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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Review: Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
Publication Date: September 4th, 2012
Publisher: HarperCollins
Page Count: 306 pages
Format: ARC
Source: San Diego Comic-Con 2012
Carnival of Souls
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.
Despite having never read anything by Melissa Marr, I had really high expectations for this one. Not only was the whole blogosphere all a twitter about it, but Comic-Con did a special giveaway of only 20 coveted ARCs that people were clambering to get. After all of this build up, I finally sat down to read it and I was thoroughly let down. Not only was the plot seriously confusing for most of the story, there were several characters that just rubbed me the wrong way. Oh, hello Mallory, I didn't know you were related to Bella Swan! >_< But I digress. While I really did enjoy Carnival of Souls I feel like it was overly hyped and my high expectations were let down in more than one way.

The story is told from multiple perspectives that all sort of come together at one point or another. There's Aya, the badass killer who's fighting for her right to have a life outside marriage; Kaleb, the most sought after assassin in The City who's fighting his way up the social ladder; Mallory, the annoying naive and mostly clueless daughter of the most powerful man in The City who's spent her whole life in the human world; and all of the side characters who contribute to the livelihood of these three protagonists. While I loved Aya, I felt like I didn't get enough of her. She's so awesome and independent I just wanted to read a book all about Aya. The rest of the characters were alright, but most of the time I either really disliked them or I couldn't really care less about what they were doing.

The story itself is incredibly confusing to get into. I found myself having a hard time understanding what was going on and what the different words or places were. A lot of things are mentioned, but never fully explained by anyone so I was left to just figure it out on my own. Also, a lot of things were really predictable. Characters spend a lot of time hiding things that seemed obvious to me, or I'd make a guess as to what was going to happen next and then, boom!, it happened. Other things, however, really surprised me and added a lot to the plot line. It was definitely fast paced enough to keep my attention and I didn't get bored while reading it. It seemed like 50+ pages would go by and I wouldn't even realize it!

Overall Carnival of Souls was a good read, but it didn't live up the hype. Perhaps my expectations were too high, but I was definitely thrown off by the amount of work I had to do to understand what was going on most of the time. A lot of the carnival elements are really fantastic, but I think I would have liked the story more if it was set strictly in The City and didn't have any contemporary elements. I loved the ideas of street vendors wearing masks to display their "goods" and I would have liked to learn more about that world. Carnival of Souls definitely takes you to an interesting place and despite its flaws I'm excited to see where things will lead next!


  1. The actual carnival sounds very cool and interesting. I also love multiple POVs and they all seem like great characters. It is too bad it is confusing. I have heard a lot of mixed things on this so far. I'm planning on just checking out the audio book when it becomes available.

  2. I'm a big fan of Melissa Marr, so hopefully I'll enjoy this book too. Sad to hear it didn't live up to your expectations though. Anyway lovely review!

  3. I'm really intrigued by this one; although the reviews are all over the board on it. I think that has my curiosity even more... although I'm worried about the confusing factor.

    -Jac @ For Love and Books

  4. Oh boy. I confused easily so there is probably no hope for me with this one. lol I haven't read any of the author's other work either, but I have definitely hyped this book up in the same way you have. It'll be interesting to see how I'll find it. Thanks for the review, Anna! :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

  5. I am so intrigued about this one but am not sure that I want to read something that least not any time soon.

  6. I'm hoping there's a LOT more of The City/etc in the sequel. And uh, less of Mallory. Haha that's terrible, but like we talked, she was just FLAT and boring and I didn't really care for her at all.

    Molli | Once Upon a Prologue

  7. I absolutely hate feeling confused reading a novel. I'm not a fan of an author thinking I should know something that there is no way in hell I, or most of the general population would actually know. I love the cover for this one, so it has been catching my eye lately. Though I haven't read anything by Melissa Marr either, maybe I will start with the Wicked Lovely series. Great review!

  8. I wasn't a big fan of the Wicked Lovely series and couldn't read past the first two books, the characters just rubbed me the wrong way as you put in your review about Carnival... I've heard the hype about this but I'm extremely wary to start reading it, but I probably will one day... far away in the future, might wait to see the reviews for book two.

    Great review!
    Nomalicious Reads

  9. Aww man, so maybe I'll just stay a Melissa Marr virgin and not read this one. I loath multiple POVs! I end up like only 1 or 2 characters and skip parts to get to them. So, I am going to hold off on this one. Thanks for the review & saving me some time!😌

  10. I haven't read anything by Melissa Marr yet, and this really makes me question whether or not I should try. Then again, you didn't say this book was a total piece of rubbish, just that you were let down. Which means...library. Yep, I'll try this one from the library.

    Maybe if you read other books sometime by Melissa Marr, you'll like her other books better? (Just a suggestion--I haven't read them either, though they have gorgeous titles.)


  11. I loved this story. I thought it was a dark and compelling start to the series.

    Grace Crawford Alaska Bear Viewing Tours Day Trips


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