If you’re anything like me, you sped through Caraval and Legendary, and the release date of Finale (May 7th!!) seems like a million days away. The gorgeous court, the twisted games, and the intrigue are one of a kind, but for now, here are four books like Caraval to distract you until Finale's release.
1. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
This is probably the story closest to the “magical travelling circus meets twisted and different” that Caraval delivers. Though it’s more a love story than an actual competition, The Night Circus follows two rival magicians, Celia and Marco, working for Le Cirque de Rêves, a travelling circus that arrives without warning and is open only at night. Celia and Marco have been training since childhood with the intent to beat the other to get the job as the sole magician—without realizing that the competition is a fierce game between their respective instructors. Celia and Marco, despite the circumstance, manage to fall in love, resulting in a myriad of perilous repercussions. The Night Circus is absolutely breathtaking, and my favorite stand-alone novel to date.
2. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
The A Court of Thorns and Roses trilogy has been hugely successful, and I felt that I must include it—if not for the incredible characters, then for the complicated court life that our protagonist Feyre must enter after killing a High Fae disguised as a wolf. Thrust into a world of politics and tradition she’s only heard from whispered stories in her village, Feyre must navigate her new life. She lives, as repayment, for the man she killed. Soon Feyre must find a way to stop the evil clouding her new home, for if she doesn’t, the man she loves and the world she lives in will be shrouded in darkness forever. Feyre is one of the most realistic and worldly characters I’ve ever encountered in a series, and I’ve been wildly in love with the world Sarah J. Maas created since its publication in 2015. The trilogy also has a novella, A Court of Frost and Starlight, that was released in May of 2018.
3. Once by Cameron Dokey
Cameron Dokey is a master storyteller, evident through her three-story book Once. It contains three retellings: Before Midnight, a story of Cinderella; Golden, Rapunzel’s tale; and Wild Orchid, the tale of Mulan’s journey. If you haven’t had enough by the time you’ve finished with Once, continue with Once Again (Snow and Beauty Sleep). These retellings put a beautiful twist on the classic, happy-endings fairy tales that have been around for centuries. Cameron Dokey was truly meant to write these retellings.
4. The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman
This is every bit of the supernatural mystery that seems to shroud Caraval as well. The Dark Days Club, set in 1812 Regency London, follows Lady Helen Wrexhall as she follows the mystery of one of her family’s missing maids. Along the way she meets the infamous Lord Carlston, a disgraced man with a scandalous past, who was one of the few men chosen to stop the cell of evil expanding across the city. Helen must choose between the glittering court that is Regency London’s upper class or the city of London as a whole, even if it means sacrificing her reputation in the process. This is one of my favorite Regency books. The little secrets and plot twists really make the book unique, and Lady Helen Wrexhall is everyone’s favorite prim and proper protagonist.
Though these books can’t replace the magic, twists, and intrigue of Caraval and Legendary, they will certainly keep you company until Finale is finally released. Finale by Stephanie Garber will be released on May 7, 2019.
Happy reading! There are so many incredible worlds to discover if only you take the time to do so.