Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Book Review- Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

Title: Carnival of Souls
 Author: Melissa Marr
Series:  N/A
Published:  4 September 2012 by Harpercollins
Length: 306 pages
Warnings:  violence, kissing, prostitution
Source: Publishers
Other info: Melissa has also written the Wicked Lovely series, as well as Graveminder.
Summary : In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures--if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.
 All Mallory knows of The City is that her father--and every other witch there--fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.

Review: We begin with a daimon bargaining with a  (male) witch for the safekeeping of her child. Nearly seventeen years later, this girl, Mallory, has grown up knowing the dangers of daimons, and training with her adoptive father so she will be able to fight them should they attack. Meanwhile, the majority of daimons live in the City, the only place that the witches left them with.  Here, the Carnival of Souls is  running, where assassins, prostitutes and others sell their services and goods. There is also a completion in which young daimons fight to the death in order to rule the City. Kaleb is a demon who is in the later stages of the tournament. He also  crosses over to the human world looking for Mallory.  When he finds her, she starts learning who she really is.
I’ve never read any of Melissa’s stuff before, so I wasn’t really sure what to expect in terms of writing quality and such. However, the premises of this was great-how could I not love a carnival full of demons?
When we first enter, I wasn’t disappointed. The description is vivid, full of action and Melissa has created a world that I’ve always thought about and loved the idea of. The Carnival is the latest on my list of fictional places I really really want to go to.  So much is going on, and it brings to my mind a fantastical gothic Renaissance fair.
The modern world seems quite boring in contrast, with not too much going on there at the start. Things soon pick up for Mallory though. I found her a bit annoying, constantly worrying even though she had good reason to, and I felt that she didn’t really do much apart from worry about if the guy she liked would be able to find her after she moved. When he does, and he tells her how he feels, she takes it in a realistic  and funny way which made me like her a little more.
I really liked Aya. She’s strong, determined and goes against the norm by not wanting to breed (here, daimons need to breed to keep the bloodlines going), instead aiming to rule. Her willingness to kill her childhood friend and ex-betrothed made me like her a bit more. Kaleb is the main male character, and his sense of family and duty offsets the fact that he fights a lot, and fights viciously. Adam is Mallory’s father, who is ridiculously overprotective and he reminds me a little of Nathan from Repo. Zevi is my favourite character of the lot. Fiercely devoted to  Kaleb, taking care of him, they have a great relationship between them. The way he reacts when Kaleb goes off and gets himself torn up or signed up for death if something doesn’t happen is both cute and provides a little comic relief.
The whole way the daimon competition for ruling is set out is really different but intriguing. I really enjoy this world that’s been developed.
Plotwise...the Mallory and Kaleb thing is good, but not my kind of thing. The tournament is more my kind of thing as is  Aya’s manipulations of various people to try and get what she wants. It was instalove on Kaleb’s part, which I really didn’t like.   I’d like to see Mallory become more integrated with the City in the next book as she tries to learn more about her family.

 Overall:  Strength 4 tea to a novel with a rich setting and a lot of promise.


  1. I started this book recently and while I was really interested, I put the book down and haven't yet returned to it. Reading reviews of the book like yours helps me get excited about reading it again..

  2. This one sounds pretty intriguing, I'm especially interested in the world that's been created. Aya sounds like a great character too! Thanks for the review, really excited to read this now.

  3. I wasn't interested in this book until just recently. I'm glad you liked it so much, because I'm getting excited to read it.

  4. I've heard nothing but great things about this book. It definitely sounds like something I will enjoy. I'm going to check it out soon. Lovely review!


Thanks for taking time to read this!
Comments are much loved.
Nina xxx

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