"This was why love was so dangerous. Love turned the world into a garden, so beguiling it was easy to forget that rose petals were as ephemeral as feelings, eventually they would wilt and die, leaving nothing but thorns."
Legendary is book 2 in the wonderful and mystical Caraval trilogy by Stephanie Garber. The series follows a pair of sisters, Scarlett and Donatella Dragna. Scarlett constantly lives in fear, fear of her father and fear for her sister. She's the protector, always playing it safe in order to keep her and her sister alive. Donatella is vibrant, and very much so wants to live her life to the fullest. In other words, not to live in fear. Caraval, the first book, follows Scarlett as she plays a game, and not just any game, Caraval. Caraval is where everything feels real, but you can't trust your senses, because it's possible nothing is real. The game is a series of clues, leading to an end goal, and the winner is granted one wish from the Caraval's magical creator, Legend, a man who is never seen, but who everyone has heard of. The issue is the game feels real, you don't know who is an actor, planted to create a more interested game, or another player. Scarlett doesn't intend to play Caraval... but when her sister is taken and the only way she can get her back is to win, she must join in. The first book was amazing, and I highly recommend it. If you have yet to read Caraval, feel free to go check out my review of it-- and don't read any further here! You're about to be spoiled on the first book. Stop reading now if you have yet to read the first book.
While Caraval was told from Scarlett's point of view, Legendary is told from Donatello's, or "Tella's." If I'm being completely honest, I bought the book but didn't immediately pick it up. I wasn't all that excited to read it-- I remembered how much I enjoyed Caraval, but I also remembered that I wasn't the biggest fan of Tella. The end of Caraval actually felt like a good ending, too, so I wasn't even hooked enough to feel a need to read this book.
Boy, was I wrong.
While Caraval was good, Legendary was spectacular. It managed to retain all the mystery and intrigue of the first book, while adding in higher stakes and all together a more enthralling plot. Perhaps part of what made Legendary so, well, legendary was that I was already attached to (some) of the characters and their fates, and I also already knew the world, and therefore did not need to be introduced to it.
Of course, I didn't actually remember the details of the first book, since it had been a year since I'd last read it, but I did remember the general feel of the book. Let me just tell you, this book was so good, that I just had to go and read the first book again, just to remember what happened, and pick up on the hints that I'd missed from what I know now. AND IT WAS SO WORTH IT!!! AHH. Sorry, I'm just freaking out, I'm still in shock and am amazed at just how astoundingly perfect this book was. I may not have been a fan of Tella before, but now I definitely love her.
"She was bold. She was brave. She was cunning. And she was going to come out of this triumphant-- no matter the cost."
Caraval also was not the end of Scarlett or Julian's story, either. Their story continues on in this one, with them being not as involved in the plot as the first, but still having some stuff going on. In fact, I found myself missing Scarlett a bit whilst reading this book, and wishing we did get to see into her head, just to see her thoughts on some occurrences in the story.
Legendary just constantly keeps you guessing. On what's real, what's happening, who's what, what's going on, what is real, what is fake, what is ANYTHING. Yeah, you might think you have a leg up, a more solid footing after reading the first book. You're familiar with Caraval, after all, so shouldn't you have an easier time figuring things out? NO. You're guessing, and then you're second guessing, and then you're third guessing every single thing. There's just occurrences in the game you need to figure out, trying to find out peoples' motives and whatnot, and then there's the big question you'd been wondering since book one: Who the **** (you can fill in any word you'd like there) is Legend? At times you may be thinking AHA so he's Legend. And then it's like nope, he's Legend. Nope he's Legend. And then you just start questioning your own existence because why not.
It's still a game, still a complicated puzzle to figure out, but this time the stakes are so much higher. Because the game... some of the game is real. Here you're introduced to lore. The Fates are magical beings who once ruled the world like tyrants... and now it seems they may be back.
I find it amazing that this is Stephanie Garber's first series, because the writing is impeccable, the story is flawless, the characters are well rounded, and the plot is engrossing. It's a perfectly crafted world. Legendary didn't even fall down the hole of a being a letdown after a first spectacular book. It exceeded the first book's standards. I would give Legendary 9/10 stars and highly recommend it to anyone and everyone. If you chose not to immediately pick this book up with similar reservations as me, ignore them! Pick it up now! You won't regret it. This series earned a place on my fvaroties shelf, and I'm am throughly pumped for the next book-- what do you mean I HAVE TO WAIT ALMOST ANOTHER YEAR?!!!! Ugh. Talk about torture here.
Anyway, here's the 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.
The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.
Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun.
Wow, I just... this book was just so amazing. Jacks. Dante. WHAT EVEN IS GOING TO HAPPEN IN THE NEXT BOOK? HOW WILL ANYTHING BE FIXED? HOW. WHAT IS WITH DANTE? WHAT IS WITH JACKS? WHO IS TELLA GOING TO END UP WITH? WHO THE fudge knows.
Dante is Legend. Legend is Dante. I went back and read Caraval and IT WAS SO HINTED THERE. Like haha Marcello killed Dante thinking he was killing Legend... AND HE WAS RIGHT! And also just like throughout the book is was hinted towards him, so knowing what I know, rereading Caraval was so satisfying-- seeing everyone's reactions to Julian too.... Wow. It's so with rereading. I'm planning on rereading Legendary soon too, just to see all the hints towards Dante being Legend.
I thought Dante might be Legend, and throughout the book I was feeling more certain that he was. But every time I was feeling slightly solid on who Legend was, I was like wait... could it be Julian though? Honestly, it was so confusing.
I did really love Dante and Tella from the very beginning of the book. Their banter gave me life. Also the part where he was literally spying and heard she said he as a bad kisser HA. So good. Such a quality book. Ah. Just perfect. And then Dante got mad at Armando when he insults Scarlett... cute. Cute.
Also when you realize the word moment that like even though Tella and Julian didn't do anything in the first book and neither did Dante and Scarlett, both were kinda like almost doing stuff with each other and I think that's weirdly ironic as well as the fact that they're both siblings dating each other's siblings.
And speaking of dating. Let's just talk about Scarlett and Julian's relationship. I loved the strain on it in this book. Maybe because I'm just a dramatic bitch, but I really enjoyed that their story is far from over. I love how committed Julian is to try and keep Scarlett won over (because yes, I do love Julian), but I also love that Scarlett really stood up for herself and was like yeah, not now, Julian. The drama of their relationship was quite enjoyable. Like, if they don't end up together I'm gonna be mad, but I love that there's still drama in it. Also some people probably hate Scarlett for playing Julian and D'Arcy at the end of the book, but I think it's going to be fun to read about. I'm really looking forward to it, haha. As long as Julian wins out in the end. But YESS I'm really looking forward to that small bit in the next book (it's going to be relatively irrelevant compared to the issues with the fates... but still.)
And then we can't forget to talk about Jacks. While I really like Dante and Tell's relationship, I'm intrigued about Jacks. (also Jacks like the Jack of hearts? IDK he does turn people in cards). Like Tella is his true love, she made his heart beat again... Surely that has to mean something. I'm quite looking forward to seeing the complexity of that relationship in the next book.
Anyway, thanks for reading!