by Stephanie Garber
Series: Caraval #3
Published on May 7, 2019 by Flatiron Books
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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 fiancé, 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. . .
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How does one describe the ending to a magical series, a true Finale?
Honestly, I’ve struggled so much to put my thoughts into a cohesive review of this book. Ever since I read Caraval, I’ve been obsessed with this world, this series, these characters. And seeing it come to its conclusion is both utterly perfect and so sad (but in the best way).
If you haven’t read the first two books, you may find spoilers in this review for those (none for Finale). You’ve been warned.
Finale alternates between Scarlett and Tella’s points of view, following two somewhat distinct but interconnected storylines. Everything that’s been building from Caraval and Legendary comes to a head in one final showdown between the magical Fates introduced last book and the daughters of the Isle of Trisda. Scarlett and Julian have had somewhat of a strained relationship but I love that they would do anything for each other. This becomes crucial in the story to come, especially when Scarlett uncovers a secret that will change everything.
But Tella. . . well, ever since Legendary, she’s been my favorite sister. I shouldn’t pick favorites, I know, and I love both dearly, but it’s Tella who I wanted to follow. She’s so strong and has gone through so much for her mother, and with Legend. Not to mention the Prince of Hearts, Jacks, from the last book. Her and Legend’s relationship has always been a bit up in the air for me. Will they end up together or won’t they? Will Legend finally admit his feelings? I NEEDED TO KNOW. And throw a Fate into the mix? Her perspective, especially, kept me hooked.
Finale blended both the old and new so well. I felt at home returning to these characters and their troubles but there was plenty of new stuff — secrets, plot twists, character relationships — that I was never bored and always on my toes. This book blends fear and love, betrayal and trust, swooning and adventure and magic, all in one frenzied conclusion that I couldn’t put this book down if I tried.
This review is so hard to write because this book has so much emotion wrapped into it and I don’t want to spoil anything because everyone should experience this magic with fresh eyes.
Now the ending. Obviously I wanted everything to work out and happy endings all around. But I wasn’t sure how I wanted it to play out. And sometimes a complete happily ever after isn’t what the story needs so I couldn’t really guess how things would end. In truth, it was perfect. Finale concludes in a way I didn’t expect but fit perfectly with the series as a whole. And that very last scene, those final pages. . . I can’t imagine them any other way. This might be one of the most satisfying series conclusions I’ve read, and while I would love to have more books in the Caraval world, I don’t think I’d want to see these characters again beyond cameos. Let’s give them a chance to enjoy their literary lives.
I loved Finale. I’ve been on this journey since Caraval and seeing these characters grow and go through so much. . . it’s been a truly magical experience and I will forever count Stephanie Garber among my must-buy authors. I look forward to seeing where her writing takes us in the future.
If you’ve ever been on the fence about this series, read these books. You will not regret it.