I think I liked this better than Caraval, but I'm still kind of unsure. I liked it, definitely. But there was a connection to the characters that just never quite manifested for me that keeps me from absolutely adoring it.
The story this time is similar to the first book: another Caraval approaches, and Tella is going to play this time. I will never get tired of the kind of magical, what-is-real guessing game that these books put us through; I love not knowing what is going on, and I love that anything is possible. The world of Caraval is magical in such a unique, fun way, and I applaud Stephanie for those world-building skills. Also her writing is absolutely stunning - there were a few moments, a few sentences that had me pausing in my reading just to admire them because...wow. Her descriptors are so beautifully evocative, and her sentences just WORK so well. This is a book that draws attention to how beautiful language is, and I adore that.
I did really enjoy reading from Tella's perspective. She's spunkier than Scarlett, perhaps more fun because of that, and even though the idea of a love triangle is cliche, it WORKED in this book. I am always, always, always a sucker for a sarcastic villain, and Jacks was no exception. From the moment we meet him, rumpled and sassy in the carriage, I knew I was going to love him. But then, Dante. Dante Dante Dante. The dark, handsome, tattooed almost-villain that I adored in Caraval. HOW DOES ONE CHOOSE? The answer: one does not. One waits it out and is happy either way basically.
So, yes, I did enjoy this one. I liked the character dynamics and loved the world they live in. Maybe it was because I didn't have time to sit down and power through this like I wanted to that it felt a little bit flat; I hate reading with distractions, and I think that's all I did through this. But overall, I still liked it. I want to do a reread of both Caraval and Legendary, and I think that would elevate the love I have for this series.