Book review: "Legendary" (Caraval #2) by Stephanie Garber (audiobook)


If you read my review of “Caraval” last year, you probably can guess that I had a lot of reservations about “Legendary”. I felt let down by “Caraval” so much that I even considered not picking up the sequel. But since I am a glutton for punishment, I did request a physical copy of “Legendary” from the library. I must say, Stephanie Garber’s books have stunning covers, both US and UK editions.

I thought that I could get through “Legendary” but quickly realized that I didn’t care much to read the physical copy and got myself an audiobook instead.


A heart to protect. A debt to repay. A game to win.

After being swept up in the magical world of Caraval, Donatella Dragna has finally escaped her father and saved her sister Scarlett from a disastrous arranged marriage. The girls should be celebrating, but Tella isn’t yet free. She made a desperate bargain with a mysterious criminal, and what Tella owes him no one has ever been able to deliver: Caraval Master Legend’s true name.

The only chance of uncovering Legend’s identity is to win Caraval, so Tella throws herself into the legendary competition once more—and into the path of the murderous heir to the throne, a doomed love story, and a web of secrets…including her sister's. Caraval has always demanded bravery, cunning, and sacrifice. But now the game is asking for more. If Tella can’t fulfill her bargain and deliver Legend’s name, she’ll lose everything she cares about—maybe even her life. But if she wins, Legend and Caraval will be destroyed forever.

Welcome, welcome to Caraval...the games have only just begun.


Whatever I said about the writing and plot holes in “Caraval”, sadly, still applies for “Legendary”. The characters seem to be two-dimensional, flat, their traits exaggerated beyond measure. The writing only follows the same route: the book is full of beautiful but completely useless in their abundance similes and metaphors like, “and her dress was made out of blue silk and midnight stars” (not an exact quote, but you get the meaning). It would have felt more magical and profound if not for the complete lack of world building and character development. Using pretty words won’t help the lack of plot.

“Caraval” was told from Scarlet's point of view. Her main objective in the first book was to find her missing sister Donatella. She does find her, but the ending has a twist that left a sour taste in my mouth. I felt that Donatella had betrayed her sister, and there was nothing that could redeem her in my eyes, even though Scarlet, naturally, forgives her sister. (I had a problem with it also because Scarlet should have had PTSD after everything that happened, but her feelings and mental state after events in “Caraval” were not addressed.)

Donatella was portrayed as spoiled, uncontrollable, impulsive, and greedy. Yes, Scarlet still loved her and forgave her, but that was how Donatella was depicted in the book. And I hated her.

In “Legendary” though, Donatella is portrayed as impulsive, yes, but also very determined to save and protect her sister in any way possible. Her character voice in the second book changed so much that I couldn’t believe my eyes. Donatella is fierce and unbending but also very gullible, which really goes against her character who reminds us again and again that “she does not kiss the same boys twice”. I found that annoying as her character seemed to be inconsistent with what she was in the first book - at least, this is how it felt to me.

Throughout “Legendary”, Donatella is being almost thrown at one of the villains of the story by the author. She constantly says that she should not trust him and that she is disgusted by what he did, etc., but she is still attracted to him. I found that too unrealistic, as that character went beyond the mere trope of “a bad boy”. He was written as a real villain, who would even force himself on Donatella (there were at least one or two kisses that she did not consent for), and somehow she also found that exciting. I think that Stephanie Garber was trying very hard to create some sort of a love triangle, but it felt forced and unattractive to me.

The author tried to include some red herrings in the narrative, but it was done in such a blunt way that it was just ridiculous. For almost two-thirds of the book, Donatella kept saying that she couldn't believe that THIS could be true. And lo and behold, it turns out to be true. What a twist!

The only thing that “Legendary” made me happy about was Dante. I love his character, and we get to see more of him in this book, which was exciting. My favourite moment in the book was: “And, oh glory, he was shirtless. So very shirtless.”

(I keep hoping to see at least some LGBTQ+ representation in Caraval trilogy, but alas. My headcanon is that Dante is bisexual or polysexual - that would have been very cool.)

Scarlet was barely present in the book, and the way Donatella sees her is also skewed, in my opinion, from what she truly is as a character. At some point, Donatella even starts to doubt her sister. And, once again, big surprise - she shouldn’t have!

I think that overall Stephanie’s writing did improve from book one. “Legendary” is heavy on romance and not so heavy on fantasy and magic, which is a big let down once again. I love Rebecca’s narration - it was the only thing to keep me from giving up on his book. I will most probably pick up the last book in the trilogy in audio as well. I have no idea where the plot would go in book 3, as there is barely any plot, to begin with. I guess we need to get our happy ending for everyone so there will be more romance. Oh boy.

Plot: 2.5 stars
Narration: 4 stars
Overall rating: 3.25 stars

More of my book reviews


BLOG: Audible Canada Launch - Info & FREE Audiobook

You know, sometimes you find yourself thinking, “how the heck did I miss this?”. This was exactly my thought today, when I realized that Audible launched a separate Canadian website. I am a Amazon Prime member and I was fooling around on Amazon Canada a couple of days ago (aka binge shopping), when I saw that a new button appeared next to a cart. I clicked it, logged in to Audible with my Amazon login, and completely missed the fact that I was logging into and not as I had been doing for years.  

Half an hour ago, I thought of checking Audible for new releases and then I remembered, and then it hit me.


Audible launched a dedicated Canadian marketplace.

A dedicated Canadian marketplace.




I did a double take. I looked at, saw a letter from the founder and CEO of Audible, and finally believed what I saw. Moreso, turns out I am two weeks late as it was launched in mid-September. (In my defence, I was just coming back from my vacation and was very jetlagged.)


After a decade of using American Audible, I can switch to Canadian membership. This sounds like a dream.


