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This book took me a hot moment to read. Not for a lack of interest but because of a book slump. Or what felt like one. I think I’ve just read so many books on Kindle that reading a physical book feels off at the moment. So, I ended up getting the book on Kindle and finished it within a few days of doing so. Unlike the previous book review I did for Caraval, I’m just sharing my thoughts after reading Legendary by Stephanie Garber. There are some spoilers, but only things that happened or were revealed by the halfway point in the book. Everything after that I’m not going to reveal, so if you wanted to avoid what happens from that point on (plot twists, etc.) it’s not ruined for you.
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.
- Published: May 7, 2019
- Page Count: 510 pages
- Genre: YA Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Thoughts on Legendary
This book follows Donatella (Tella) as the Caraval crew head to the capital a few days after the events of the first book for the Empress’s birthday to perform again.
We learn that Tella made a deal with someone to get information on Legend in order to use his games to escape their father, as well as on her mother whom Tella believes to still be alive based on a fortune card she has that shows a glimpse into the future. In exchange for that information, she has to get Legend’s real name. Unfortunately, every performer in the Caraval is sworn never to reveal that information. But she can win it if she wins the Caraval.
Tella also learns that the individual they thought was the count had been a performer. Scarlett also learns this information and ends up breaking things off with Julian since he lied to her again. Granted, it wasn’t like it was a new lie. But still, she had made it clear any further lies and she was not going to be with him. This means that neither of the girls has ever met the real Count, so their father is unlikely to discover they are in the capital from the Count. Still… I like Scarlett with Julian, so I hope they figure things out.
Tella also kissed and then slept next to Dante at the performer’s party, and after saying he was her worst kiss ever to Scarlett, he decides to state she’s the heir’s new fiancé when it turns out she doesn’t have a room. An heir who has been killing anyone on his way to the throne. During that exchange, Dante states he’s in charge of all performers. Something that others had made it seem like Legend was in charge of. And as time passes, more and more clues indicate that Dante is Legend. Considering Julian is Legend’s brother and the fact he’s trying to help Tella with this Caraval behind the scenes, not to mention calling Dante his brother at one point. It points to Dante being Legend, especially since Dante seems extremely interested in Tella and the deck of cards that belonged to her mother. Not to mention, all the other hints Dante shared with Tella. Though Tella doesn’t immediately accept that detail, as she thinks Legend could still be Julian. Not to mention almost all the symbols associated with Legend, Dante has tattooed on him somewhere.
Not only that, but the individual he claimed to be Tella’s fiance is the Prince of Hearts (Jacks), an individual whose kiss is deadly to anyone but his one true love. Jacks demands that she continue the ploy after she learns that he’s the individual she’s been getting information from. If she fails to convince others she’s really engaged to Jacks, then she’ll die. And if she fails to bring Legend to Jacks, she will also die from the kiss he gave her.
So, the stakes for winning Caraval are extremely high. Not just for her, but the world, as the Fates want to kill Legend to get their powers back. And then they would be free to do whatever they wish again. On the other hand, Legend wants to destroy the Deck of Destiny cards so that they can’t come back. However, destroying the cards would also result in Tella’s and Scarlett’s mother’s death. Her mother was trapped inside one after leaving the sisters when Tella discovered the cards, which she felt conflicted about freeing after learning the price her mother bargained for in order to hide the cards. She discovers that she is Jacks’s one true love after his heart starts beating during a fight. So, she’s no longer at risk of dying if she fails to turn Legend over to Jacks. This leaves her with a difficult choice between: giving the cards over to Legend/Dante to destroy them or letting the Fates be freed from the cards in order to save her mother. I won’t spoil which she chooses or how that plays out.
Overall, I would give Legendary 4 out of 5 stars.
I thought the world-building was better in this book than in the first and I didn’t want to wring the neck of the main character. While some things were obvious, there was still a level of mystery. Or at least, it made sense why the main character didn’t want to believe it even though we’re told that detail halfway through the book. I’m curious how things are going to play out in the next book between all the characters. As Scarlett is now seeing both Julian and the Count, while Tella is connected to both Jacks and Legend. Not to mention, we still don’t know the Empress’s relationship with the sisters’ mother, only that they must’ve been close based on the way the Empress described her. And the fallout of Tella’s decision after she won the Caraval.
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