Title // Finale
Author // Stephanie Garber
Publisher // Flatiron Books
Publication Date // May 7th, 2019
Synopsis // A love worth fighting for. A dream worth dying for. An ending worth waiting for.
It’s been two months since the Fates were freed from a deck of cards, two months since Legend claimed the throne for his own, and two months since Tella discovered the boy she fell in love with doesn’t really exist.
With lives, empires, and hearts hanging in the balance, Tella must decide if she’s going to trust Legend or a former enemy. After uncovering a secret that upends her life, Scarlett will need to do the impossible. And Legend has a choice to make that will forever change and define him.
Caraval is over, but perhaps the greatest game of all has begun. There are no spectators this time—only those who will win, and those who will lose everything.
Welcome, welcome to Finale. All games must come to an end…
My Rating: ★★★★☆ (3.5)
If a book is bold enough to be called “Finale,” it had better have the best amazing epic finale ever, right? This book didn’t quite live up to its two predecessors for me, but I still really enjoyed it!
Caraval was told by Scarlet, Legendary was told by Tella, and Finale was told by both of them, and when I realized this, I was so excited to see it tie together the amazing stories of both of the sisters. In reality, it ended up being about 80% or so Tella, and only a few chapters here and there told by Scarlet, which was unexpected. On one hand, I was glad because I liked Tella a lot more, but on the other hand, Scarlet ended up feeling shoehorned in there and the story, with two different storylines contained by the two girls, felt a bit uneven.
Tella was so fierce and amazing in this book! I loved her in Legendary, and I loved seeing her fierce determination as she fought against everything horrible happening with the fates and all the terrible things in her personal life. I loved how fiercely she emoted and loved, and from seeing her love her sister, to her attachment to her mother, to her romantic love and how she was literally willing to die for it, I just loved seeing her love.
Scarlet was… well, I don’t remember her being so annoying in Caraval. A few of her actions felt immature, especially regarding her former fiance, and she did seem silly and caught up in herself when the world around them was freaking out and Tella was fighting for everyone. I was also annoyed by how she saw emotions in color, but there was actually an explanation for that here so it went from mildly annoying to really cool! We learn about Scarlet’s past, and I loved seeing about it, and wish she had had more time to develop her own character arc.
The romance was both amazing and super annoying. Annoying because really, a love triangle? I hate love triangles and feel like they were everywhere in 2012 and now they’re mostly gone but there were not one but two? Tella, Legend, Jacks; Scarlet, Julian, The Count. So yeah the love triangles infuriated me, and felt super excessive. Particularly because the girls spent a significant amount of time angsting about love that I felt could have been spent more on the action and plot (and Scarlet’s character!)
On the other hand, Tella and Legend? SWOON! This is one of my favorite ships, and I loved seeing the passion and care between them, seeing how frightened they were for each other, and how much they cared for each other, and the insane things they would be willing to give up for each other! Every chapter with the two of them was a favorite chapter and I was swooning! I also enjoyed Julian and Scarlet, and I’d almost forgotten how amazing they were since Caraval.
This book felt different from the first two in that it doesn’t have a game of Caraval in it. I miss the game, since there was so much magic and mystique and intrigue that I had from it, and I just really loved the idea of the game in the first place! The pacing of the plot also felt a bit different, making this book stand apart from the two of them, but not necessarily in a bad way. Without the game though, the stakes were so much higher because everything that was happening was really real and really had me dying to see what happened next!
The main villain was a fate who was just introduced in this book, which was a little strange? I think it probably wasn’t the best decision since the first two books spent so much time developing Caraval and other possible villains (Jacks!!!), and having the villain be introduced in this book felt rushed like there wasn’t enough time to really develop him and get us really involved in his story (and his evilness). I did enjoy the background we got on him though and seeing the characters struggle against him.
As I said above, I really enjoyed the backstories and development of Scarlet and the fates. It was cool to get more into the mythology of the world! I do wish that more time had been spent developing Legend’s past, particularly since this is the only book where we know who he is and interact with him as a character instead of just in speculation, and I especially wanted to see his interactions with his brother! And I feel like after how build up Scarlet and Tella’s mother was in the first book, this book was a wasted opportunity to get to know her more.
Overall though, I really did enjoy this book, even if it wasn’t quite the epic finale that I had been hoping for! If you’ve read the first two books, it’s definitely worth seeing the finale!