“With the Fall of the Blood Queen, the magic that had once illuminated humanity’s path to the empirium had vanished. And, somehow, Eliana had to find it again. Find it, and control it.”
Friends, this was a wild ride of a sequel and if I am being honest took me days to formulate my thoughts on this book (I still don’t think I did this book justice). One thing I can say for certain: my heart hurts and need the next book NOW. The Empirium Trilogy is set in an intricate and complex fantasy world, and just when you think you have it all figured out you find out you were wrong. And I am just putting this out there now: your heart will break and there is an evil cliffhanger in this book.
I am conflicted. Reading Kingsbane was at times arduous for me, but then again I’ve thought about nothing but this book and the mindf*ck of a cliffhanger for over 24 hours. When I sat down to write my initial thoughts for this review (my first drafts are usually bullet point lists of word vomit), it sat at over 1,000 words. The best of books challenge you and stay with you, and this one has invaded my mind.
“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 for three days in a row, 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.
The magical game of Caraval is about bravery and sacrifice, and friends let me tell you that the magic isn’t yet over as there are some debts to be paid. This world is so magical and ethereal that it is easy to get swept up into the narrative, and while I slightly prefer Caraval, this installment of the trilogy lives up to its predecessor and shatters all notions of Middle Book Syndrome!
“Legend has chosen you to play a game that may change your destiny.
In honor of Empress Elantine’s 75th birthday,
Caraval will visit the streets of Valenda for six magical nights.”
The magical performance typically only happens once per year, but within a week the troupe is heading to the Meridian capitol Valenda for a special game. But is this one just a game? Or is it something more?
“Whatever you’ve heard about Caraval, it doesn’t compare to the reality. It’s more than just a game or a performance. It’s the closest you’ll ever find to magic in this world.”
I’ve owned a copy of this book for almost two years now (and I even pre-ordered Legendary last year!), yet it has taken me until the eve of Finale‘s release to finally read this book. And what a fool I am for waiting so long! This book is magical and perfect and I loved every minute of reading it.
I was immediately swept away by Garber’s effortlessly captivating prose. Her words had almost a magical power over me and it was as if I was transported into the magical game myself. Lush and descriptive, she manages to describe the world, people, and settings so well that I can see them in my head.
“There are stories around here that the place is haunted. All manners of ghosties and goblins.”
This book wasn’t what I was expecting but I found myself devouring the pages in one morning nonetheless. If I were to categorize this book it is first and foremost a historical romance; it felt like reading Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights with supernatural/witchy elements. This is a successful historical fiction book, but unfortunately I found the witch plotline underdeveloped and secondary to the romance.
The Montrose family has all but been run out of Boston due to rumors, but it is not until well into the book that the reader learns what happened.