Finale is a complex, captivating fantasy romance. This is the final book in the Caraval trilogy, and I highly recommend reading the earlier books first. I came into this cold and struggled to keep up for the first few chapters.
The story is a bit too convoluted to summarize succinctly, but basically, it’s about the epic battle between two pairs of siblings (sisters Scarlett and Tella, and brothers Legend and Julian) and the most powerful of the Fates (immortal beings who were previously contained within a deck of cards but are now unleashed on the world). There’s a lot of romance and family drama that come to the fore, and once I managed to grasp who the characters were and how they related to each other, the story was an exciting ride to the finish.
I especially love the character of Scarlett and her romance with Julian — I think I just personally relate more to Scarlett than to Tella so I loved how kickass her story turned out beyond the romance. Basically, she learns something that makes her question who she really is, and what she’s really capable of, and I thought that storyline was particularly powerful.
Tella’s love triangle with Legend and Jacks was a bit darker, but her happily-ever-after seemed pretty clear from the get-go, so the drawn out push-and-pull just got a bit repetitive after a while. Both sisters’ romances reminded me a bit of the 1990s Charmed where Piper had the sweet and handsome Leo and Phoebe had the hot but demonic Cole, and I kinda wish Tella’s love story did lead to her giving in to her darker side as Phoebe did.
I also really liked the tragic aspect of being a Fate, that their major weakness is love. Basically, Fates are genetically predisposed to just want to possess the objects of their affections, and if they ever actually do fall in love, they give up their immortality and become fully human. This aspect of being a Fate played a huge role in the main storyline about the battle as well as in Tella’s romances, and so
But the best part for me was the focus on the sibling bonds (between Scarlett and Tella AND between Julian and Legend). I love how strong their love for their siblings was, and even though Julian and Legend’s relationship wasn’t as much a focus, there’s a scene where Julian confronts him about his feelings for Tella that made my heart warm.
Garber has created a complex, multilayered mythology with the Caraval trilogy. I very much enjoyed reading Scarlett and Tella’s story, and learning about the world that Garber has created.
Thank you to Raincoast Books for an advance reading copy in exchange for an honest review.