Monday, 1 October 2012

Review: Carnival of Souls (Carnival of Souls #1) by Melissa Marr

Carnival of Souls (Carnival of Souls, #1) 
Author: Melissa Marr
Series: Carnival of Souls
Pages: 306
Genre: YA
Publisher: Harper Collins

Synopsis. (Goodreads)

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.

From Melissa Marr, bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series and "Graveminder," comes a brand-new tale of lush secrets, dark love, and the struggle to forge one's own destiny.

Review: 4 ½ out of 5 stars

Carnival of Souls is the first book I have read by Melissa Marr and I was immersed in this story right from the very beginning.

Mallory, Kaleb and Aya are the main narrators and each have a fascinating life and story to tell. The story is rich in detail and magical intrigue.

17 year-old Mallory believes she is a human, having been adopted and raised by a powerful witch living in the human world she has no idea of who or what she is but she does know The City and Daimons do exist so spends her time training for if and when she does eventually come across one.

Kaleb and Aya, both daimons are from The City but both from different castes and participating in the carnival for differing reasons. Kaleb is a Cur and is hired in “black mask” work, fighting and killing to make his living; his latest job was to locate Mallory but he didn't expect to have feelings for her. Aya has entered the competition to avoid marriage and breeding, her way of preventing the secret she is hiding from being revealed.

The carnival is hosted by the ruler, Marchosias and is a fight to the death competition which allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite, but this time around the rules are about to change.

I connected with each of the characters but I felt Mallory as our main heroine was the most bland and we don’t get much emotion or feeling from her initially but she evolves as the story progresses, I was really intrigued by Kaleb and Aya’s lives and how each would benefit by winning the competition, it was an enjoyable plot which kept me riveted.

We get two romances in this book, Kaleb and Mallory which I felt was a bit rushed but was also believable because of their natures and Belias and Aya who I was really cheering on but the secret which was keeping them apart and Aya’s ruthlessness and ambition wasn’t making it easy for them.

I really enjoyed the secondary characters; especially Kevi, Kaleb’s pack-mate and Adam, Mallory’s adoptive father. Evelyn, head of the Council of Witches was also a fascinating character and Belias and his protectiveness when it came to Aya was really noble.

The world building is brilliant, the scene is set perfectly with vivid imagery and the journey we are taken on is exhilarating, I was completely engrossed in Ms Marr’s storytelling, the vibrant characters and her amazing writing.

Carnival of Souls was complex and had a lot of depth; there were many secrets to unravel with quite a few twists and turns, The City was a realm that was brutal as well as beautiful and I was so eager to learn more.

Carnival of Souls is a fascinating concept that had me mesmerized as I was reading along; it was a dark, gruesome and compelling story which leaves us with so many unanswered questions that I am eager to see answered in the sequel.


  1. I haven't read any Melissa Marr books either but this one sounds really good :) Thanks for the review!

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts

  2. I am so glad you loved this too! This was my first of Melissa's books but now I know I want to read the rest. And I really liked Aya!

  3. I haven't read any of Marr's books either, but I have her Wicked Lovely series. I've read a lot of reviews that made me think CoS is a book I wouldn't enjoy. Your review has me rethinking that.
    Thanks for the great, informative review, Sharon!

  4. I've seen this book around, and I've been mildly intrigued. But your review has upped this one in my mind. Sounds like this book has a lot of depth.

  5. Nice!! I keep debating on this one. But am leaning more and more towards adding it to my TBR mountain! It sounds awesome! I liked Melissa's other books, but didn't necessarily love them. Maybe this one will be different in that manner! Great review!

  6. The words "Dark, gruesome and compelling" are always going to grab my attention in a review. However, bland characters and a forced, rushed romance makes me wonder. I've been considering this one ever since I saw that gorgeous cover but wasn't sure. Still, even with it's flaws you gave it a 4.5 so it must be worth reading.

  7. Belias/Aya FTW! I just, I ADORED each of them as individuals AND as a couple. I thought their story was sadder even than anyone else's. Mallory, eh. I honestly don't really care about her. But I did fall pretty damn hard for Kaleb!

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  8. I am very excited about reading this book. I have seen a couple of reviews and I have heard nothing but great things about it! The idea/concept of this book is really what had me so intrigued...but I am also looking forward to meeting the characters. Can't wait! Thanks for the brilliant review! :D I'm glad you enjoyed this!

    ~ Maida @ Literary Love Affair 

  9. Ahh Carnival of Souls! I really enjoyed reading your review. I can honestly say i haven't read anything by her either. I love books that have twists and turns, and this is definitely going on my to-buy list!

    Giselle from Book Nerd Canada

  10. I'm eager to read this. I've wanted to read something by her for so long, but haven't gotten the chance yet, but I want to read this book so bad. The trailer is pretty exciting and I'm even more eager to read this after going over your review. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this book! Have a lovely day :)


  11. Oh I am really enjoying going through all the reviews. this sounds a fierce book I liked the review.

    Grace Crawford Alaska Bear Viewing Tours Day Trips


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