Buckle up y’all, Garber’s most recent work is quiet the rollercoaster.
If you remember what I said about the first one, some of this is going to sound familiar to you. Both in relation to plot development and style complaints. Except this one is on some next level.
Timing wise, we pick up right where the first book has ended. And normally our characters would have to wait a whole year for the next Carnival, but apparently this kingdom is ruled by an Empress. And apparently it’s about to be her 75th birthday. And apparently she wants to celebrate with another Carnival so we only have to wait a handful of days!
And thus, a whole book of back filling information and ‘justifying actions as we go along’ begins.
For instance, apparently Donatella had a hidden motive for participating in the last games. She’s close to finding out what happened to their missing mother, and she has to win this game to get the answer.
Apparently the Fates are a really big thing in this culture, although I don’t recall them being mentioned in the first book. The stars are people as well and even more ancient and cruel then the fates. Although again, you wouldn’t know from the first book. We’re conveniently clued in on this and a bunch of things that are supposedly common knowledge throughout the book. Of course Legend’s magic is most powerful during Carnival. Of course there are rumors the Empress has a long lost kid.
Important notes for the plot shoved in where ever they fit.
After the game actually kicks off it’s very similar to the first book. You can’t tell what’s real and what isn’t (as we’re reminded every 20 seconds), the clues seem so tailored for our main character it’s a wonder that anyone else bothers to play. We can’t trust the characters. Or can we?
Donatella is off doing her own crazy stuff, Scarlett can’t decide if she can trust Julian know that she knows ThE tRuTh. And then suddenly, where at the end of the game.
Except this ending dragged on FOREVER. And was terrible. Basically ripped off Harry Potter for one second, then that unraveled, and we didn’t get any answers about anything.
The cliff hanger feels more like half the manuscript accidentally got left out.
I’m sorry, I should try to be more impartial. I just had heard so much online about how amazing the sequel is and actually I thought it was worse. #letdown
So my vote is don’t pick it up. There’s lots of great fantasy out there, get one of them instead.