Review – Legendary by Stephanie Garber

Title Legendary

Author Stephanie Garber

Description from Amazon

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.

Initial Thoughts

I fully admit I was incredibly late to the game on this series and especially this book.  I was petrified that it would end on a cliffhanger so I absolutely avoided it until I had a copy of Finale in hand.  I really enjoyed the first book, Caraval and while I was eager to get back to the world Stephanie Garber had created, I was still afraid of what I would find at the end of Legendary.

Favorite Character

Oddly enough, it was Jacks.  Like Caraval, there was a lot of confusion in Legendary regarding who is the actual villain.  Jacks definitely seemed like he was the villain at many points throughout the story.  But, after finishing the book, I am not convinced.  I think he wants you to believe he’s the bad guy (much like Dante), but his actions tell a different story.

Honorable mention goes to Legend.  Although we don’t actually know who Legend is in most of this story, shout out to Stephanie Garber’s writing for creating a symbolic character with so much power over the plot.  All we have is the idea of Legend and yet that is enough to drive so much of the story.  I liken this to the house in Downton Abbey being a character in it of itself.  The character of Legend, despite both the other characters and the reader not knowing his identity, takes on it’s own persona.

Cover Art

I have several editions of this book but I think the one pictured above is my favorite.  I love a blue book cover and I think the simple ring of white stars around the title is perfect.  This book didn’t need to do much to get me to pick it up.

As far as the other editions are concerned, they are all pretty.  Each edition has its own shelf appeal (and home on my shelf).

POV

Caraval is told from Scarlett’s POV while Legendary is told through Donatella’s.  At first, I wasn’t sure if I liked this contrast as I thought Scarlett was my favorite Dragna sister at the end of Caraval.  However, as the events of Legendary unfolded, Tella’s character kind of snuck up on me.  I still think Scarlett’s character is great in Caraval but Tella needed to be the story teller in Legendary.  By the end of the story, I was glad to have seen both sister’s POVs in each of the Caravals they particpated in.  Dare I say it, but Tella might be my favorite now.

Final Thoughts

I liked Caraval but I loved Legendary.  I can fully admit the mistake I made by not reading this book sooner.  It was amazing.  Everything about the story was superb.  The plot twists, the new characters, the nods to the first book (which never felt repetative).  The whole story was fantastic.  I can’t wait to read Finale and (although I doubt this will happen), I will be sorely disappointed if Finale is not just as good as Legendary.  The second books in trilogies are literally never my favorites.  But, depending on how much I like Finale, I might be able to make a strong case for Legendary.

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐

Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Finale by Stephanie Garber – I’d also recommend Caraval but if you’re reading this post, I’m going to assume that you have already read Caraval.  So far, this series has been amazing.  And, although I haven’t read Finale, yet if it’s anything like the first two books, it won’t let you down.
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern – I also have nothing but praise for this book.  The settings are similar (carnival/circus-esque themed).  Definitely recommended for fans of this series.
  • Rule by Ellen Goodlett – this might seem like an out of nowhere recommendation, but I think that the moving parts of the sisters’ dyamics in this story reminded me of Scarlett and Tella in Legendary.  There is a lot of mystery and royalty in Rule as well that feels familiar.

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