Speed Date with The City: CARNIVAL OF SOULS by Melissa Marr

Posted 15 November, 2012 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 16 Comments

Fantasy
306 pages, hardcover
Available now (September 2012)
Publisher: Harper
Review copy provided by publisher via BEA

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.

This is so not what I expected when I picked up this book. Gorgeous writing, of course. I totally expected that from the fabulous Melissa Marr (yes, I’m a fangirl.). But the three entwining stories are both grittier and darker than I expected (not sure why I expected anything light. Marr doesn’t generally write light and a title like CARNIVAL OF SOULS should have been an indicator).

The class system in The City is very much like the castes of India and the expectations of highborn females is downright old school. Highborn Aya, one of the three POV’s, is determined to escape this fate and enters a deadly competition to do so. Of The City but of the lowest class, Kaleb also wants to escape his lot in life via the competition but takes a little side job to find Mallory. When he finds her, there’s a bit of insta-love and he hauls her back to his cave to protect her. Rather literally. Including marrying her on the sly and promising to knock her up ASAP. A little WTF-ish, especially for Mallory.

The ridiculous societal “norms” force Aya, Mallory and Kaleb to grow stronger with each battle as they fight for what they most desire. Fabulous.

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16 Responses to “Speed Date with The City: CARNIVAL OF SOULS by Melissa Marr”

  1. The darkness and edgyness is what I love most about Melissa Marr!! I remember when I first read Wicked Lovely and it turned out to be so dark, especially with the second book! But I love her and I am excited to see where Carnival of Souls is going to head!

  2. Interesting review.. I was going to pick this one up..but now I really don’t know. Ha, insta-love stories can be a little overwhelming and ridicules for me

  3. Wait. He literally drags her back to a cave, marries her on the sly and then informs her he’s going to knock her up asap? OH, THE ROMANCE MARY! It’s almost more than I can bear 😉 I’ve been reading so many mixed reviews for this one that I’ve just sort of put it off in a pile by itself – sometimes the book seems to taunt me and I really want to read it, and then other times I’m all “meh”. You seemed to have enjoyed it, caveman romance WTF-ery aside, so I’m back in the “I will read this” camp:)

    • I know you’re intrigued *cough, cough* — ROMANCE IS SO NOT DEAD WITH THIS GUY!! Even though I wound up really enjoying the whole story overall, I rolled my eyes multiple times when it came to that whole aspect. Because…wow.

    • The Wicked Lovely series is still my favorite. This one’s pretty odd,/gritty/intriguing so interesting overall but I can’t imagine what I would have thought if this was my first Marr.

  4. Ha ha, I liked Carnival Of Souls and how dark it was. I never really thought all that deeply about how weird Kaleb is, however, I did like your review and think you make a good point about that whole cave thing lol.