Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

Untamed City #1

Carnival of Souls

Rate this book
ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED as Carnival of Souls in 2012

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, 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.

From Melissa Marr, bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series and Graveminder, comes a brand-new tale of lush secrets, dark love, and the struggle to forge one's own destiny.

306 pages, Hardcover

First published July 31, 2012

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Melissa Marr

125 books12.7k followers

Melissa Marr is a former university literature instructor who writes fiction for adults, teens, and children. She is best known for the Wicked Lovely series for teens, the Graveminder for adults, and her debut picturebook Bunny Roo, I Love You.

Her books have been translated into twenty-eight languages and been bestsellers internationally as well as domestically (NY Times, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal).Accolades include starred reviews on numerous books, YALSA Popular Paperbacks, IRA Notable Book Pick, Book Sense Pick (YA and adult), Good Morning America Summer Pick for Teens, Scottish Book Trust, Red Maple finalist (in both Ontario and Manitoba), and Goodreads Good Choice Award (Horror), RWA RITA award (YA).

She also write romance for adults as Ronnie Douglas.

She co-authored (with Kelley Armstrong) a MG trilogy as M.A. Marr.

In addition to novels, Melissa has co-edited several anthologies, as well as published short fiction, manga, and prose non-fiction.

She currently lives with her family in Arizona.

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
2,026 (24%)
4 stars
2,796 (34%)
3 stars
2,196 (26%)
2 stars
838 (10%)
1 star
308 (3%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,297 reviews
Profile Image for Nafiza.
Author 6 books1,206 followers
October 15, 2012
Strike one: The contradictory nature of the narrative. Mallory spends all her time learning how to be a good fighter but when she's faced with daimons that she has spent her life learning how to fight, she's useless. Regardless, her aunt speaks about wanting to use her as a killer...of what? Ants? Because I don't think she can kill anything else. Mallory calls her father "Daddy" most of the time but then all of a sudden switches to calling him Adam. It's jarring and conflicting with her character. Adam supposedly "loves" his daughter but his treatment of her suggests otherwise.

Strike Two: The telling instead of the showing. I'm aware that there are times when you just have to give information but for the entirety of the book we are told that witches and daimons do not get along. What are Daimons? Are they demons? Why don't they get along? What's the history? Why do Daimons sound like werewolves? With packmates etc? The novel is full of unnecessary narrative and the main character, or rather the alleged main character, gets about 50 pages of face time. What's up with that? She is not developed at all. The romance is even worse. It just springs out all of a sudden and they are kissing and making out and belonging to each other. What the actual frack?

Strike Three: The treatment of women in this novel. A continuation of the romance. We are supposed to like Kaleb? Who went ahead and "married" Mallory without her consent and promised to have her "breeding" by the time she is 18? What the actual fuck? We are supposed to find it romantic? That she was Adam's daughter and now she is Kaleb's "wife." He legit calls her that, addresses her as such in his mind and we are supposed to coo and think it cute? I find it so freaking disturbing. That no one tells her true nature, that she's a freaking Daimon and they manage to hide such an intrinsic part of her so easily. She is never a person but an object. To fuck, to breed but never to be liked for the person she is though to be fair, she is not much of a person. We don't see much of her at all. And Mallory instead telling them all where to go at the end can't decide whether she likes them more for not telling her or less. What the actual frack?

I legitimately felt gorge rise in my throat every time I read about women being referred to as breeders. Mallory has zero agency in this novel, no, giving her two guns and some knives does NOT make her a self-actualized, self-realized protagonist. She does not have agency when her freaking father figure keeps on wiping out her memory and keeping her submissive. And no, Aya being present as foil does not do anything to offset the way Mallory is treated.

I disliked this novel. A lot. In case you can't tell. Ugh.
Profile Image for Emily May.
1,964 reviews294k followers
September 18, 2012

A feels an inexplicable, seemingly supernatural, attraction to B. However, B is sexy and gorgeous and also just super-duper awesome, whilst A is plain and ordinary. So B could never be interested in A. Except, oh my, B is interested in A. But B has a secret, he isn't who or what A thinks he is, and this secret could tear them apart.

Does this sound even vaguely familiar to you? If the answer is no, I'm guessing you have yet to journey into the land of young adult paranormal novels. In that case, welcome! But to those of you who are familiar with the genre I am talking about, I would not approach this novel expecting anything particularly original. At least where the characters and relationships are concerned, anyway. The setting is another matter, I thought the Carnival of Souls and The City to be quite a fascinating and promising world that was wasted as a backdrop to two forbidden romances stories.

I gave this book as much as a chance as I have ever given any other book, and much more than most. I saw it through to the end and I reluctantly kept picking it back up even when I got to that point where I'd put it down to check goodreads updates for about an hour, then have that "I'm sure I was doing something before I got distracted" moment, *looks around room and sees book* "oh yeah... that". Chapter one was bad and I kept on reading only because I desperately wanted an excuse to buy the audio which is read by the wonderful James Marsters. I should have just followed my initial instincts and stopped.

Some of my status updates were about this book so I apologise if some of you are reading things I've already said but they're an important part of what I want to articulate in this review. In the very first chapter (which is thirteen pages in length), we are told no less then eleven times that Mallory cannot be with Kaleb even though she wants him sooooo bad. Kaleb's name comes up so many times when we are reading Mallory's point of view that I think I'm sick of the name for life. We also have the old young adult special: the absent parent. One or both of them are always dead or missing or unknown. Originality, wherefore art thou?

The thing that saves this book from being a total disaster is that it is split into two perspectives - Mallory and Aya - and Aya's is better and more interesting than Mallory's typical young adult paranormal romance story. In fact, at first I thought I was going to be proven totally wrong about the book when Aya marched in to chapter two and began to turn the story in a new direction and chapter three I would say is the high point of the whole book. But my interest in Aya also began to wane when her story became a tale of forbidden love as well. I just don't get it... there are daimons and witches and fights to the death - why focus 99% of the story on romance? Wasted potential.

Carnival of Souls will probably suit fans of paranormal romance, but I think it will disappoint those who like a more sophisticated plot with bigger problems than if they'll end up together because - look away now if you want to avoid a spoiler - they undoubtedly will.
Profile Image for ♥Rachel♥.
1,857 reviews847 followers
July 20, 2012
4.5 Stars

This was a deliciously dark, magic filled tale of daimons and witches, and their hatred of each other.

In Carnival of Souls, we have three POVs: Mallory, Kaleb and Aya.

