Finale (Caraval, #3) by Stephanie Garber


ARC provided by Flatiron Books in exchange for an honest review.

Caraval Review | Legendary Review

This review pains me to write because I was truly expecting a 5 star read.

I have always thought highly of this series. I loved how Caraval focused on a game and the actors within the game. I loved how Legendary expanded that world and introduced us to the Fates. I truly believe this series could’ve just been a duology; extend Legendary to be a slightly longer book, tie up some loose ends, and call it a wrap. I really don’t understand the point of Finale at all.

Finale introduces us to a new villain which… seems like an odd time to bring in a new villain. We already met Jacks in Legendary, and in my opinion, he was the perfect “bad guy.” But we get introduced to the ACTUAL villain who is a Fate. And this Fate wants to destroy basically everyone and take Legend’s place. I just really didn’t understand the point of him at all and he was so “mustache twirly” that I had to roll my eyes at all his scenes.

So let’s talk about Tella and Scarlett. In this book the POV’s alternate between the two sisters, which I actually did like because we got to follow their own little journeys within the story. However, Scarlett was so childish in this book I JUST CANNOT. From the very beginning of the book she decides she wants to string Julian along, and then have Julian and Nicolas compete for her? What kind of childish game is this? I truly do not understand her motivations behind this AT ALL.

Tella is my favorite of the two sisters but she also did some things that were questionable. She kept seeking solace from Jacks, who is, you know… a villain… and would then be surprised that he *gasp* did a villainous thing. Girl, why? Also, Jacks literally tries to give her a heart attack in order to get what he wants from Legend, but then later tells Tella he “didn’t mean to” and would never hurt her? Excuse me? But you literally just gave her a heart attack, dude. I was always Team Jacks but that scene was so unnecessary to me.

And speaking of Jacks (who was my favorite character from Legendary.) His character really got reduced down to be a minor side character who only showed up at convenient times to sweep Tella off her feet. I truly didn’t understand his purpose and felt zero closure with him.

I was also really excited to be introduced to the other Fates, but they all also felt like very minor side characters who didn’t seem to play a pivotal role in the entire story.

Here’s the thing: I’ve always loved the world of Caraval, but in Finale I felt like most of the time we were being TOLD. It’s full of characters speaking in long paragraphs telling us about the history of something or about another character. It really dragged and made me lose focus. I don’t want to be told everything; I want to see it. Also I refuse to even acknowledge the time-travel loophole because that’s my least favorite trope used to tie up a loose end.

This was my most anticipated release of 2019 and I am just kind of feeling neutral about how it all ended? I didn’t hate it, but I just didn’t love it either. I know my review sounds super ranty, but I loved being back in the world and with these characters again. I will also forever love Dante because he’s such a sweet guy. Also I think Stephanie Garber is the loveliest human and I will still read everything she writes. I guess I can hope there will be a spin-off for this series?


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

  1. I am reading Legendary at this moment and so far there are two person (including you) who does not really like the book. I can’t wait to read it by myself ☺️


  2. (Warning: potential spoilers!)

    Couldn’t agree more! I found Legendary by just happening to pick it up at my local library. I soared through it (didn’t realize it was the second book in a series) until I finished the book, was shocked by the cliffhanger, and then researched like mad to learn more about this series. I quickly read Caraval (and then re-read Legendary, naturally) and have been hooked ever since. Tella and Legend are everything; Scarlett and Julian are sweet, but a bit predictable to me (definitely agree with your perspective of Scarlett here). I love the wildness of both Tella and Legend.

    But Finale was disappointing to me… and I’m heartbroken to say so! The plot was definitely weaker. Although I LOVED learning about the Fates & their history, I thought the focus was mainly on the romance between Tella & her love interest as well as Scarlett & her’s. I thought Scarlett’s love triangle was forced, but I realllllly got into Tella’s love triangle. Those characters all fascinate me; I loved seeing who was capable of truly loving and trying to not read too much between the lines (which is hard to do with Stephanie!).

    Yet since the plot was so focused on love and relationship building, I could not be more disappointed by the quick ending of these relationships. There is a quick resolution to the danger, and the remaining love triangle neatly falls away. Also, I needed WAY more information about the development between Tella & her love interest than what we got. It built up to such a big point and then there was hardly any description of what happened to them, what this transition looked like in practicality, etc. I needed way, way more to experience resolution from the emotional investment I’ve given to these characters, especially for Tella and her love. It just seemed like the last few chapters did not coincide as deeply as the earlier portions of the book.

    So, I’m left feeling pretty empty by the resolve.

    I still adore these books and love how Stephanie makes the literal seem non-literal and vise versa. It’s beautiful. Her writing is beautiful and fanciful, truly. The world she created is so fascinating and I hope she writes some spin-off’s!


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