Finale, by Stephanie Garber
Published: 9th May 2019
⭐️ 3 / 5
Here we are with book 3. The finale of the Caraval series, titled Finale. As you may have seen from my reviews of the first 2 instalments I haven’t been overly impressed with what has been a very hyped, very popular series. Hasn’t stopped me from finishing the series though or collecting a UK first edition with a hidden cover for each book. 😂
The real strength of Finale is the world building. With the Fates running around Trisda this allowed Garber to delve into the faith and mythology of the world which feels like a bottomless pit at times. However I use the term ‘bottomless pit’ because there are some loose plot threads left at the end. There seems to be so much going on that things were brought up and then forgotten about. There was far too much focus on the metaphors and writing techniques used to define the two sisters rather than getting on with a workable plot. As well as the world building, I did really did enjoy the magic system. Everything was very fleshed out, tangible and well developed. Garber was able to showcase her almost lyrical writing style here. I truly believe she is an excellent author but this book, and the wider series isn’t the kind of excellence I think we could expect from her in the future.
With the release of the Fates, naturally that means these characters have been introduced which certainly added an exciting new element. Jacks and Paloma were particular favourites for me because they were so brilliantly unpredictable. This installment of the book was written with the point of view shifting between Scarlett and Tella which meant the story felt more complete than the previous two books, which only followed one sister each and I felt that half of the story was missing as a result. I still found Scarlett to be a wet paper towel of a character, but it was nice to see both sisters fighting for each other in their own ways. Garber has always framed this story as one about sisters and it was nice to see it end that way.
I feel like this has been quite a vague review but I honestly don’t know what to say except it really didn’t ‘land’ with me. This was an appropriate conclusion to this fantasy series but I found it very predictable and as disappointing as the rest of the series considering the hype around the books. The most frustrating thing is that Stephanie Garber is clearly a good author but there is just so much unspent potential in her writing that is not seen in this series, in my opinion. I will definitely be reading whatever she publishes next but I doubt I will re-read Caraval at any point.
Scarlett and Tella Dragna must fight for their happy endings after a tragedy sends Tella on a treacherous path for revenge… 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. Welcome, welcome to the Caraval’s Finale. All games must come to an end…from Waterstones – I am not affiliated with this, or any other, bookshop.