I have been using for over 10 years. No even kidding (see the screenshot). I registered in 2006, back in a day when Audible was an independent company, because I learned that my favourite fantasy series, The Nightrunner by Lynn Flewelling, was available in audiobook format.


My Audible US page


A lot of things have changed since 2006. I switched from downloading Audible files to my computer and uploading them to my iPod to using a very new and glitching Audible app on iPod Touch then to upgrading to an iPhone, etc. For years I used Audible login separately from Amazon. In fact, I even had (and still do) several Audible logins (another US one registered during a special promo, and two UK ones). I only ever linked Audible with my Amazon account this summer (which resulted in all of my earned statistics & badges being annulled for some reason). And now it seems like there is an option to migrate to Canadian website with my old login.


I have not explored this option yet, as I accidentally logged into to with my login (which is the same as my Canadian Amazon, which makes it all very confusing). Perhaps, I should be able to see my full library from 2006 on but it is not the case. The article that I read on the new marketplace made it sound very easy, but as it shows I am too old-school for any changes (although the thought of using just one login/password combo for Audible and Amazon and being charged in Canadian dollars is very appealing). I will need some time to explore and adjust.


As it stands right now, I somehow have US and Canadian Audible accounts. And I use the same logins/passwords. Perhaps, I would need to get in touch with tech support for that.


For years, I have been paying 14.95 USD for my monthly membership. I am looking forward for being charged 14.95 CANADIAN dollars, as the exchange rate is not in our favour.


Audible Canada membership for Prime users


If you have Amazon Prime, you are eligible for a special promotion at Audible which is giving you 90 days of free trial that includes 1 credit per month. You can purchase any price audiobook for 1 credit. Meaning you are getting 3 audiobooks for free!


As an additional incentive to sign up with, you can get a FREE copy of Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale”. This is a all new version by Audible, which is narrated by the full cast and is unabridged, and includes an afterword from the author and an essay written by author Valerie Martin. This promotion is available for Canadian residents only.


FREE on Audible Canada


Am I excited about this new change? - Heck yeah!

Am I also confused about how to migrate my account from US to Canadian marketplace? - Same answer.

My confusion aside, I am very excited about this change, even though it comes hot on the heels of Kobo launching their audiobooks service. I am all for supporting Canadian companies and I do have a soft spot for Indigo (the former owning company of Kobo), I still prefer Audible for my audiobooks. It has been over 10 years, folks. This type of commitment is hard to break.


Go and register with today!


P.S. I am in no way affiliated with Audible. I am just a fan. :)




Books: January Wrap-Up

Yes, I am posting a January wrap-up today, on March 1. Yes, I am quite aware of it. I ran in a bit of a "writing reviews" slump. Apologies for that. Book video is up today as well.

I listened to a lot of audiobooks in January. To the point that I have already completed my goal of 10 audiobooks for this year. XD Yes, I am an overachiever, apparently.

I posted all of the reviews (long and short) on GoodReads with the exception of two (linked below), you will have to go to GR to read my reviews. I am sorry, if it is inconvenient.

Here is the full list:

(** - means a re-read)

Print books:

  1. "The Darkest Part of the Forest" by Holly Black (my review is HERE) - 5 stars
  2. "Otherbound" by Corinne Duyvis (my review is HERE) - 4 stars


  1. "Welcome to Night Vale" by Joseph Fink and Jeffrey Cranor (started as an print book but switched to an audiobook - my review is HERE) - 4 stars
  2. "The Importance of Being Earnest" by Oscar Wilde, narrated by full cast - 4 stars
  3. "Stories for All Ages" by Oscar Wilde, narrated by Stephen Fry - 4 stars
  4. "Stephen Fry Presents a Selection of Anton Chekhov's Short Stories" - Anton Chekhov, narrated by Stephen Fry - 4 stars
  5. "The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle (The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, #7)" by Conan Doyle, narrated by full cast - 4 stars
  6. "Click-Clack the Rattlebag" by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Neil Gaiman - 4 stars
  7. "The Tell-Tale Heart" by Edgar Poe - 4 stars
  8. "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar" by Neil Gaiman, narrated by Neil Gaiman - 4 stars
  9. "A Vintage Affair" by Josh Lanyon** - story 4 stars, performance 3 stars

Graphic novels:

  1. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 1: The Faust Act (The Wicked + The Divine, #1) - 3.5 stars
  2. East of West, Vol. 4: Who Wants War? - 3 stars
  3. The Wicked + The Divine, Vol. 2: Fandemonium (The Wicked + The Divine, #2) - 3.5 stars
  4. "Blankets" by Craig Thomson - 3.75 stars (review is HERE)
  5. The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes & Nocturnes by Neil Gaiman - 3 stars

E-Books (novels and short stories):

  1. Becoming Elite (Sin City #1) by Tricia Owens - 3 stars
  2. The Concubine Prince: Book One (The Concubine Prince, #1) by Cat Summerfield - 2 stars
  3. The Concubine Prince: Book Two (The Concubine Prince, #2) by Cat Summerfield - 2 stars
  4. The Concubine Prince: Book Three (The Concubine Prince, #3) by Cat Summerfield - 2 stars
  5. "My Dearest Holmes" by Rohase Piercy** - 4 stars
  6. "A Ghost of a Chance" by Josh Lanyon** - 4 stars
  7. "Learning from Isaac (Tarnished Souls, #1)" by Dev Bentham - 3.5 stars
  8. Spice ‘n’ Solace (Galactic Alliance #1) by K.C. Burn - 2 stars
  9. The Horse Mistress: Book 1 by R.A. Steffan - 3.75 stars
  10. "In Plain Sight" by Josh Lanyon** - 4 stars