Caraval Readalong: Day 1

Awesome photo by @fictiontea

Welcome, welcome, my friends!

It’s day 1 of the ‘Caraval‘ Readalong! Which we’re doing to prepare for the third and final book in the ‘Caraval‘ trilogy.

Just to get you guys up to speed, we are going to be doing our first ever Special Edition box for ‘Finale‘ this coming May. This box is in collaboration with Stephanie Garber, and every wonderful item inside has her seal of approval. Not only that, but the book we will be featuring will have an exclusive cover, be signed by the author and have stunning stencil sprayed edges!

We are so excited for this box and passionate about this series that we really wanted to host a Readalong to prepare for the final book and familiarise ourselves with the story. Some of you may remember that we actually featured ‘Caraval‘ in our January 2017 box!

I’m Lauren, and I’m going to be hosting the ‘Caraval‘ Readalong with you guys! It’s definitely been a hot second since I read this book. I read the ARC back in late 2016, so I’m very excited to be re-reading the first book along with you all. And, If you’re reading for the first time, I hope you enjoy the story we’re about to dive into.

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Today we’re starting the Readalong by reading chapters 1 – 7, and stopping at the beginning of chapter 8.

Are you ready to enter the world of Caraval?

Let’s do this!

Please be warned, the following will include spoilers for Caraval chapters 1-7 inclusively. Read only if you’ve finished those chapters!


Caraval‘ opens with multiple letters from Scarlett Dragna to Legend, Master of Caraval. Most of them are Scarlett asking him to come for her sister’s birthday to perform. The final letter is from Legend to Scarlett, asking her and her fiance to join his next performance.

Scarlett is so excited about receiving the latter from Legend that she unknowingly runs in on her sister, Donatella Dragna, as she’s sneaking around downstairs with Julian, a young sailor, who personally found mysterious from the very beginning. Tella is equally as excited about the letter, but see’s Scarlett’s doubt about actually accepting the invitation.

The excitement and conversation is cut short by the entrance of Scarlett and Tella’s father, who’s a very mean man, I don’t like him one bit. Nuh-uh! He strikes Tella, and threatens that if anything gets in the way of Scarlett’s wedding, her beloved sister is on the line. Which is pretty cruel! I mean, how could you threaten yout own daughter like that?

Scalett and Tella argue over what’s best. Tella believes they should go to Caraval, whilst Scarlett is stuck believing that her mysterious fiance will invite her sister to live with them once they are married. However, Tella doesn’t stand for this and tells Scarlett she will be accepting Julian’s offer to take her to Caraval the next day.

Naturally, Scarlett is worried for her little sister and arranges a meetup with Julian, on a beach that brings back bad memories for Scarlett. Her father had drowned her childhood friend there and threatened to do the same to Tella. Again, what a cruel man! Scarlett offers Julian her Caraval tickets if he agrees to sail away without Tella. But, Tella is one step ahead and is already there, awaiting her sister…

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A little forwarning guys, I absolutely adore Tella’s character. I definitely feel like I resonate with her more out of both sisters!

Julian and Tella ambush Scarlett and knock her out so they they can take her to Caraval. OooooOoooo.

As Scarlett sleeps, she dreams of her Grandmother telling them the story of Legend and how he became the master of magic that he is. He fell in love with a woman named Annalise, who he couldn’t marry due to his low status. He was given a life changing choice of whether to become a god of magic, or to have the woman of his dreams. He chose the former and this resulted in him losing Annalise to another man as he was no longer the man she fell in love with. Poor Legend!

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Scarlett wakes up only to find herself on a raft with Julian. Tella is nowhere to be found, but he claims that she’s on the beach waiting for them. Why, oh why, do I have a hard time believing Tella will keep to her word? (;

Julian tells Scarlett that they made her disappearance seem like a kidnap, so when she returns home, she can marry her mysterious Count. I especially love Julian and Scarlett’s banter here. Everything from her slapping him, to Julian calling her ‘Crimson‘ instead of ‘Scarlett‘. I just found that bloody hilarious. And to make the situation even more uncomfortable for them both, there’s a hold in their raft, meaning they need to strip down and swim for the isle. Awkward. It’s really not Scarlett’s day, is it?

And to make it even worse, when they reach the isle, Tella is nowhere to be found…

Oh dear.

Julian leads a reluctant Scarlett towards town where they stumble upon a Clock shop, where it just so happens that a short letter from Legend awaits them and fresh clothing.

One of my favourite parts of ‘Caraval‘ is hearing about the gorgeous outfits the characters get to wear. We get to imagine one of Scarlett’s first beautiful dresses here as well as some dashing clothes for Julian.

