My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Thank you, Macmillan, for giving me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.
She’d thought that she was the key to his entire game. But, of course, Legend was playing more than one game.
Caraval took my breath away last year. This sequel messed with my brain. I delayed my review for almost a month because I needed some time to process everything that happened. I felt so deceived…yet enlightened.
In Legendary, Tella learns that her mother has been trapped in a set of magical cards. To solve this problem, she makes a deal with a malicious prince. In exchange for saving Tella and Scarlett’s mom, he asks her to bring the real Legend to him. The only way to unveil Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella goes through the typical, difficult process of finding clues in the dead of night. However, the stakes are higher because if Tella doesn’t win the game, she will die. In other words, Caraval might not be just a game this time.
Like its predecessor, Legendary is a testament to Stephanie Garber’s talent for misleading her readers in the best way possible. As much I as liked the characters in this book, I absolutely didn’t trust anyone of them except for Tella. It was implied that Legend could be female, so my list of suspects kept on expanding. I tried so hard to guess who was who, but my efforts were to no avail; I was caught off-guard when Legend’s identity was finally revealed. My usual talent for predicting plot twists was rendered useless by the author’s cunning.
Personally, I thought that Tella was quite annoying in the first book because she seemed to be just a pretty airhead. Hence, I was glad that she became likable and relatable in Legendary. Of course, she retained her flirtatious and secretive nature, but the other layers of her personality were gradually revealed. Despite her tendency to be frivolous, I rooted for Tella because of her ardent desire to be reunited with her not-so-admirable mother. I couldn’t help but notice how she was more empowered than her sister.
Speaking of Scarlett, I was surprised by her suspicious behavior. Just like Tella, I had a hunch that she was in cahoots with the real Legend, who was supposedly someone close to Julian. Since Tella deceived her during the first Caraval, it was possible that Scarlett wanted to return the favor. It was interesting to see the new cracks in their sisterly bond. Still, I wanted them to me more honest with each other; it is an undeniable fact that secrets have the potential to destroy even the closest of relationships.
I would’ve enjoyed this book more if the male characters hadn’t been so…sexualized. All of them (e.g. Dante, Julian, and Jacks) were described to be hot or handsome in Tella’s eyes, and I couldn’t help but sigh. Caraval was a carnivalseque event, so one would expect it to have diverse participants. So why were all of the men attractive? Oh c’mon.
Ultimately, Legendary met most of my expectations. I loved the unpredictable plot as well as the multi-faceted female protagonists. I actually expected this to be a concluding novel, but looking at the last page, I can say that another sequel is a must. Kudos to Stephanie Garber’s powerful imagination.