Seventeen year old Mallory craves normal. She moves from town to town, always “the new girl” in school. She never has a chance to make close friends, or have a boyfriend, for that matter. This is because her adoptive father, Adam, is a witch on the run. He took something from the daimons long ago, and they want it back. Adam has always taught Mallory to be constantly on guard and prepared for a daimon attack. Although for all their running she has had yet to set one. These are the rules she lives by until she meets Kaleb. Mallory knows that whatever attraction she feels for him can never work because he’s a human, and she could never share her crazy world with him, putting him in danger as well. Also, she’ll probably be moving again soon, if the past is any indication. Little does Mallory know, Kaleb is far from human and he was sent to find her.

Kaleb lives in The City. It’s is a world apart from humans with a rigid caste system in place, and Kaleb is on the bottom rung. He is hired for his skills in “black mask” work, fighting and killing, and that’s why he’s been hired to find Mallory. He finds his duty tested when he starts to care for Mallory. In addition to the black mask jobs, Kaleb has also entered into a competition. The Carnival of Souls happens once in every generation, and gives any daimon that wins a chance to raise his caste, and join in the ruling class. The price could be your life as this is a fight-to-the-death situation. Kaleb yearns to improve his lot in life and that of his pack mate, Zevie, and is willing to risk everything to do it.

Aya, is a daimon in The City in the ruling class. Because of the future that is inevitable for a woman in her position, she enters into the competition as well. Otherwise, she’ll be married off and forced to breed. Aya has plans to rule and improve her world, and having this future forced onto her does not fit into the plan.

I felt a strong and immediate connection with Mallory and Kaleb, and I felt as if their concerns were my own. Mallory is so innocent in spite of her violent training. She strives to please her father and be the good obedient daughter. Adam, her father, is keeping many secrets from her which I found irritating but I know it was motivated by his love. The relationship between Mallory and Kaleb had shades of insta-love but I didn’t find this annoying at all. Kaleb has to be my favorite character by far. His loyalty and desire to protect the ones he loves while trying to improve their lives, is very touching. I didn’t have an immediate attraction to Aya but as her story is revealed I understood the reasons behind her actions and warmed to her considerably.

This story was so well-paced and fast moving, it sucks you in from the first pages. I was eager to turn the next page and find out the next revelation or plot twist. Melissa Marr has a talent of writing dark tales where the lines between good and bad are often blurred and the characters are usually a little of both. This was the case in Carnival of Souls. While we’re not left with a horrible cliffhanger, the story is far from over. I eagerly await the sequel and will be picking it up the first chance I get.

You can find this review and more at The Readers Den.
Profile Image for Nikoleta.
683 reviews276 followers
March 14, 2017
Πρωτότυπη ιστορία, με πολλή δράση και ενδιαφέροντ��ς ήρωες. Μπορώ να πω ότι μου άρεσε. Θα μου άρεσε περισσότερο όμως άμα δεν ήταν τόσο βιαστικό. Θα ήθελα να έχει αφιερώσει περισσότερες σελίδες στην ανάλυση του κόσμου που έχτισε και φυσικά στην σχέση των δυο ηρώων. Επίσης η ίδια η ιστορία είναι κάπως βιαστικά ειπωμένη, νομίζω ότι το βιβλίο σήκωνε άλλες 100 με 150 σελίδες, τότε θα ήταν πολύ πιο ωραίο. Φυσικά κάνει μπαμ το οτι είναι απλά ενα εισαγωγικό βιβλίο στον κόσμο της Πόλης. Παρόλα αυτά δεν βλέπω πουθενά την ύπαρξη ενός δευτερου βιβλίου... κρίμα. 3,5 αστεράκια
Profile Image for Heidi.
1,395 reviews153 followers
February 24, 2015
“Three stars: A world where everything is for sale for a price at the Carnival of Souls.

At the Carnival of Souls bodies jostle in the crowded streets. Everyone is here for something....whether it be pleasure, fights, murder, favors, secrets, impossibilites and more. Everything and anything is for sale in this world. It is a world where the daimons cast out the witches after centuries of battle. In this society, there is an ordered caste system. The ruling class holds the power while the lowest members fight to survive. The headline event at the Carnival of Souls is a fighting match. Pitting daimon against daimon in bloody to the death battles. Surprisingly, one of the top contenders is a female of the ruling class, Aya. She has seemingly thrown away her status and behaves in an unladylike way that has turned many of her class away from her. Aya doesn't care, she fights to free herself from the chains of a male dominated society where females are viewed as breeding vessels. Aya fights to avoid bearing children. She wants to help rule the city and make a difference. Her path is fraught with danger and death as she is set to fight Belias her once betrothed. She will kill him if necessary; she must protect her secret at all costs. Also in the death matches is Kaleb. He is a lowly cur looking to better his existence. He fights to provide safety for his packmate, Zepi. Things become complicated when he is hired to kill a girl living in the human world. A girl who he suddenly develops feelings for. A girl that could be the death of him. Who will prevail at the Carnival of Souls?

What I Liked:
*This book presents four different view points: Kaleb, Mallory, Aya and Belias. I actually enjoyed each unique voice and found myself bonding and rooting for each character. All the characters are well developed and each draws you into their specific set of conflicts. It isn't often that I find a book where all the characters are well defined. I had no problems with the shifting view points.
*Aya is an awesome kick butt female lead. In a male dominated society, she endeavors to be more than a breeding vessel. Her desires thrust her into the death matches where she exceeds expectations. How many girls do you know are willing to go toe to toe with some of the best fighters in a death match? She is ferociously brave and capable. I loved that her character was complex and as the book progresses she reveals a big secret that was a bit unexpected.
*Kaleb is a lowly cur daimon who is fighting to change his lot in life. He is so much more than meets the eye and underneath the tough exterior he hides a good heart. This is evident in the way he protects his packmate, Zepi. I really liked the bond the two shared. I also liked the way he was willing to sacrifice to protect Mallory. He is the ulitmate underdog.
*The world building in this book is well done. The characters shift back and forth between the human world, where the witches hide in disguise and the daimon world with the Carnival of Souls. I especially liked the Carnival of Souls. It is a dark festival where masked revelers enter to purchase whatever their heart desires. In the shady booths one can experience lust and pleasure or take in the bloody fights and so much more.
*I liked that this book presents numerous complex story lines that skillfully converge at the end. The ending avoids the dreadful cliffhanger but it is a bit abrupt leaving the reader wondering what is to come next.

And The Not So Much:
*I never felt like I had a true grasp on the daimons and their abilities. They are a species that had their own set of powers and they are shapeshifters of sorts. Kaleb is a cur and can transform into a dog, but the rest were never clearly defined. Some had talons, did they transform into birds? What were all the powers that the daimons possessed? How did they defeat the witches? I was a bit lost with this species.
*The witches remained a bit a of a mystery as well. They were banished to the human world where they hid from the daimons. I wanted to know more about their powers and abilities as well.
*The book introduces us to the Watchers. Again I wanted to know more about them, their purpose and powers.
*This book has shades of insta love which didn't exactly appeal to me. However, it is a bit better once the reader learns more about daimons and packs and bonds.
*I was not a fan of the male dominated daimon society where the females appeared to have no rights and were forced into marriages in order to bear offspring. At least Aya is a champion to go against these standards.
*This book is for mature readers, as it portrays many dark themes and there is violence. Furthermore, the story line is complex and I see this as a book suited for older readers.