What do you guys think of chapters 1 – 7? Not much has happened in these chapters. But we’re introduced to the main characters, and we got some gold banter from the mysterious sailor Julian and Scarlett/Crimson. In the next chapters we will be entering Caraval, I hope you’re excited.

If you have the UK edition of ‘Caraval‘ you may have one of the secret covers beneath the dust jacket. We’d love to know what secret cover is on your edition. (:

Again, please be mindful of spoilers if you decide to continue reading!

We will be back tomorrow and will be reading chapters 8 – 13.

With Love,





  • Hailey

    Just finished chapters 1-7 and I’m so excited for this read along!!! This is my first time reading the book and it has me hooked!

  • Laia

    I’ve already finished today’s chapters. I’m so happy I could join this readalong, because I really love Caraval!!?

    • Lauren

      I’m so so happy you could join to Laia!
      Caraval is amaaazing!

  • Kirsty @kirstyes

    I received the book in Fairyloot and thankfully got the clock secret cover which I was very happy about.

    This is my second read of the first two books. I liked, but didn’t love Caraval the first time (maybe overhyped) but enjoyed Legendary more. I do often prefer things when I’m more familiar with them so will see how I get on this time. My memory is rubbish so I honestly doubt any of my guesses/conjectures will be actual spoilers!

    I like the opening of the letters that set Caraval up as a thing of fascination and allows us to see Scarlett age. Although she moves from wanting Caraval to come for her sister to not even mentioning her. And Legend only replied when she says she’s going to be married. Hmmmmm. At least he invites the fiancé too.

    Excellent description of Julian “As cool and seductive as a slice of Shade in the Hot Season”

    It’s quite telling how unhappy Scarlett must be on Trisda to not be worried about marrying someone she has ever met.

    Three invitations, one for Scarlett, one for Donatella/Tella and one unnamed and Julian knows where Legend’s Island is. How handy?! Or how suspicious?!

    Governor Dragna – The Shade of Dark bruises and power. Tells us exactly what type of “man” he is.

    Can’t believe how quickly Tella falsely dobs Scarlett in. Ah. Now I see why. Punishment through cruelty to the other sister. They were both being self sacrificing.

    The wedding is ten days away but Caraval only 3.

    The fact Julian offers to help them escape for free makes me like him.

    Their mother Paloma disappeared. Did she escape and leave them or has she been murdered/imprisoned?

    Who is the note for?

    Scarlett saw their friend Felipe drowned by her father for trying to help them escape but kept this from Tella. No wonder she is more cautious. And that is the reason Tella has Julian drug her.

    Flashback to the little sisters hearing the take of Legend. And how I’m wishing for magic and fame he lost his love.

    She wakes up alone on a row boat with Julian who says he’s already left Tella on the Island of Dreams. The boat springs a leak and oh no they both have to take their clothes off to swim to shore. Cue muscles and funny feelings. Julian calls her Crimson on purpose and is definitely flirty. But Legend knows they have arrived and have left dry, and magical clothes for them to change into. Scarlett knows she should leave but talks herself into staying for one day thanks to Stella’s kidnapping ruse. Julian insists Tella must have entered Caraval already and as they are readying to leave the clock shop we hear a new voice.

    So far I’m pretty sure I’m enjoying this more than the first time.

    It seems Scarlett may be at the heart of a love Quadrangle. Her Count, Legend and Julian. Where does Tella fit in?

    • Lauren

      I loooved reading this comment!
      Also I got the clock in my Fairyloot box too!

  • khaines13

    Just finished todays chapters and I am so hooked, I haven’t been this excited for a book in so so long! Cant believe I haven’t read it sooner!
    I’ve been reading on my Kindle and already scouring the internet for a hardback copy!
    I love Julian already, he has the sense of humour I love (Crimson LOL) and feel he has a role in bringing them to Caraval…
    Where is Tella?!?! Is she on the Island? I feel like she’s not, but I’m excited to find out whats going on with her, I’m with Lauren on feeling more drawn to her character than Scarlet but we shall see how that goes!
    Cant wait to read more, already loving the costumes and the world building 😀

    Kat x

    • Lauren

      I’m so glad you’re liking it Kat!
      And if you love it now, you’re going to be mind blown by the end!

  • Emma Poulloura

    Hi, this is my first time reading Caraval it’s been on my TBR pile for ages so I’m very excited to join this read a long.

    Here are my thoughts on the first few chapters.

    Daddy Dragna is horrible horrible man.

    Julian – I think he’s a good guy. I like him especially his banter with Crimson.
    Tella is impulsive, fun and dangerous.
    The scene in the Clock shop was very interesting.
    Finally my initial thoughts on Scarlett are that she is cautious and a planner.

