2.5 out of 5 stars
I really want to like these books. The idea is so cool. Instead of improving on the first novel, Legendary is even more impressed with its own sparkle, and has even less substance.
Donatella “Tella” Dragna, pawn in the first book’s Caraval event, finds herself a player this time. To win, she must solve a mystery and make a choice. On one side are The Fates, a god-like race of beings whose magic was stolen and trapped. On the other, Caraval’s nefarious creator, Legend. The Fates seek to free their magic and return to power; Legend wants the magic to make himself unstoppable. In the balance hangs the life of Tella’s long-lost mother. Her maybe-boyfriend Dante is back, along with her sister Scarlett and some other people that honestly, I forget why I was supposed to care about.
In an effort to anchor the story, Tella’s search for her mother bears fruit in Caraval. It’s a decent twist, and I enjoyed the battle between Scarlett and Tella over whether or not their long-lost mother is worth the risk. Still, it’s all just a game. Or is it? Honestly, I don’t really care.
I just re-read my review of the first novel: “Rich and gorgeously detailed, Caraval sets up its own mystique so well, that the eventual plot isn’t quite as clever as it gives itself credit for.” Legendary is less clever. It’s more convoluted. It’s a little too swoony and not enough smart. The Fates are a gorgeous plot point, but not particularly strong – and a good metaphor for this series: eerie, glamorous, but too thin if you hold it to the light.