Carnival of Souls plunges you into a dark world full of danger. A society that engages in all that is wicked while hidden behind masks at the Carnival of Souls. A world where caste and power controls the masses, but there is a chance to break free in the death matches. This is a fun, dark read with many paranormal entities that are exciting and original. Do you dare to enter into the Carnival of Souls?

Favorite Quotations:

"He wanted all of the secrets to be already out and resolved so they could move forward---not because it woudl be better for a plan or for anything other than the simple fact that he wanted her to be happy."

"Her happiness mattered more than his; her well-being mattered more."

"No one is automatically good or bad because of their species."

I received an ARC of this book courtesy of ATWT. All opinions expressed are my own and I was not compensated for this review. All quotations are taken from the ARC and may vary from the final copy.
Posted @ Rainy Day Ramblings
Profile Image for Jess.
504 reviews118 followers
April 21, 2017
The idea was a good one. The plot and the cast of characters was original and started out to be an entertaining story.. Then it all seemed to go to pieces and became so unbelievable that even I couldn't suspend belief. Trust me, I'm pretty good at suspending belief too...

I'm an YA Audiobook Junkie. I try to keep it light when I'm listening to books because traffic usually incites an image of the Incredible Hulk driving a Honda (which happens to be green) down the road. So to play it cool whilst sitting, I listen to light, entertaining stories that are meant to be an escapist kind of read. This one sounded entertaining.
You have a Human World where witches reside. An alternate world where Daimons reside after killing and removing the witches. There is a lot of hate between the two species. Mallory is the main character who is raised by witches to hate daimons, trained to hunt them (allegedly. This is what incited the annoyance- this girl can't go for a run without hurting herself. Very WEAK character), and believes herself to be a human with no abilities. Kayleb is a lower caste daimon fighting to become elite and hires himself out for various unsavory jobs. One of which is to find Mallory and kill her. He meets her, decides he can't, and embarks on a fantasy plan that involves them living happily ever after. Let me tell you, this main plot of these two was plain annoying and weak. The most interesting plot involves the secondary characters Aya and Belias.
Aya is a fighting in the same tournaments as Kayleb. Not for a chance at caste hierarchy, she's ruling class. But for a chance not to marry, not to breed, and to be able to rule. Belias, her ex fiancee loves her and tries to reason with her. No one realizes that Aya harbors a secret that will rock both the Witch and Daimon worlds. Great strong characters in which their actions logically follow.

My Gripes: There are plenty...
-Mallory is 17 and still calling her adopted father "Daddy" and acting like a small child needing direction in everything.
-The idea of marriage and impregnation of a 17 year old girl without her consent to the marriage was repugnant. I found no entertainment value in this. I know I sound old.. but what message are you sending to YA women with this? Relationships don't work like that.
-The inconsistencies in the story with Mallory's skill set.
-She is ignorant of the world she lives in, she is training to be able to protect herself, she can't, and then at the end all of a sudden she's this strong character that motivates a following with the three others? It's just stupid. Kind of Twilight like maybe?
-I'll just stop there. My entire line of gripes is pretty much targeted at the main character, Mallory. And no one needs to read a rant.
Profile Image for Jeann (Happy Indulgence) .
1,006 reviews3,630 followers
August 13, 2012
Melissa Marr’s Carnival of Souls is an intoxicating journey into a fantastical world called The City, where daimons and witches reside. Every generation, The City offers its inhabitants an opportunity to join the ruling elite through the Carnival of Souls. Plagued by an unforgiving caste system, the Carnival gives fighters a beacon of hope – and the chance for those at the bottom rung to escape from dirty ‘black mask’ work which involves fighting and killing.

We follow the perspectives of fascinating multiple characters told in third person. Aya is the ambitious ruling class daimon who enters the fight to break free from female conventions such as marriage and breeding. Kaleb is a lower caste daimon called a cur, who can shift forms and forms a pack with those he feels a connection to. Finally, we have Mallory, a teenage girl in the human world raised and trained to fight by a witch and just wants to be normal. Each character has their own intricacies and are fascinating to read about. The third person view was also refreshing, as we’re spoilt for choice with first person in YA novels.

Continued here.... Check out the Happy Indulgence Book Blog for more reviews!

This was an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Kimberly Derting.
Author 38 books5,036 followers
June 9, 2012
This was a glimpse into a dark and captivating world, with characters I couldn't help falling in love with. Brilliant!
Profile Image for Rayne.
862 reviews287 followers
December 21, 2012
Review originally posted at http://www.mycutebookshelf.com/2012/1...

I think it is time I finally admit to myself that Melissa Marr's books and I are just never going to get along. It started with the dull first two installments in the Wicked Lovely series, followed by the snooze-fest that was Graveminder, and now concluded by the utter disappointment that Carnival of Souls turned out to be.

Personally, I believe her books suffer from what I call concept versus execution. Want a fascinating, intriguing and badass concept for a story? All people should probably go to Marr for that. Her ideas are amazing, and with each book, I can't help wondering just how she comes up with such brilliant ideas. Now, just don't let her write them. I'm not saying her writing is atrocious, but it is not engaging or particularly pretty either. I love simple writing, but hers is simply boring. She tends to drag the story and focus it on unimportant and uninteresting sideplots full of insecure girls and possessive guys and their dull and instant and chemistry-less love connections. There's very little of this book that actually focuses on the Carnival of Souls or the action it promised. The only characters I remotely cared about were Aya and Belias, and their situation took a turn towards the melodramatic in the last few chapters. There's a bothersome lack of world-building and some of the secondary characters were flat and stereotyped to the core. The protagonist knew how to defend herself, but what makes a protagonist strong is not her ability to fight, but rather how she stands up for herself. By making her a swooning-giggly girl constantly thinking about the guy she just met and running to Daddy for everything, the author basically took away whatever strength she had given her with her training.

I did like many of the concepts of the story and I was intrigued by the Carnival and the Night Market and I enjoyed the darker tone she gave the story with the black/assassin masks and the red/pleasure masks. I did not enjoy at all the blatant sexism, even if it was part of the world-building. And I definitely did not like the way Kaleb took possession of Mallory and how he decided to claim her without her consent. The constant "I-love-you" dropping was not enjoyable either, or believable. The plot in this one, sadly, goes nowhere for the better part of the 300 pages and then ends up in a silly cliff-hanger that had no build-up to it.

