36329818I just do not understand why people like this series. With every additional word I read, I find myself hating it more and more. And here’s the thing, I’m convinced at this point that the author has no idea how to write a likable character. Legendary by Stephanie Garber was just awful. So awful, in fact, that I wish I could rate it lower than I already have. And here’s the thing; if Garber’s goal was to have her readers leave the story hating her main characters, then I could probably respect it at least a little bit. But I think it’s very clear that we’re supposed to adore Donatella Dragna and feel some sort of strange love/hate for her two love interests. And I just cannot deal with the ridiculousness of it all. I don’t feel anything for these characters. I have no desire to see them succeed nor do I care if they fail. It could not matter less to me what happens to them. And that, my friends, is the biggest problem that Legendary has.

Following the events of Caraval, Tella hooks up (really, she kisses him a lot and sleeps in his bed) with Dante–why he had to return is frustrating beyond belief because I couldn’t stand him in the first novel and in fact, he’s even worse in this one–at a party and then follows the Caraval performers to their next location in order to play the game herself so that she can repay the apparently evil man who helped her and Scarlett get themselves into the first game. As an aside, I wonder how this guy managed to get them into the game in the first place but also arranged for Julian to bring them out there because it doesn’t seem like he actually has the connections necessary to do so if Tella was supposed to get him Legend’s real name as payment. Unfortunately, she never managed to get his payment from before by the deadline, so now the stakes have been increased and if she does not hand over the mysterious Caraval Master by the end of the game, she will not only lose her mother but she will also lose her life.

Garber’s inability to get me to care about what happens to these characters comes from a number of places. The first lies in the fact that they’re all enormously selfish–especially Tella–and we, as readers, are expected to like them for being selfish. I don’t think Garber even realizes how truly selfish these characters are and attempts rather poorly to masquerade the majority of them as caring individuals. In fact, the only character who seems to give a damn about anyone but themselves is Dante and it is in the most annoying of ways. Ironically enough, while Dante has several selfless moments, he is the character eventually pinned down as the most selfish and uncaring. Tella, in fact, is so utterly stupid that she questions whether or not he cares for her simply because, at one point, he runs off and this is in spite of the fact that he saves her life multiple times throughout the course of the novel. Not only is Tella selfish and stupid, but she is also unnecessarily dramatic on almost every damn page of the book, often over the most idiotic of things.

The love interests in this story are absolutely ridiculous, largely because they are all representative of deeply unhealthy relationships. Jacks is stereotypical abusive, so I suppose its a good thing that Tella doesn’t actually love him, but the fact that he is presented as a potential suitor is incredibly frustrating. I also find the entire plot surrounding who he is, why he kisses Tella, and what that kiss ultimately results in at the end are thoroughly ridiculous and unrealistic. Dante is shrouded in secrecy for no reason because it’s incredibly easy for readers to figure out all of his secrets. He gets annoyed with Tella for no reason and then decides to knowingly put her in danger, which he later regrets all because he cares about her. Ironically, when he and Tella discuss this, her thoughts turn immediately to the fact that she would have reciprocated his actions had the situation been reversed. It’s good to know that, when they are feeling annoyed with each other, they’ll go out of their way to put the other one in danger. Of course, it is when Tella knowingly throws herself into risky situations all with the express purpose of angering him that Dante apparently falls in love with her. I just…how is this okay?

To add to all of this buffoonery, I’ve read two books in this world now, both focused on the main characters playing Caraval, and I still don’t have the faintest idea as to how or what, even, the damn game actually is? The clues are nonsense and at the end of the day all of the answers simply fall into the laps of the main characters despite the fact that they just run around literally doing nothing for the entire bloody novel. And don’t even get me started on the absolute ridiculousness that was the vapidly stupid plot twist behind Scarlett’s fiancée from the previous book. I rolled my eyes so hard I think I’m going to have a hard time seeing for the next week and a half.

And Legend’s identity? Yeah, I saw that coming a mile away. The magic in the novel makes absolutely no sense, which ultimately leaves me feeling as though the main plot was entirely useless. There’s so much riding on the fact that the fates are bad and must not be released from their card prisons and while everyone seems to understand this, the character with the most to lose doesn’t seem to care. In fact, this character who is supposed to be quite intelligent doesn’t even pause for a second to consider other options? The idiocy of the characters who are supposed to be smart just astounds me sometimes. I’m sorry, but an author cannot simply tell me that their character is smart and expect me to believe this nonsense when everything written shows me the exact opposite.

At this point, I’m fairly certain that nothing will really ever alleviate the vast amount of confusion I have as to why and how this book ever gained the level of popularity that it did.

🦊

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10 thoughts on “Legendary [Stephanie Garber]

  1. Love your point of view! Me personally I LOVE the Caraval series but I totally understand what you are saying about not understanding certain fandoms…. I totally did not like From Twinkle, With Love so I’m sitting stumped wondering WWWHHHHYYYYYYY this book, When Dimple Met Rishi and all the books in the set have such high praise!

    1. Yeah! I think that might have a lot to do with the fact that those books are some of the few good, or at least decent, YA novels about Indian characters (at least in the sense that they’ve gotten an adequate level of attention). And that’s not only incredibly important, but it makes sense why a lot of people would like it.

      I sometimes worry about badly written books getting a lot of extra praise simply because they are diverse, but I’ve yet to come across one that was poorly written to the point that it was painful that has received brownie points for diversity. Then again, 50 Shades of Grey is popular and that’s the most poorly written book in the universe, so I suppose even terrible books have the potential to be liked by a lot of people and diversity, in my opinion, is a way better reason to like a book than the reasons people cite for liking 50 Shades.

      I’ve only read There’s Something About Sweetie in that particular series and I didn’t like it at all. The characters didn’t feel very developed, the insta-love made me cringe so badly, and there were a few inconsistencies with how it tried to push back against fat shaming. But I am glad that there are diverse books out there now for people to appreciate.

  2. Great review. I couldn’t even finish the first one so I can’t commend you enough for reading both. Are you planning on reading the next book in the series?

  3. I haven’t read Legendary yet (because I haven’t bought it 🤷🏻‍♀️), but I remember that Caraval took me forever to finish it and I never fully understood why people like it so much.

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