Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber

Finale book review

I am conflicted! On one hand, Finale is a beautiful and satisfying end to a truly magical trilogy. But on another I was left wanting a few loose ends resolved.

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Caraval Review  Legendary Review

“Occasionally, there are minutes that get extra seconds. Moments so precious the universe stretches to make additional room for them, and this was one of them.”

Reading this book was very much like the universe stretched out time and space for me… and all I can say is: holy book hangover, batman! I was fully immersed into the world of Caraval, reading all 1,336 pages of this trilogy in three days. And I am a little conflicted here because while I really enjoyed Finale, there were some things that never got explained that kind of bother me (spoiler at the end of the review). But I am primarily here for these characters and was swept into this heartbreaking, beautiful, and magical end; a satisfying conclusion to a stellar trilogy.

This review is so hard to write because I was so invested in the characters and what their true endings would be. The writing is as lyrical and spell-casting as in the prior two books, Garber really has a way with words. I really connect with her writing and loved every second of reading this book. There are so many thoughts and feelings that I could share but they would spoil the magic of reading this book for yourself, and I really think this is a book that should be experienced.

“Every story has four parts: the beginning, the middle, the almost-ending, and the true ending. Unfortunately, not everyone gets a true ending. Most people give up at the part of the story where things are the worst, when the situation feels hopeless, but that is where hope is needed most. Only those who persevere can find their true ending.”

Finale is told in both Scarlett and Tella’s POV, which worked really well for me because each sister had their own journey towards their true ending. I will admit that I still was more invested in Tella’s journey more, which could be a result of my relating to Tella more or that the central struggles for the latter two books in the trilogy center around her but it’s kind of a bummer that Finale didn’t feel more balanced for me. Tella became my favorite sister and Scarlett just faded into the background for me.

“Blood, time, and extreme emotions were three of the things that fueled magic.”

The addition of the Fates in Legendary was a really interesting expansion on the world and mythology of this world, and I loved how our understanding of magic and its origins were explained in Finale. Magic in Caraval is very much personal, tying into what Garber said at her launch event that she was inspired to write magic almost like how people experience faith – it is different for everyone.

This series has always been about the sisters and their relationship, and Finale really centers on that love the best. I enjoyed having more page time for interactions between them, and their unyielding love for one another. There is one scene in particular that brought tears to my eyes and made me wish I were closer with my own sister.

“He didn’t kiss her as if he’d simply just come back to life. He kissed her as if he’d died, been buried, and clawed his way out of the grave and through the dirt just to get to her.”

The romances in this book set my heart on fire and I honestly had to continually put the book down because of FEELINGS. There is a love triangle and if you like the characters and are invested in their romances, this book will be for you. I honestly was so invested in who Tella will choose… and having my desired endgame change about 7646 times.

“He might have been a liar and a villain, but he made both things look very good.”

One of my favorite things about reading this book is that I found myself questioning the motive of everything and everyone. I couldn’t trust or take anything at face value because because they are all so adept at lying and games. It was a wild ride to have my own emotions and preferences shift as the book continued. Honestly, the notes that I took while reading are hilarious to read now.

The ending was not what I expected but I think it made sense for both of the sisters. The great thing about Garber’s writing is that once a reveal is made, it clicks into place for you because she is so skilled at leaving breadcrumbs to justify what happens. I just wish the epilogue were a bit longer, I could spend an eternity with these characters and those pages were not enough. But in terms of wrapping up the series, I feel fairly satisfied even though the ending felt abrupt and a little anticlimactic for me.

Overall, Finale is a beautiful and satisfying end to a truly magical trilogy. I was swept away from the first page and fully invested throughout the book, but I will admit that my enjoyment was a little hampered by a few loose ends that I didn’t see resolved. This may not have been an issue for me had I not read the entire trilogy in three days and had everything pretty fresh in my mind, but it was a bummer to get to the ending and have some things not explained. There are some things left open that could lend to spin-offs in the world, though. I definitely recommend this book and trilogy to anyone that adores the fantastical, lyrical writing, morally grey characters, and a good helping of romantic angst.

⬇️ Things that I don’t think were explained and it makes me sad (spoilers!).

– why was Tella bleeding if she was Jacks’ true love? His kiss shouldn’t have been lethal yet she felt the affects. Was it just his magic playing a trick to get her to believe him, like pretending to give her a heart attack so Legend would restore his magic?
– how the hell did Jacks even escape from the cards to begin with?
– who imprisoned Paloma in the card?
– I wish I knew more about pre-Legend’s magic life for Julian and Dante
– What happened with the whole Tella agreeing to give her future daughter’s weakness to the sisters in the market?
– So Jacks what? Just left when Legend broke his spell? That was so anticlimatic

Goodreads Synopsis

US Cover of Finale by Stephanie GarberWelcome, welcome to Finale, the third and final book in Stephanie Garber’s #1 New York Times bestselling Caraval series! 

A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.

It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.

With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.

Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time: only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.

Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…


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Hi! I’m Kaleena: book lover, runner, wanderer, and philanthropist. Life is an adventurous gift: through the outdoors and books. I run Reader Voracious Blog, where I post spoiler-free book reviews of science fiction, fantasy, speculative fiction, and mystery & thriller.

16 thoughts on “Finale (Caraval #3) by Stephanie Garber

    1. It was like once the spell was broken after reading this book that I started being like ‘wait, what about?!’ And the more distance I have from it, the more it bothers me. 😞

      But I can’t deny being fully invested and captivated WHILE reading. Which honestly made this review so darn hard to write. I’m glad I wasn’t alone, though!

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I agree with your review! It was satisfying but I was really left wondering about the things you mentioned as well! Especially the daughter thing.
    But overall I really did love it 😊💛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. If I am being honest, the things that weren’t explained were not huge (most everything was wrapped up) and it didn’t really ruin my reading experience. It was after I stopped reading and thought about it that some things came up, probably because I spent 3 days in a row reading this trilogy so it was all fresh. I really recommend it though if you think it is something you would enjoy, it is such a magical read!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Same here – I am a lot more forgiving on things like that when I am swept away so completely by the narrative that it felt like I was under its spell! The loose threads aren’t huge dealbreakers, more of me being a close reader that picks apart everything lol

      Liked by 1 person

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