I don't think I'll read the next one - or anything else she publishes. Like I said, I just don't click with her storytelling and it is high-time I start saving myself a few bucks from books I know I'm not going to enjoy, regardless of how amazing they sound.
Profile Image for Courtney.
Author 1 book6 followers
September 1, 2012
This review is from my blog, Studies in Storytelling.

Melissa Marr conquered the YA market with the Wicked Lovely series, and she’ll be expanding her horizons on Tuesday, September 4th when Carnival of Souls hits stores.

The first few things that happen in this novel are:

A demon woman sacrifices everything to a witch in the human world, for help protecting her child.

Another, Aya, matches against her ex-fiancee in battle, to further her aspiration to make a statement about women's equality and their right not to be impregnated against their wills.

A teenage girl of human sensibilities, the protected baby demon of the mother above, whines about how her father won't let her date.

An odd juxtaposition, since strong women dominate this story, especially Aya. Which leads us to what I've learned about storytelling.

1. Aya does not steal the show - she demands it and earns it. She comes off the page and grabs you by the throat, but you know it's just a threat. You know that if she were going to kill you, she'd make it rapid, brilliant, bloody. I'm not sure I've ever had the pleasure of fearing, and falling for, such a strong female character. Most plotters characterize though everyday interaction. They often build toward the most difficult decision that character will ever have to make. Marr, however, starts Aya off with this choice. Brutal.

2. The threads of the storylines braid in fascinating patterns, then twist into a strong rope toward the end. Some intersections are predictable, others squee-inducing. In a land of three races - humans in one world, demons in another, witches in between - every dynamic develops through these intertwining threads. Much in the captivating tradition of Harry Potter, the characters' feelings shine against hateful societal backdrops - "a prolonged argument for tolerance." About fifty pages from the end, the humans' and demons' value systems reflected in the characters' conflicts started to feel real in a reality-transcending way. This is the kind of cultural conflict I'd expect to study in a cultural course at school, but delightfully accessible via story.

3. Also like J. K., Marr spoon-feeds the reader nothing. Inference, context clues, detail selections learn you the world before you've known it. Textual examples to come.

4. Marr writes action with sentence structure that reflects the content; she illuminates the dynamics of fights so clearly, movies would have to resort to shifting-camera slow-mo (techinical terminology here, yo) to create the same effect. Textual examples to come.

5. She uses the "every teenage girl ever" trope in a different way. Mallory appears to be your run-of-the-mill Bellarific protagonist: Innocent to violence and sexuality, clumsy but lacking in any strong passion or dangerous character flaw, passive to the advances of boys as well as to the rules of her overprotective father, obsessing about ways to get her cake and eat it and not hurt anybody about it.

But she evolves as the story goes on. The real Mal shines through cracks in the trope. After all, the trope almost perfectly matches the mold which her father has forced her into for her protection.

If that's too spoilerific, I apologize. It's just fascinating.

What are we doing to our characters when we tropify them? What passions are we suppressing? What flaws are we overlooking, which we could help them overcome? What fearfully beautiful, Aya-like demon are we suppressing?

I stood in my longest line at BEA to get this ARC, and I'm happy I did. I even got a stalker shot of Ms. Marr, see?

To see, go to http://studiesinstorytelling.blogspot...
Profile Image for Parvathy.
202 reviews48 followers
March 18, 2013
Where do I start with this review? Let's see now...... Mellisa Marr had introduced an interesting story in the beginning chapters of this book. As the story progressed it got more and more bizarre. I had to leave not only my sense but also my morals to like the characters and the world she has created. Incomplete was the word that went through my mind when I finished this book and that was not just because this book is the first one in a series of books. Everything about it was incomplete, be it character development, creation of a fictional world or the story line.

In this book there are two worlds or atleast that was what I had gathered. So Two Worlds one with people which is our world and the other with Daimons which I think is a cross between Humans and beast. Not werewolf like exactly more like weredog. In the Daimon world witches and daimons are in a state of battle. Both sides had suffered casualties and both sides want retribution. In the daimon world they have classes and the daimon of the low order can rise to the higher order only if they win a fighting competition which takes place in the carnival of souls. There are four main characters Kaleb who is a daimon of the lowest order whose only way to improve his lot in life is to win the competion, Aya a high born daimon who has denied the societal scriptures to enter the competition which would ensure her escape from the role set out for her as a brood mare and a secret that she is desperately trying to hide, Belias the high born daimon, the one who entered the competition to protect his one true love from being killed and finally Mallory, the daimon raised by a witch and believes herself to be a human. How there lives intervene and How they try to face their problems forms the rest of the story. Also there is a lot of fantasy thrown in and some unusual rituals thrown along the way which is bound to make atleast some of the readers squirmish.

The main problem with this book however is that it brings in some interesting concepts but they are just that concepts whose potential is left unexploited. It is really difficult to connect with the characters. All the characters are either weak or lacks a moral compass. Every thing the do and say feels fake. The World of the Daimons are just a mystery to us at the end of the book as in the beginning. To what purpose the characters are struggling is a unclear and what it all leads to is unexplained. There are parts of this book that you can enjoy and parts which leave you disgusted. I wouldn't advise anyone to pick up this book unless you are ready to deal with a whole lot of crazy.
Profile Image for Suzanne .
616 reviews165 followers
September 15, 2012
Carnival of Souls was a really slow starter for me. I was kind of confused about the Daimons and the Curs and exactly what they are. If I'm honest, I'm still slightly confused. I know they're fast and powerful, and that they can shape shift, though I'm not sure exactly what they shift into, is it a dog type thing, a wolf maybe? Kaleb is a Cur, who are the lowest class of Daimon and he describes himself as being like a mongrel or stray dog, but I'm not sure if that's just a metaphor.

Mallory has been raised by Adam, a witch. She doesn't know what she really is or the exact danger she is in, because of who her real father is. She is aware of Daimons though and has been trained to fight. Everything starts to change when Kaleb enters her life.

Every generation, a fighting competition is held in the Carnival of Souls. It's a fight to the death, and the prize is becoming ruling class, the highest caste (class) of Daimon. The fight is down to the last few contenders and Kaleb and Aya are still in.

My favourite character was Kaleb. He has done a lot of horrible things in his 17 years but I love how he wants to be a better person for Mallory. And he is so caring towards Zevi, who is part of his pack. The relationship they share is an interesting one.

Mallory was really sweet. She comes across as very young and naive, but that's probably because every time something has happened to her (being attacked by Daimons etc.), Adam has spelled her to think it wasn't real and forget about it. She is very much a loner and when things do get dangerous, she is not afraid to stand up and fight.

