Last year, I reviewed Stephanie Garber’s debut novel Caraval. I fell in love with the world and the magic, despite the well-known tropes used in the book. Last May, Caraval’s sequel Legendary was released. I picked it up as soon as I could. Legendary is truly a sequel, in the fact that it takes place just a day after Caraval ended. This time the protagonist is Scarlet’s sister Tella. It promises to be another book filled with magic, love and mayhem. But is it any good? Well, remember, it is just a game.
What’s Legendary about?
GoodReads says the following:
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.
The stakes are high this time
Caraval may have just been a game, but in Legendary, the game is very real. Tella has tampered with the Fates, ancient beings which ruled the world centuries ago. Either the Fates are destroyed, or Legend is. The thing I loved about this sequel is that it did feel like the game was real this time. I think it even translated in the language that was used. I feel like Caraval was written in a far more poetic way than Legendary is. This is not a bad thing. It suits Tella, who is a lot less damsel in distress than her sister is. Every time something bad happened, it felt like it Tella was in real trouble. For the most part, she managed to get by on her own. Tella is a strong female character, different from her sister in the sense that she feels like she has to do things alone. I liked that she was brave and wanted to take care of herself.
A thing that was a bit annoying to me was the amount of times the goal had to be repeated. Tella continuously says that she has to destroy the Fates and repay her debt. We know what we’re here for. We don’t need to read it all the time. It feels a bit repetitive. All in all, the story still managed to sweep me away. While the plot twists weren’t exactly surprising, as there were big neon signs which announced it all throughout the book, I still enjoyed it a lot. While I hope that the third instalment, Finale, will be a bit more surprising, Legendary is still a good sequel.
Most of the characters return from the first novel in the series. Scarlet and Julian take a back seat, but Dante is a lot more present. I enjoyed his character. He reminded me of Rhys in the A Thorn Of Court And Roses series. As Rhys is one of my favourite characters in a series, this was a good thing. Tella was enjoyable as the protagonist. She is bold and daring, although perhaps a bit naive now and then. Regardless, she was interesting to read about.
One of the new characters which I particularly enjoyed was Jacks. While I won’t share too much about him, suffice to say he is one of those very enjoyable bad guys. While his storyline wasn’t altogether surprising, I still felt like he added a lot of dynamic to the story. I hope we will get to see more of him in the third book.
Legendary is an easy read that will sweep you away in the magic. You do have to read the first book in the series for this one to make sense. If you didn’t like Caraval, this book might not be for you. Personally I am excited to read how the story ends.