  • Laura Weasley

    This is my second time reading Caraval and I have to say I think I’m enjoying it much more than I did the first time. Not that I didn’t like it back then but it couldn’t quite live up to my expectations. Or maybe I just wasn’t in the right mood for it, who knows…

    Anyway, I’m really glad I joined the readalong, since it’s been quite a while and I love rereading books in time for the series finale. (See what I did there? ?) Also, I’m just really forgetful. ?

    To be honest I couldn’t really stand Tella in the beginning. She just seemed so self-involved to me, like she only cared about herself and it made her reckless. Though I love an adventure, I’m also prone to worrying and over-protectiveness so I think I related to Scarlett more, at least in the beginning. However, Tella has since grown on me. I do love how different their personalities are, though, and how they both would do anything for the other.

    I found Julian intriguing right from the beginning and I enjoy his banter with Scarlett so much! (And I’m a sucker for nicknames – I love how he keeps calling her Crimson.)

    I’m so excited for Caraval to REALLY begin!

    Btw, I bought my hardcover used which is why it’s not in the best condition. ☹️ But better than nothing. Anyway, my hidden cover is the clock. ?

    • Lauren

      Honestly, I laughed so hard, I totally forgot he called her Crimson,

      • Laura Weasley

        Me too, but I absolutely love it! I adore it when people have their own personal nicknames for someone. Unless it’s a mean one. But Julian is just teasing Scarlett, so it’s ok. ?

  • Connie

    Hello! I’m finally reading Caraval for the first time, after having it on my book shelf for yeeeears – and I must say, I really enjoyed the first few chapters! I can already tell that I’m going to love Julian as a character. He seems like a fun, witty person. And I’m intrigued to meet Legend for the first time. I adore brooding male characters, and I have a feeling he may be that character!

    So far I can’t decide if I like Scarlett or Tella more, but hopefully that’ll be discovered in the next chapters!

    • Lauren

      So glad you could join Connie!

      I’m so excited that you’re reading this for the first time omg

  • Claire (@love.the.villain)

    I bought my Caraval way before I’d heard of FairyLoot, so I got the Tesco edition which has a Top Hat secret cover! ?
    This is my third read through of Caraval, and will be my second read of Legendary, too, but I just want to keep it fresh in my mind in anticipation of the Finale box. I can’t wait!

    I love the way Caraval begins with the letters. They really set the scene with Scarlett’s growing despair and her desperation to escape Trisda. I mean, even Julian, who has nothing to do with the girls, is stunned by the terrible way their father treats them—hurting one to punish the other. No wonder they both really wants to get away from him. ?
    Julian is a breath of fresh air, with his witty comments and flirty attitude, though. ?

    I love the anticipation building up to the beginning of Caraval. It feels so magic, just waiting for it all to happen. The atmosphere is really on point! ?

    • Lauren

      Wow! This is your third read through!
      That’s amazing.

      I also managed to snag a Tesco edition!
      I bought three of them xD

  • zoejjensen

    This is my first read along and I’m excited.

    I listened to this book on audio book a few weeks back before I knew about the read along and didn’t enjoy it that much.
    I am now reading the book and like it a lot more. I am a slow reader as I have Dyslexia, so I started it early.
    I got a bit carried away and I’m now on chapter 15.

    I love Donnatella she is so carefree and just wants to get away from her father with her sister and see whats out there in the world outside that little island they live on. (Trisda)

    Scarlett is a worrier but I don’t blame her with the life she has lived so far with her mother leaving and her father being the way he is.

    Julian I hope l’m going to like but not to sure at the minute (fingers crossed)

    I hope scarlett finds Donnatella soon if she is on the island before she has a break down

    looking forward to tomorrow for the next part to read some more comments on the book.

  • Narra (@thenarratress on Insta)

    I heard about this readalong today and as I bought the ebook for Caraval in 2017 but haven’t been able to read it yet, I decided joining might be fun (I’ll ignore my March TBR eventhough it’s huge already)

    As you said not much happened in the first seven chapters. It was nice to get to know the characters a bit bettdr first.

    Can’t wait to see what will happen tomorrow~

  • Lizzie

    It’s my time reading the book and I just have to say that I am liking it a lot so far. At the beginning of the book I was side eyeing Tella but I’m starting to realize that she is a great sister and she wants us to be free and help her sister.

    Cant wair for what’s to come.

    • Lauren

      Can’t wait for you to really get into the story Lizzie, I really think you’ll like it!