I didn't like Aya at the beginning, she seemed very cruel and heartless. But after learning more about her, I really came to like her. I feel that she is going to be an awesome character in the next book and I'm looking forward to seeing how things will play out between herself and Belias.

But then we have a cliff hanger. I really felt like this book was only getting to the really exciting stuff and then I was turning the last page. I'm expecting great things from the next book.
Profile Image for Ferdy.
944 reviews1,110 followers
December 22, 2012

I hated this piece of shit. It was bloody awful.
The amount of sexism pissed me right the fuck off.
The heroine, Mallory, was a boring bland bitch and the hero, Kaleb, was one of the worst heroes ever.
In Kaleb's fucked up sexist world, he was able to marry Mallory without her knowledge and he was able to consummate and legalise his marriage to her by fucking some other girl. I won't be surprised if Mallory ends up finding it romantic that Kaleb lied to her, cheated on her and made her his property. I bet Kaleb won't even tell Mallory that he fucked another girl on their wedding day unless of course he has no other choice because someone else threatens to tell her. Mallory will probably think its sweet that he had sex with someone else just so he could legalise the marriage she knew nothing about. Like the weak doormat she is, she won't be mad for long and she'll end up forgiving the fucker and then she'll let him pop her cherry with his dirty dick. The dumb bitch won't realise that he'll only fuck around with other girls when they hit a rough patch or when he gets bored..Ugh. Kaleb and Mallory are the most unromantic YA couple ever.
I bet if Mallory had married Kaleb behind his back and then fucked another guy on their wedding day everyone would hate her but most readers will excuse Kaleb's disgusting behaviour and probably think he's sweet and caring - we all know heroes can do all sorts of shit without being called out on their behaviour but if any heroine does anything remotely questionable they'll be called all sorts of bad names. I wish all these authors stopped writing such sexist bullshit but I don't think will because they like the sexist shit they write — they like weak, pathetic, desperate, virginal heroines and bastard, lying, cheating, sexist, disgusting heroes.
Overall, the world building was nonsensical, the characters were rubbish and most of all the romance was fucking awful. If you don't mind pathetic, bland heroines and cheating, fucked up, creepy heroes then you'll love this.
Profile Image for Yodamom.
1,990 reviews194 followers
October 12, 2012
Gritty, sexual, intense fighting, insta-mate, torture, belittling of women. I have a hard time thinking of this as YA. it was very original, and has intensive world building, that is never boring.
Mallory is raised in the human world by witches. She was taken from the Daimon world as an infant to save her life. This Daimon world is run by Caste system and our main hero ? Kaleb is of the lowest rank. There is one way up, fighting in this 'Thunderdome" kind of tournament. Many want up and out, some are just trying to prove themselves. This world treasures powerful violence. Meanwhile he is sent to watch/kill Mallory. There are twists on top of twists, it gets dark and then darker.
Mallory, at nearly 17 she training to kill Daimons, she armed, she's fit and she does nothing with all that training. Fairly, she is over protected in this book and I can see her using her training more in the next.
Kaleb, forces marriage, has sex with others, sells himself and it's all ok ? Then there is his pack and the devotion to it. He is a hard character to decide if I like or detest. His world is very different, harsh and does not follow humanities rules. He is a survivor.
There are several other characters that I can't wait to learn more about. They seem as ruthless as the others, but I have no idea which way this story will go.
I was entranced by the world and revolted by some of the actions in the world. Ms. Marr did a wonderful job with this creation, but be warned it is not a feel happy book. It's a dark trial, just beginning to develop. I will read the next book, I have to know how/what happens. Yes, it ends in my favorite of endings A CLIFFHANGER. arguh : (
Profile Image for Tee Loves Books.
940 reviews
August 16, 2012
Wow, what a ride Marr takes you on with this book!! Carnival of Souls is an eerie, captivating, sexy story that hooks you from page one and leaves you thirsting for more when it comes to a close. I'm giving this a very solid 4.5 stars!!

This was such a unique story, the world that Marr creates is like this dark fantasy of the imagination that you get sucked into and get lost in. In this world where daimon creatures are more humanlike than animal, and witches with vast powers are their mortal enemies, the naive but strong Mallory seems so small in comparison to everything around her. She is truly clueless to what's really going on, a fact that very much pleases her adopted witch father Adam, who is determined to keep her safe. Kaleb, the former street scab who is desperate to change his fate, never expected to fall for Mallory, especially while he's in the middle of the deadly fight-to-the-death competition in the Carnival of Souls. Both he and Aya, the only girl in the competition, are desperate to make it through to the end and claim their prize, no matter what it costs them along the way. But when ruler Marchosias decides to change the game, it means fighting even dirtier than they'd ever planned, and Mallory's eyes finally being opened to her real world.

With alternating POV between the three main characters Mallory, Aya and Kaleb, as well as a few chapters from the secondary characters' viewpoint, I was surprised how easy it was to follow along with this story. Despite getting to see the plot from so many sides, this story flows so fluidly between the different perspectives. I loved Kaleb as soon as he was introduced, he's such a tortured soul who's had to work so hard to get where he is. It's hard not to swoon for this guy given his strength and talent at the Carnival combined with his softer side that shows with his feelings for Mallory. He's so patient and gentle with her, a necessity thanks to Adam's protectiveness, and I loved the relationship growing between them despite the slightly rushed feel to it. I think it works here, especially given the underlying animal-like instincts these creatures feel. When more is revealed about Kaleb's reason for visiting the human world, it became clear that he's going to have a much larger role in her life than either of them expected, and there were some major twists with these two that blew me away!!

I really enjoyed the chapters from Aya and her love Belias' POV as well. This girl has more secrets than Victoria, and she is one kick-ass fighter with more determination than any other in the Carnival competition!! She kept me glued to the edge of my seat with her antics and plotting, and I just loved her and Belias' strained "romance". The tension between these two was intense, both of them clearly meeting their match in the other. While I adored Kaleb and Mallory both as individual characters and as a couple, I think I'm most intrigued about what this series will mean for Aya and Belias!!

