Friday, 20 December 2013


Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

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.

My opinion of this book is divided, but neatly. There are essentially three main characters - Aya, Kaleb and Mallory. Their chapters and lives intersect and become all tangled up, but I only enjoyed two of the characters. I couldn't stand Mallory or anything that happened when she was around. Really. I dreaded her chapters and forced myself not to skip over them to the next interesting part in case I missed something important.

The Mallory parts aside, I really enjoyed this book. A lot more than I expected to, which I feel is something I say far too often - why do I keep buying books I'm not sure I'll enjoy? I liked Aya straightaway and Kaleb grew on me as the story and his character developed, and there were minor characters that I enjoyed, too. I would have liked to see a lot more of Marchosias, the ruler of the city, but I suspect he'll feature more heavily in the second book when that's released. I hope he will, anyway.

The story revolves around a competition to the death with a great prize. This sounds quite a lot like some other books I've read recently - mainly the Throne of Glass books by S.J. Maas. I think I prefer this one, despite the bits with Mallory. The world-building feels better to me, that was something I had issues with in Throne of Glass and the sequel, Crown of Midnight. I could picture everything so much more clearly here, and I honestly found it a bit more interesting because there was more at stake. Perhaps that's because I didn't know this was intended to have a sequel when I started reading, whereas I accidentally bought the sequel to Throne of Glass first so I knew Caelena was going to survive. Here, I had no idea how it would end, and I love not knowing how things will end. I like to be kept guessing.

So, aside from Mallory, I really liked this book. Maybe if Marr kills her off in the next one in a really horrible, gruesome, torturous way, the next book will be perfect. That's not a weird thing to feel about a character.

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