A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Legendary is the second book in the magical Caraval series. This installment focuses on younger sister Tella, who's nearly 17 and more of a risk-taker than her sister Scarlett, who starred in Caraval. Tella drinks wine, once to excess, and exchanges passionate kisses with two men, one of them dangerous. She's attacked with knives, shatters her wrist, and nearly drowns, and is healed by drinking blood. A magical sapping of life force leads to a slowed heartbeat; bleeding of the fingernails, ears, and mouth; and the fear of a final death in one week. A magical imprisonment is nearly fatal. Language is limited to mostly "bastard," which is used to describe the men Tella's dealing with, who use deceit and manipulation to get what they want. Tella moves from a place of distrust and guardedness to bravely trusting and sacrificing herself for those she loves.
What's the story?
In LEGENDARY, it's the day after Caraval, and Tella wakes up in the woods with the roguish, handsome Dante. She sneaks away, hung over, thinking about how she wouldn't be kissing him again. So it's rather inconvenient that Dante is on the same ship with Tella and her sister, Scarlett, headed for Valenda for a special Caraval game to commemorate Empress Elantine's birthday. Once they're in the city, Dante seems to be around every turn: at a ball where Tella kisses someone more dangerous than she ever imagined, at a gown fitting, at temples around the city hiding clues to the game she must win. Dante's constant presence makes Tella's secrets hard to keep -- secrets she's also keeping from her sister, who wouldn't understand why she'd enlisted the help of a mysterious benefactor to find their imprisoned mother. When Tella learns that this benefactor demands Legend's true name as payment -- and that her mother's life is on the line without it -- she knows Dante is the last person she should tell, even though she's falling for him.
Is it any good?
Readers who like to get carried away by dramatic romance, magic, and mystery will enjoy this sequel more than the first, despite some hiccups in the storytelling. We've got a new game, a new setting, and a new main character: Scarlett's more daring younger sister, Donatella. Tella's embroiled in all kinds of mischief before the Caraval team leaves one game and one island for another. She's to meet a benefactor who's demanding nearly impossible-to-obtain information in return for Tella's imprisoned mother. As this goal intertwines with the need to win the next Caraval game at all costs -- and the need to stay alive until then (tricky when her life force is slowly stolen in a huge mistake of a kiss) -- the story really gets intriguing.
Sometimes it feels like there's too much going on. It's clear that the information about the stars and the Fates sets up the remainder of the series, but too much setup detracts from Legendary. There's a bit too much explaining, too. Author Stephanie Garber, writing her first series, doesn't know when to trust readers to understand the stakes and how they shift with each new layer of complication. She often over-explains and resorts to straight telling instead of letting the action speak and her readers interpret and wonder for themselves. Still, there's much to wonder about at the end of Legendary, which promises exciting twists to come in Book 3.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about male power and trust in Legendary. How do men exert their power in this story? How does Tella work to thwart these men and reach her goal?
What are the difficult decisions Tella has to make? How does she decide what's right? How does it change her?
Will you read the next book in the Caraval series? What do you think is in store for Tella? For Legend? This series' tension rides on secrets. Who still has the most secrets to reveal?
- Author: Stephanie Garber
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and Fantasy, Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Flatiron Books
- Publication date: May 29, 2018
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 464
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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