Seeing Aya and Kaleb's violent, turbulent, seductive world at the Carnival of Souls was often disturbingly gruesome, and I was so drawn into Marr's descriptive details that I felt like I was seeing the blood and pain right along with them. It was truly just a fascinating concept that had me in awe as I was reading the story, and I have to give kudos to Marr on her ingenious creation! Amazing!! The story wraps up leaving me wishing I didn't have an incredibly long wait for the sequel, with so many unanswered questions and secrets still yet revealed. In the meantime, I definitely recommend readers pick this one up and dive into the world of the Carnival of Souls!!
Profile Image for Sonja P..
1,698 reviews4 followers
December 6, 2012
Stop me if you've heard this before. Girl who thinks of herself as plain is REALLY IMPORTANT. She's drawn to a boy she hardly knows, even though she knows its a bad idea, and he seems somewhat dangerous. But they pursue each other anyways, because OH MY GOD MEANTTTT TO BEEEEEE. She falls hard, and he totalllyyyy loves her even though they've talked like three times. There's a mystery that isn't very mysterious. Girls are treated as commodities, and man, that's kind of a bummer, but let's spend most of our time talking about main guy's muscles, amiright? Also,
Profile Image for Isamlq.
1,578 reviews709 followers
September 9, 2012
Sorely tempted, I am to grant that one-star that ending seems to be begging for. But I won’t because overall I was mostly entertained by the four voices in this one. This is so even with some choice actions on Kaleb’s part; and yes, this is so even with Mallory shifting down from kick ass to mopey somewhere along 77 because over all, yes, this was kind of awesome.

So, here we have two sides of daimon and witch at war (and I believe as the case usually is, with the humans, oblivious to it all)… was it inevitable that a star crossed bit get injected into it? Who knows… the build up toward that though wasn’t bad as we are introduced to whole lot of players, each with their own baggage.

Characters. First, there’s Mallory who isn’t privy to everything but as dutiful daughter continues with her day to day, of training to kill, of working with guns, of living a life that accepts that daimons are real and that her daddy’s a witch, but at the same was feeling the tightness of it all. So first presented, I was curious about her… till’ I wasn’t anymore, because everybody else outshines her eventually. Aya and Belias in particular, but I’m jumping ahead because there’s Kaleb to contend with. He’s her mysterious boy who we soon learn is more than just boy… It is his (and Aya’s) contribution that had me more than excited: Blood! Gore! Claws! Fights to the death! Oh! I loved it… and all for what now? Survival and a pack mate who’s equally (and sometimes more intriguing) than the first: Zevi’s different, at first I’d pegged him as the best friend perpetually in trouble, but he proves himself neither defenseless nor incapable. So them together, begged the question… what bound them?

Upping the angst a notch was Aya and Belias’ whole drama. Blessed at first glance, only not really… well, at least she wasn’t. She initially comes off as too much of everything: too power hungry, too cold, too calculating, too manipulative… and she is all those things (Yay!) but for good reason, except she’s also so much more than what she seems. Now, Belias had me curious because everything seemed to be happening to him… and just like Mallory, he’s taken by surprise time and again.

A Complicated Place. Between the City to the real world, the difference is so absolute except it’s also clear to me which of the two’s more interesting. Where they come from is more basic, darker… not honest per se, simply more straightforward because they all do what they have to do to survive. It’s that last fact that Kaleb, Zevi and Aya, heck even Belias establish. There’s a way to things and there’s a place for every one, a hierarchy. But, what struck me as funny was how it seemed each level was represented by at least one of the key characters. It’s also this that had me split because it rendered things slightly too neat some how… except the more I think on it, the more obvious it is that not one moment in this ever was (neat, I mean.) How could it be neat, given how one person connected to another and how those connections tangled with all the other connections?

Things were going well... til' that damned ending! I mean so now we know who they are and now we’re aware of what each of them have at stake, so what now? Why, roll in the credits of course! That would be just perfect! Feeling sort of cheated, what could have been a 4 of 5 for me is now:

Profile Image for Lani Prayer.
158 reviews25 followers
January 9, 2017
So much potential. So much lost potential.

Let me just spurt out all of my PROBLEMS with this novel. First, Mallory. She's the epitome of weak, naive, and sheltered. I can't even blame her for being unfit and unready for this world of daimons because it's her father's fault. He sheltered her and "trained" her eVEN THOUGH LITERALLY ALL OF IT WAS USELESS. Mallory is now unprepared, untrained, and entering the most dangerous city in the world thinking she's ready when she's. not.

Aya!! She's introduced as this conniving character that I wasn't sure I was going to like. It was great! Then, she started gaining power. And more power. And even more power. Then boom. We have an overpowered and cocky character who believes they're the next freaking Christ Jesus because everyone else is weak compared to her.

The story switches between the human/witch world and the daimon world. The human world, Mallory's story, was so unbelievably boring. Not only was nothing happening, but it was just Mallory thinking, "Oh! This human boy I must save!" Ugh. Gag me with a rock. But, we're also showed this super interesting daimon world filled with strange/new cultures and a fierce competition. I genuinely enjoyed this daimon world and thought this blood bath competition was way more interesting than anything to do with Mallory.

I genuinely wish this novel hadn't taken the turn that it did. I enjoyed the first 50% (only because of Kaleb), but then found myself growing to hate the rest as the plot got more and more involved. While I do like this complexity and how everything is tying together, everything could have just been solved if Mallory wasn't as unprepared and sheltered as she was.

What did I like about this novel? The many POVs. Seeing from both the witch and daimon side gave you a better (but definitely not great) insight of the conflict between the two groups. The characters were all different and had their own agendas which I really liked. I was just annoyed with Adam's protectiveness, Mallory's naivity, and Aya's overpowers pretty much.

The daimon world was just so interesting to me with its weird and slightly barbaric customs. I'm aware of the fact that there's not gender equal, but it's clear the main characters ideas don't match that part of their society. Like, Aya being a powerful woman to better the society? Yes ma'am. Anyways, I just love how different the culture is; their way of life just had a cool balance between dark violence between everyone and honor in the laws. I do wish Melissa Marr had explained everything more though because I'm still very confused with some aspects of the daimon world. (wtf is a watcher)

Kaleb was a little cutie pie. He was the shining star to me. Not only is he a great fighter, but he has a fierce loyalty to his little pack of two. AHHH CUTE. And his little packmate? Also A CUTIE OMG. I NEED MORE OF HIM LIKE HE IS SUCH AN INTERESTING CHARACTER. GIVE ME MORE ZEVI, KALEB, AND BELIAS AND ALL WILL BE OKAY IN THE WORLD.

Youtube | Blog | Tumblr | Goodreads
Profile Image for Jess M..
556 reviews358 followers
August 2, 2015
Read this review on my blog! --> Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

Carnival of Souls is one of the most unique stories I’ve read this year so far. Melissa Marr has created this imaginative realm of daimons and witches, fights to the death, and so many secrets. It was amazinnnnnnnng!!

One of the things I loved about Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series was how many characters and love stories were in those books. In Carnival of Souls, we get the same thing. There isn’t just one boy and one girl, there’s two!! And their relationships are far beyond the normal romances in YA. There’s love, but there’s secrets too. So many that I know I’ll be in heart-wrenching pain when the truth comes out, because it cannot end well for any of them.

