Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Book Review: Carnival of Souls, by Melissa Marr

While I enjoyed reading Carnival of Souls, it's not going to be a book that sticks with me for a long time.

Mallory is living a secret life with her father who is a witch, but Mallory doesn't realize that she is a daimon. Back in The City, the world of daimons, there is a competition involving fighting to the death to be allowed to enter the elite class of daimons. Aya and Kaleb are both top contestants in the fight.

Aya is already a member of the elite and a woman, and it is unheard of for a woman to enter the competition. Aya has secrets of her own that no one must know. Kaleb is a cur, the lowest form of daiman. He is also an assassin and has been hired to find Mallory in the human world and kill her. When he finds Mallory, everything changes.

Carnival of Souls is a complex tale of witches and daimons, living in two separate worlds. They are at war with each other, but there are a lot of secrets about our main characters that muddy the waters between good and evil. Alliances are made, magic is used, and things happen so fast that I had a hard time keeping track at times. I found the characters that make up The City and their classes and traditions to be the most difficult to follow.

While Carnival of Souls kept my attention, I didn't really ever feel my heart pound or feel any emotional investment. I've thought about this quite a bit, and I think it's because of the characters. I didn't connect with Mallory because she's totally oblivious and therefore is a wimp. Aya is tough, but because of her secret, she has an unfair advantage that I found a bit convenient. I guess Kaleb was my favorite.

If I can't feel for the characters, it's just a good story. I could compare Carnival of Souls to Throne of Glass or Shadow and Bone. Both of these books had me so wrapped up in the main character that I was holding my breath with anticipation of their next move. Carnival of Souls just didn't compare to either of these books.

I also have (my usual) complaint about the "ending" of Carnival of Souls. It, like many books in a series, just stops. There really isn't an ending or any resolution. I absolutely despise when an author can't wrap up an episode but still leave us wanting the next installment of the series -- the next story. Not the end of this story. I shouldn't have to read another book to find out the ending. The entire story should be complete in ONE book. I'll stop now....

There's some great world building in Carnival of Souls and an interesting concept of war between witches and daimons. I just didn't connect enough with the characters to really make this a highly rated book for me.

I'll still recommend this to Marr fans and fans of adventure fantasies. I know that I've read many great reviews of Carnival of Souls, and this might be easier for teens to connect with than me.

Published by HarperCollins, September 4, 2012
eBook purchased
320 pages

Rating: 3/5

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  1. I thought this was a good book too but not great. Although some elements were already developed nicely there were still things lacking.

    Great review! :)

  2. You know, I really liked this one a lot, but I can confirm that months later, I'm not really thinking about it too much, and I don't remember it very well. I agree that Throne of Glass and Shadow and Bone are better books. Maybe teens will connect more with this series. Great review!


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