writing style and the magic of Caraval captivated my attention once again.  So much so, in fact, that I was almost late for several appointments.  I simply could not put this book down down.

Tella is nothing like Scarlett, and I admire her so much because of it.  Make no mistake, I adore Scarlett, but she is so pure and delicate that I could never relate to her the way I do to her sister.  Tella is sassy, sarcastic, and can hold her own.  Also unlike her sister,  Tella realizes that she cannot rely on someone else to save her, especially a man.  At one point, Garber writes, "Unfortunately Tella wasn't the sort of girl people saved - she was the one they left behind."  And that quote struck me to my core.  It shows how strong Tella is as a character as she learns how to be her own hero.  That is what I call girl power!

Garber's writing technique has left me awestruck since I discovered her work.  I love it! She uses descriptive language like "They smelled like him, like ink and secrets." and it is oddly satisfying.  Obviously you cannot smell secrets but somehow readers know exactly what she is talking about.  Additionally, Legendary managed to touch my heart deeply.  Rarely do I fall for a story and its characters the way I did for this book.  If I am being completely honest with myself and all of you, I cried over this book.  Yes, I admit it.  I had to close the book, clutch it to my chest, and weep like a child.  The events that unfolded in this particular section broke a piece of my heart that will forever remain attached to those pages, along with my tear stains.  Not many authors are able to accomplish this level of writing and pull that kind of emotion out of me, but that just makes me admire Stephanie Garber so much more.

Legendary is a book that will leave readers addicted to Tella's adventures in Caraval.  Once they pick it up, they will not be able to let go until they finish.  This is a book that I will continue to read many read many years from now.  Words cannot express how excited I am for the world to get their hands on the fantastic work of pure art.  Its amazing.  Its brilliant.  Its fabulous.  Its...its...come on you knew this was coming...its Legendary!

My Advanced Readers Copy was given to me by a friend with connections to Macmillan Publishers, and I have provided an honest review based on opinions that are entirely my own.  I am not entitled to any compensation for this review.  If you would like to preorder a copy of Legendary, click here.

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publication Date: May 29, 2018
Publisher: Flatiron Books
ISBN: 1250095312


Hey! I am Alexandrea. I am originally from North Carolina and I love all things bookish - reading and writing are what I do best so I hope you stick around to see all that my website has to offer!

1 comment:

  1. I haven't read both books yet, but I keep hearing about them and they are on my TBR. I hope to get to these books soon. The sound great!