Out of our two heroines, Mallory and Aya, I liked Aya most. Nothing against Mallory, but the problem with her character is that she’s pretty much in the dark about who she is throughout most of the book. She’s always being watched out for, and even though she’s more than capable of kicking someone’s ass, she’s almost babied the whole time. I actually fist-pumped at the end when she finally took control and started acting fierce.

Now Aya, started out fierce. The lengths she goes to to win a spot as a ruler of The City so that she doesn’t have to become just a wife and a mother with the daimon she loves are beyond most anyone’s capabilities, physically and emotionally. Aya is probably the one hiding the biggest secret of all, but you don’t have to wait long to learn what it is. I have my theories about her...parentage wise. But that’s all I’ll say about that because I don’t want to spoil anything.

Melissa Marr has a gift for creating male characters I instantly fall for, inspite of their flaws. Take Seth, Niall, Irial, and Keenan from Wicked Lovely for example. I LOVE ALL OF THEM! Ok, maybe not Keenan so much, lol, though I did feel for him. Here we have two new characters that had me swooning, Kaleb and Belias. I can’t help it..I love them already. And they couldn’t be more different from each other! Kaleb comes from the slums of The City. He’s a strong fighter and will do anything to protect and take care of his family. His heart is what really drew me to him. In turn, Belias is just a strong a fighter, but he is also high caste, meaning he’s practically royalty. What I found irresistible in him was his passion and devotion.

I loved the way they all had a voice in this book. I always want to hear what all the characters are going through and thinking. It makes the story so much more engrossing. Especially in one with so much depth. This book was also really bloody. It’s graphic, but not gross, which I really appreciated. I really loved the masks concept, that each color represented a service. That was really interesting and I hope we see more of it in future books.

Carnival of Souls swept me away, into a realm that was terrifying and beautiful at the same time. Its intricacies left me in awe and in wanting for it to continue beyond the last page.
Profile Image for Jammin Jenny.
1,387 reviews187 followers
November 30, 2019
I enjoyed this young adult fantasy book where there are two lovers separated by two different worlds. Kind of like Romeo and Juliet in a fantasy land. I listened to the audio book performed by James Marsters who did an excellent job narrating the story. The girl in the story is part daimon part witch and that is not looked upon very well in this land. She loves the boy but doesn't want to have any kids because of her heritage. Nice story with good characters.
Profile Image for Mimi.
8 reviews
July 13, 2015
I wanted to like this book. God knows I wanted to like this book. I love Melissa Marr's ideas. She's not afraid of having dark material in her books. I like dark books. They're new and exciting, especially in the unrelenting sea of identical YA books that are out these days. But this book was a hard no. Like a solid, "Wow I'm mad, when am I going to stop reading nonsense books?"
Ok I have to start with freaking Kaleb. The way he was so possessive over Mallory and the way he just plowed right over any of her concerns or requests...not cool or romantic at all! In what world is it ok to marry someone without their consent and then think to convince them of your marriage afterwards. I hope she breaks his face.
And nothing was explained at all! Like what are daimons? are they like demons? They didn't explain anything about that stupid pack or cur nonsense. And Aya's stupid explanation about like trapping Belias blew my mind because if he was just suddenly cool with it I'll jump out a window. He started off fighting and at the end he was just standing there so complacent it was completely the opposite of what his character was made out to be. The way these people measure love blows my mind.
And they didn't explain their hierarchy, their monetary system, even what clothes Caleb wears in the human world! And how he talks just like a human, do they have the same syntax?? Everything was so half heartedly explained.
And stupid Mallory couldn't kill a butterfly talk less of take care of herself in The City. And is the City in another realm, is the entire population of daimons basically in The City? And why the heck would Marchiosas not kill Haage??
Also, there was no world building, like did the The City have electricity? What kind of houses were there? What kind of clothing did the people wear? And what is a gate? How could Kaleb afford a gate? How do you operate it? So many thing were missing.
All of the characters weren't fully developed, none of the relationships had any depth, and I felt like I had walked in halfway through a conversation. And there are like a thousand different characters in this book and everyone has their own problems and issues and baggage and back stories that interconnect and is difficult to keep up with. I actually searched the Internet to make sure I hadn't missed a book before this one.
My problem with Melissa Marr is she has such good ideas and such good back story problems but she tells you everything and doesn't show the story! Like how cool would the daimon and witch war have been to see, or how could would it have been to see how Evelyn had a child or Aya discovering who she really was. This is just like Wicked Lovely where I just couldn't finish the series after Ink Exchange. But I give this a two because it was still a good idea and plot even though the plotting and pacing was poor.
Profile Image for Hannah.
490 reviews
November 9, 2012
I have not read Melissa's Wicked Lovely series. I don't think I ever will. But when I first hear about this book and saw the simple, but captivating cover I knew I was bound to love it. *insert alarm* Sadly, that didn't turn out to be the case. I have nothing wrong with this book, other than the fact that I didn't finish it. And the reason why I didn't finish it? It was BORING.

Or maybe the more accurate term for that is Flat. Dull. Without depth. Refer to your Thesaurus for more terms. Sure there was lots of WORLD build-up and explanations and interesting world-crossed romance and surprise character revealings but I didn't care about any of it. There was not character depth or meaning. It felt like everything was just happening and why should I care. It was like a dry soap-opera.

For starters lets take The City. It's an alternate universe/world but it sounds pretty close to the mortal world. I hate when we don't get accurate descriptions of this. I was confused for the longest time about where the heck it was and how they got there. Then I saw a character go through the gate and just pop out into the mortal world. Okay. Got it? Sort of, maybe. I don't know. It was a neat city, but it also felt like just any old city. What put it apart was this carnival. But it still felt like every other old carnival! Sure it had this SOULS thing, but what the heck was that? Did I miss some explanation in the second half of the book? Sure there is a deadly competition, but that's been done before. Whole books have been written about them.

What about Aya? Kaleb? Mallory? They were interesting, but I could never that feel that I like from a character. Each of these characters has an interesting predicament with a few twists and secrets about themselves that are revealed fairly quickly. I wasn't expecting them, but they didn't drive me into shock or make me re-read for comprehension. I just kept reading. It was like they were stick figures. They had a body, but no color. They talked about problems all the time but we didn't get emotional depth. We didn't get flashbacks into their past to learn about them. They just were. Sadness.

So in conclusion, since I failed to feel originality or character depth by the middle point of the book, I dropped it to move onto bigger and better things. I don't regret that choice and I doubt I ever will. Melissa Marr is just not my type. And I'm sad about this, because of all the great reviews, and the fact that this is her SECOND series.
Profile Image for Mundie Moms & Mundie Kids.
1,952 reviews204 followers
September 8, 2012
Melissa Marr has done it again! Carnival of Souls is an absolutely awesome read full of enchantment, magic, lore, and plenty of action. Everything with this story came together perfectly. The fantasy and paranormal elements, the strong characters, incredible world building, and the exciting storyline made this one engaging book I picked up and starting reading the moment it arrived at my door (yesterday afternoon) and didn't put it down until I finished it. There's something about Melissa's writing and story telling that completely hooks me. I love getting lost within the world she's created, especially with this book.

