Series: Carnival of Souls, Book One
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’sBooks
Published: 4th September 2012
Number of Pages: 336
Book: For Review*
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal, Magic, Mystery, Thriller-Suspense, Action-Adventure, Dark Romance, Dystopia, YA
Recommended Age: 12+
Contains: Violence, Death, Swearing, Mature Themes
No Alcohol, Drug References
Author's Blog: Melissa Marr
In a city of daimons, the Carnival of Souls hosts a deadly competition. Once in a generation, every citizen can fight 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.
In our own world, Mallory knows that her father—and every other witch—fled the daimons’ city long ago. She trains to be lethal because it’s only a matter of time until the daimons catch up with them.
While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans there for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence that is the Carnival of Souls.
From Melissa Marr, bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series, comes a brand-new tale of secrets, love, and the struggle to forge one’s own destiny.
“So, why are you wearing a knife? She smiled at Kaleb, continuing the imaginary discussion in her mind. In case I need to protect us from monsters... not that I've had to fight them yet, but, you know, just in case…”
Malloy has spent her entire life on the run. She knows she's running from the daimons and that her father, a witch, took something they want, something he refuses to give back. And she's tired of it all, sick of the endless towns and blank houses. She wants the chance to stay somewhere and make it a home - and to date Kaleb, the only boy she’s ever liked.
But with the City after her, Mallory can trust no one. For in the City there are daimons who are as far from human as you could possibly be…
And now, in the Carnival of Souls, the once-in-a-generation competition is beginning. It is a chance for low caste daimons to rise up the strict caste system and join the ruling class.
The City is vicious, deadly and violent, a place where you can get your heart’s desire - at a price. A place where death and pleasure twine together... It's no place for humans.
But Mallory... she might not have a choice...
I love Marr's books, always have. But Carnival of Souls was my favourite by far. It's dark and seductive, dangerous and beautiful. It was just an utterly addictive book that left me absolutely desperate for more of the world, of the characters. Yes, I love Marr's other books. But I absolutely, positively adored Carnival of Souls. Please give me more!
To me, what really shone about this book was the characters. Sure, I adored the world and the plot and everything, but I loved the characters even more! I loved how we slowly got to know them, learning their secrets, bit by bit, and how they all had faults - they weren't perfect and came to life even more because of that. Mallory, for example, was totally kickass, but she had a vulnerable side too. She was also strong and loving. Aya, meanwhile, was totally ruthless and deadly, but just wanted to be in control of her own life, rather than just being used by men. It took a little longer to warm to her, but I got why she did it all and loved her more for knowing her reasons. Kaleb... well, I felt his true nature was bluntly revealed, with no real shock-horror! moment. But I loved him - his protective streak, his passion, how he took care of Zevi... Plus, he was just really yummy. Now, Belias obviously really loved Aya. And the fact he thought the human world was "terrible" with huge "perversions" that were caused by the "barbaric nature of humanity" made me laugh my head off! I also really loved Adam, Mallory's and I loved Zevi, who was just the cutest, funniest, weirdest thing ever! I could literally just wrap him up and take him home with me!
I also really loved the bond between Mallory and Kaleb. I loved how it was dealt with, explained, made real. And I could so feel the chemistry between them!
I loved how we got to read from all the main character's perspectives. It let us look at everything - the world, events, people - in so many different ways, something I found pretty darn magical. Plus, I could see everything in my head - everything! And the plot in this was amazing, better than any of Marr's others. It was fast, full of twists, dark, addictive and amazingly seductive. I was always guessing and I loved that Marr found that perfect balance between non-stop action and the most brilliant word building.
Speaking of, I do love all of Marr's worlds. This one had all her usual richness and even more of the violence! I just loved the City - even if it kind of scared the heebie jeebies out of me! I must say, though, I felt that what demons were and what they could do wasn't explained too clearly to begin with. I'm still a little confused about parts. But, nonetheless, I could see the whole world in my head. It was awesome and so well built up!
While we're on the world, I have to add, I'm a real feminist, so generally I'd prefer a world ruled by women than one ruled by men. And when women are repressed and used for breeding, I'm normally spitting mad. But... I don't know, it just wasn't like that with Carnival of Souls. Maybe it was the afore-mentioned brilliant world building or the kickass female characters, but even the feminist in me was in love with this book. Miracles exist, people!
Deliciously dark and seductively sexy, Carnivals of Souls actually blew me away. I loved it to pieces, gobbled it all up, totally hooked. I also have like three new fictional crushes. Yes, this book was way beyond amazing and exceeded all my expectations. I'm hoping like you wouldn't believe for a second book in this series. So please, Ms Marr! Give me a second book! Because I actually, physically, desperately need to know what happens next! So, please Melissa, please!
4¾ Out of 5
4¾ Out of 5
Read this book if you liked:
The Iron Fey by Julie Kagawa
Fire City by Bali Rai
Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Challenges It's Taking Part In:
* This book was received from HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review