  • Mia

    Second read through for me. I missed the Jan. 2017 box, and I’ve been addicted to audible so I have the audio version so I can listen during my commute to work, so no special covers to reveal. 🙂

    I am definately loving how Scarlett/Crimson sees her emotions/feelings in terms of color. The book is so lyrical and descriptive (and the food descriptions!) I just wish there was a carnival happening right now!

    I relate more to Scarlett personality wise. I’ve always been a bit more paranoid about things that might go wrong that it’s hard to enjoy the moment. And I definately see a lot of Tella in my own younger sibling (although he probably won’t like being compared to a girl) so I completely get the overprotective side Scarlett shows when it comes to her sister. And being kidnapped by a hot neerdowell, my first reaction would be to slap him too.
    I absolutely love the sniping between Scar and Julian. It just flows so naturally between them. And her dress! I want a magic changing dress! It would save so much time!
    Really excited for this read-a-long. I’ve always found it hard to reread books, so this has been really nice to go back and relisten before the last book comes out!

    • Lauren

      That’s so cool that you’re reading via audible.
      I need to give that a try too.

      I think I definitely relate more to Tella.

  • Vero

    This is my first time reading and I have to say I love Julian already! I hate hate hate Tella and Scars father.

    I’m excited to read more and can’t wait to see happens next!

  • Janelle

    The book just came today! A perfect time to start my first read along. I of course love Scarlett but I’m very curious about Julian!

  • Allrion

    This is my first read of Caraval and I was wondering if I should read it in English with you guys or buy a Hungarian copy rather (that’s my mother tongue).
    Finally I made up my mind yesterday and bought the Kindle version and as soon as I started reading I realized how good that decision was. I always like to read books in the original language to be sure to understand every intention of the author in the book. E.g. I’m not sure how they translated the Scarlett-Crimson word play to Hungarian…
    Anyway, I really like this book and I’m kinda sad not purchasing an English hardcopy as there are no difficult words in it to get dictionaried on Kindle -so far I only looked up cravat 😀 – but it is definitely a worth to read whaterver the format is so thank you for organizing this readalong 🙂

  • Verena

    Well I am a day late but I am so happy I got to join. At least I have a lot of time… I am sick this week, so glad I have something to keep me busy.
    I found a UK copy of caraval on ebay two weeks ago (amazing condition) for an actually good price. I have the dress Cover (wouldn’t have been my first choice, but I don’t care that much about that) I am just glad I found one =)
    It shouldn’t have arrived yet, so it was a great surprise. As you might have guessed this is my first time reading Caraval.
    Not sure how I feel about the sisters (hope they change/evolve a bit in the next chapters) or it might just take me some time to get into them…
    But Julian an the other hand I really like =)
    I can’t wait to see Legend and everything. It just made me so curious.

  • Ashleyls520

    First read along!

    I have to say, I identify a lot more with Scarlett than I do with Tella. To me, it makes much more sense to be apprehensive in their situation than adventurous, as it seems testing their father’s limits doesn’t end up well for them… ever.

    I was so ready to throw Tella under the bus when she flipped on Scarlett, but seing the punishment definitely gave me a bit of respect for her right off of the bat. I’m still a bit iffy on the abuse story line. I feel that they are either done exceptionally well or go too far off the rails for my taste, so I’m looking forward to seeing how that plays out further, or if it does in this book vs second and third.

    I always enjoy some good banter between main characters, and between Julian and Scarlett (Crimson? Solid wordplay), it was fair to start out with. I’m hoping it gets better as the story goes on.

    Overall I’m just looking forward to seeing Legend, hopefully getting some further knowledge on that mysterious origin story, and how the game of Caraval really works.

  • Natalie

    My secret cover image is a ?teardrop.

    I’m bouncing back and forth between the physical book and the audiobook. I love the narrator of the audiobook and it totally gives me lunar chronicles vibes, especially with names like Scarlet.

    This is a first time read for me. Sorry, but Tella drives me crazy. I think she’s reckless and selfish, but I see why she would want to get Scarlet to lighten up. Their father is terrifying and I see a lot of foreshadowing in the beginning.

    I like the action and pacing so far. I want more background on things, but it is being revealed slowly. That can be good too.

  • Gine

    I’m late to the party, but nevertless I must say I really liked these chapters. I already bought the next book in the series so I can binge read it after this one. First Fairlyloot read-a-long I’ve joined (and a bit too late perhaps), but I must say I enjoy this a lot. So thank you for hosting!

  • Curtis

    I got the circus tent cover 🙂

  • Lia

    Mine is the circus tent ^^
    god, I wanted to shake Scar sometimes, but she does have the same thinking of a victim of violence not wanting to risk worse.
    Legend’s story is just so… hugh

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12th July 2024

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