Oh boy, this book was such a mess.
The writing: Scarlett feels emotions in colour, but it has no relevancy to the plot and it feels like it's only added in as a vehicle for overly descriptive writing: “a tingle of periwinkle curiosity prickled her senses”. Like, what is that shit?
The worldbuilding: It takes place in a fantasy world, which has islands, seasons and magic. That's essentially all the world building you get. Everything else is as vague as smoke.
The plot: Caraval is a travelling gameshow that makes absolutely no sense. The goal of the game is to decipher the clues and locate Scarlett's sister, Donatella, and the whole game revolves around these two characters, making it absolutely worthless for any other contestant who joined with the hope of winning.
Most of the clues don't even make any sense, and everything that happens feels completely random. Scarlett guesses her way through solutions, and is only right because the plot wants her to be.
The main character: Scarlett is supposed to be the cautious, sensible sister, and yet she jumps at every single infuriating chance to be gullible. She's told multiple times that the game is an illusion and to not trust anything, and yet she goes along with everything and accepts literally any deal without hesitation. Only afterwards does she go, "Oh no, I think I made a mistake". Multiple times.
The romance: Scarlett and Julian have known each other for 5 days (including two full days when Scarlett was drugged or magically knocked out). At first Scarlett finds Julian annoying and untrustworthy, and his only redeeming quality is his rock solid, perfectly sculpted abs. And then suddenly they're madly in love. That's the romance.
In my personal spreadsheet I gave this book a negative star rating, but since that's not possible, it gets a half.