Legendary (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber

legendaryLegendary is the second instalment of Stephanie Garber’s Caraval Trilogy.  It’s another colourful confection with sumptuous descriptions of balls, palaces and tricky games played out following a trail of cookie crumbs.

I think it’s probably safe to say that if you liked Caraval you’ll almost certainly like Legendary.  I admit that I enjoyed both books although on balance I probably liked the first the most. I found myself having reservations along the way and both books definitely led to a feeling of indulgence – which, I think stems from the fact that I’m aware of the issues that I have and yet I still can’t help reading in fairly short order and just plain enjoying the read.

To the plot.  The story this time around is told from Tella’s POV.  Tella has her own reasons for wanting to succeed and it seems that she’s made a pact with an unknown man who seems to be of a risky persuasion.  Tella and Scarlett’s mother disappeared from their lives many years ago and until now her whereabouts have been a mystery.  Winning Caraval could change all of that.  Names are powerful things and it seems that somebody is very keen to have Legend’s true name.  Can Tella succeed in finding out about the man behind the spectacle.

The characters.  Well, as mentioned, this time the story is told from Tella’s pov.  She’s playing the game and although Scarlett wanted to join in she seems indisposed for the majority of the story.  We do have the addition of two extra characters.  One called Dante who seems determined to follow in Tella’s footsteps.  Dark of hair and of nature Dante is a conundrum and yet somehow he feels fair rather than foul.  The other character, Jack, has a more dangerous feel.  Both of them are mysteries when it comes to their identities.  Of course we have other secondary characters who are there as props of the game and we of also have a few flashbacks to Tella’s mother.

The writing is again lush and although I can see how some might find Garber’s flowery prose a bit too much I find myself wallowing in it.  I just like her style and find it very easy to read.  It’s sugary sweet and uses all sorts of colours, feelings and food to pull together descriptions.

My criticisms are probably similar to the first book.  I don’t really buy into the strength of feelings between the two sisters – which might be simply because they barely spend any time together in either of the books.  I thought Legendary lost some of the fun of the game itself – but again, I think that’s because the author is taking things down a slightly darker route – the potential outcomes certainly seemed a lot more dangerous, in fact when I really think about it there was very little of the actual game involved this time.  And, there is a romance taking place – not really a criticism to be honest just thought it worth mentioning.

In terms of what I really enjoyed.  I liked the introduction of the Tarot cards and the fates all being intertwined.  As with the first I loved the creativity and magic around Caraval itself.  I thought we had a real opportunity to find out more about Tella and her strengths and weaknesses.  And, can’t tell a lie – I enjoyed the romance elements and I think plenty of other readers probably will do so as well.  The conclusion leaves the way open to a number of possibilities and I’m certainly intrigued to see what comes next – not least of all who the POV of the third instalment will be.

Overall, I had issues with this book but at the same time I found myself completely unperturbed by them.  This was an easy read for me and an enjoyable one in spite of any quibbles I picked up along the way.

I received a copy through Netgalley courtesy of the publisher, for which my thanks.  The above is my own opinion.