Author: Melissa Marr
Publish Date: September 4, 2012
Genre: YA, Paranormal
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.
There are two very different worlds inevitably intertwined into one. The first is the mortal world, free and normal. The second is a quick descent into fire and brimstone in a city of daimons. Mallory, however, has one foot in each world, though she doesn't understand why. Her ignorance has always been her protection, but as Kaleb tries to secure a future for himself in The City, Mallory's destiny is called into question. Where does the true balance between the two worlds lie, will there ever be peace and where does Mallory really belong?
If you're a young adult book blogger and don't yet know of Melissa Marr, you should probably hide your face in shame. I kid. Sort of. Carnival of Souls is the new epic adventure written by the veteran author, weaving the dark, searing plots she's known for into a story that is a deadly siren, luring you into a web of destruction. Full of rich adventure, deceit and malice, Carnival of Souls is as its cover implies - fiery destruction at its finest. This novel is a guessing game of dark vs. light and good vs. evil, but nothing is ever quite that simple.
Ok, I'm going to premise my thoughts on Carnival of Souls with this; I read it two times to be able to accurately detail my real thoughts on the novel. It's fast-paced, so the first time, I devoured it in nearly 4 hours. For an epic novel, it's a fairly slim amount of pages, and I'll admit that's it's definitely a page-turner. The second time, I read for the details and to truly formulate how I really feel. The verdict is, honestly, that there is a fairly equal balance of positives and negatives. Carnival of Souls does not lack adventure or drama. In fact, it's chock full of it. The writing is compelling and rich, evoking a true image of The City and the Carnival. Even more so, the drama and action leaps from the pages, making you have to read faster. That, however, is both a strength and a weakness in the case of Carnival of Souls. There was just so much going on in Carnival of Souls that the action almost outshone the characters. After two reads, I still don't have a full grasp on Mallory. I thought I understood Aya, but she's a shadow, and Kaleb just seems surface-heavy. Without those characters to become invested in, and with a host of secondary characters interjected throughout, I felt lost and confused. If the story had been 500 pages and fleshed them out further, I think it would have been perfection.
Overall, there will definitely be people that love this book, and I'll totally understand why. Unfortunately, I just expected more, and I would have hoped to see everything completely defined. I give it a 3.5 out of 5, and I'd recommend it to fans of YA and adult novels, especially those who enjoy paranormal and fantasy novels.
I received this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This, in no way, affected my opinion or review of this book.