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Melissa Marr’s ‘Carnival of Souls’ intriguing read but rushed October 14, 2012

Posted by Diana McCabe in Authors, Book picks.
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I’m a big fan of Melissa Marr’s books and so I couldn’t wait to read CARNIVAL OF SOULS, a tale that revolves around the mistrust and hatred between daimons and witches. It’s an intricate YA story — and it will hold your attention — but it’s not fully developed and Marr obviously has a sequel planned. Here’s the description from the book that’s posted online:

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.

Marr’s story focuses on Mallory,  the daughter of the daimon ruler Marchosias. But she doesn’t know she’s a daimon. She thinks she’s a human because her mother let a witch — Adam — raise her in the human/witch world. He teaches her how to fight. And to fear and hate daimons. (Why did her mother give her up? Most daimon babies don’t survive the rough city.)

But other daimons — from the daimon world — have been hired by Mallory’s biological father and his enemies to find her. Mallory’s daimon father says she was stolen from him and wants her back. In the daimon world — daughters are meant for one thing — making little daimons. One of the searchers is a lower caste daimon named Kaleb. He finds Mallory and befriends her in the human/witch world.

But there are other story lines going on in Marr’s richly created world of daimons and witches, and if you aren’t paying attention it is easy to get lost in the different characters. There is Aya — who lives in the daimon world and has decided that despite her high-class birth, she will fight in a deadly competition that will let her help rule the city if she wins. She’s the only female to have ever entered and she is pitted against her former betrothed — Belias. Belias can’t understand why Aya won’t marry him, why she feels she has to fight (she does have a good reason!)  or why she doesn’t want to “breed.” He truly loves her and wants to protect her. This in itself or Mallory’s story alone would have held my attention, too. But Marr packs in the plot lines.

On top of this story, we learn more of Kaleb — called a cur in the book — and his packmate Zevi. The two are tight and are like brothers. Zevi heals Kaleb after each battle. We also have the back story of Mallory’s foster Dad — Adam — and his all-powerful sibling Evelyn.

I loved the different characters Marrs creates in this story. And the two worlds are so different, especially the daimon world with all of its rigid class structures. You realize that they are going to be part of the sequel or sequels. But I found toward the end that everything was speeding together too fast in the story. The ending was cramped. Another zinger plot point is flung in near the end of the story and all of a sudden — BAM — you are on the last page with a gigantic thud.

I was a bit flabbergasted at the way Marr just ended the story. Without spoiling anything, you know where the next book will pick up. I know this is what authors do now — especially in YA. But it’s a total downer to be left standing out there — giant cliff hanger — with such an abrupt ending. Despite it all — I really liked this story and want to know more. I would just advise you to wait until the sequel is out before reading CARNIVAL because then you won’t have to wait to find out what happens next.

Comments»

1. Find Out More - August 22, 2013

I enjoy looking through your websites. Kudos!


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