Book Review: Carnival of Souls

5 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Book Review

Carnival of Souls Cover

Title: Carnival of Souls (Series name unlisted #1)

Author: Melissa Marr

Summary: [from 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.

My Review

I’m having a really hard time articulating what I thought about this book. On the one hand, there was a great diversity of characters and a fun setting. On the other, that ending? Awful!

One of the things I really appreciated about this one was the way Mallory was trained to deal with her future. Too many YA paranormals rely on the “Surprise! You’re a _____________ and we never told you!” plot, keeping the main character totally clueless. In this case, even though there were some things Mallory didn’t know, her guardian prepare her for that world anyway. (Though, I am still mad at him for the way he just took her memories – that is SO not okay!)

I also really liked the Carnival of Souls as a retelling of the fae market archetype. The masked sellers made me think of an oddly dark Venice, a mirror-world Venice if you will. True, some of the scenes were pretty gory, but that just set the tone better.

My main complaint? That ending! It really didn’t seem like a place to stop. All of the lines of the story are finally coming together, we have a big reveal and… it’s over. There’s NO REACTION! Mallory finds out she’s a demon-baby and then isn’t angry at all that she’s been kept in the dark by someone stealing her memories? I don’t buy it. If I found out someone had been stealing my memories I’d at least throw a screaming tantrum, to Hell with stopping demons!

If this had been the middle of a single book and we got a reaction later, would I be okay with it? I don’t know. But as it stands, the sequel is pretty far down my reading list!

Leave a Reply

5 Responses to “Book Review: Carnival of Souls”

  1. Nancy says:

    I’ve been waiting to read this book but everyone seems to complain about the same thing, the ending. I hate when the endings don’t do the book justice… That’s just too bad.

  2. Since there were spoilers, I didn’t read the review, BUT I did buy this book when Melissa Marr was here for a book signing, so I do plan to read it sometime! I’m interested to see what the ending is! Is it really that awful?

  3. Alexa says:

    I seem to hear good and bad things about this book. I have only read one book by this author and I wasn’t impressed and it was DNF for me so I’m sort of wondering if I should take time to read this.

    Thanks for the great review!

  4. […] the 20th I complained about the ending of Carnival of Souls by Melissa […]

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