Based on the book's synopsis and book trailer I knew it was going to be a gripping read, I just wasn't excepting this book to be as addicting as it was for me. From the fight scenes to the unraveling of the secrets, plot twits and the motives behind the characters choices, everything about this book captivated me. I felt like I couldn't devour the pages fast enough. One of the things that really pulled me into the book were the characters. Each character brings something different to the story. Their purpose and placements in the story were well defined, and created. I loved watching their relationships build, and change as the story progressed. Above all, I loved the sense of family that some of them had. The need to love and protect those they love is the underlying decision maker for the decisions each of the characters make, and it's something that I really connected with as a reader.

Often times I have a favorite character, but in this case I seriously loved them all for various reasons. Aya is a ruthless character with high standing, she's someone who I felt like I got from the moment I met her. I understood her quest for independence, and protecting the secrets she holds. I loved getting to meet Belias. He and Aya have this long history together and complex relationship that left me yearning for more, and at the same time it's complexity is one I understood given the various circumstances that govern their society. Mallory and Kaleb.... First off I loved Kaleb. This guy has literally been through hell and back, but his devotion to Mallory is unwavering and the romantic in me seriously loved him for what he does, and vows to do. True he makes some stupid choices, but given his circumstances I got why makes them. Mallory is someone I liked right off the bat. She's someone I sympathized with and she grew into the person I hoped she would have. I really enjoyed how their lives all end up interconnecting.

Along with these four characters are some great supporting characters who's presence in the story added more depth to the plot line and the story's secrets. The world in which the story is set is fabulous! It's mesmerizing, dark and dangerous. Getting to see the world through the eyes of each of the characters was fascinating. It was interesting for me to see the good and the bad from their points of views. I liked how the two totally different worlds that make up this story are connected, and how the characters are able to reside in both the human world and The City. Carnival of Souls is an exciting read and one I really enjoyed! It's a story that has it's moments of darkness, heartbreak, romance, danger, and a little bit of humor that has placed this book on my favorites shelf.

On a side note, I just want to say I didn't find this book to be as dark as I was told it was. Everything that is said and done is perfectly fitting for the time period and worlds this book is set in. There's violence by way of the fight scenes that take place, but you see one of those scenes in the book trailer. There is mentions of sex, but it's done is such a well written way and one that's fitting for a society who's set on upper class women being married and made to have heirs. Language wise, it's clean cut except for the one word I read, but even then it was fitting for the scene. Over all, this is a book I'd recommend to fans of Melissa Marr, and to readers who love magic, paranormal elements and enjoy a well written book. I am a huge fan of Melissa's fey series, but this is by far my favorite Marr book and I can not wait for the sequel!
Profile Image for Crystal.
449 reviews91 followers
October 3, 2012
Where do I even start?!! Melissa Marr has totally exceeded my expectations and I have no idea how in the hale I am going to wait for the next book! Carnival of Souls delivers that dark and gritty story that I have been waiting for ever since reading her previous series Wicked Lovely. I thoroughly enjoyed that series, but I always wanted more books centered around the Dark Court because Marr wrote that side ruthlessly and I tend to like that kinda stuff. She not only brought back the intense ruthlessness, but she has created a whole new world that is centered around blood, killing, assassins, fights to the death, and a centuries old battle between witches and daimons. I couldn't possibly ask for more!

I loved how this book is told from several different points of views. We get to see each side of the story and I think it was a brilliant move by Marr. It lets the reader really see what is going on behind the scenes and I feel like I understood the characters better this way. And oh my what a cast of characters we have! We have Mallory who has been raised by her stepfather, a witch. She has been brought up to hate daimons and everything associated with them. Kaleb who is a cur, the lowest caste in The City. Kaleb enters into the Carnival of Souls to win a better life for him and his packmate. Anya was born into one of the highest castes, but she wants a different life than what is expected of her. So she does the unthinkable and joins the games as well. No one expected her to get as far as she did, but she brings the badass and well she is just awesome what can I say. These three make up our central characters but the supporting roles are just as important. Zevi, Adam, Evelyn, and Bels are beyond amazing and I can't wait to see how their stories play out.

The story is complicated and just flat out amazing. I never knew what to expect with every page turn and all I can say is that Marr is one of the best authors ever!! She is brilliant at interweaving everyone's lives and I have to say that some of her twists were just so incredible that I had to read them twice to make sure I read it right! I know I am fangirling here but I guarantee after you read this book you will totally understand. It really is that good!

I am so in love with this book!! I cannot wait to get my hands on the next one! The last time I was this impatient was after I read Daughter of Smoke and Bone. That book still holds a top spot in my favorite of all time and Carnival of Souls is right up there with it!

Thanks Rachel from The Readers Den for letting me borrow it!!! You rock!!

Profile Image for ExLibris_Kate.
722 reviews204 followers
September 5, 2012
This was my first Melissa Marr book and I was extremely impressed! I was struck by the way Kaleb's rough life is presented in contrast to Mallory's almost normal suburban existence. When the two worlds start colliding, the reader is drawn into the conflict that has always existed between witches and daimons as well as the haves and have nots in the daimon world. The author does not glass over anything and, as a result, this book had some very dark moments, which I loved. That brutality really took me into the class system that served as the foundation for a lot of the conflict in this book and I did not want to look away. Aya's story was perhaps my favorite and I found her life and the choices she made to survive extremely compelling and heart wrenching. In truth, each character is hiding something about themselves from others and each character has to make decisions that leaves someone hurting in the end. At risk of sounding morbid, I loved that. Any writer that can pull me into a story with such elements of suffering without turning me away from reading the book has done an excellent job of striking a balance between brutality and beauty.

The world building in this book was excellent. That was no easy feat since it switched back and forth between the world we know and the world that humans don't see, but Melissa Marr was painstaking in its creation and it really helped suck me into its pages. Carnival of Souls is a story with many layers and as those layers are peeled away they reveal an intricate and beautifully written book that is as compelling as it is dark. I was sad to see it end since I felt like I was just getting to know everyone, but I suppose that's the point since I will be waiting anxiously for book two!
Profile Image for M.
3 reviews15 followers
August 6, 2014



Okay, so this book was very catching from the beginning, at least for me as a huge fan of paranormal fiction/fantasy and the only time I put it down from when I bought it this morning was when I went to get food. No other time. It traveled with me everywhere. Probably more than you needed to know but that was how good it was. Catching. The only complaint I really have is that it ended too soon, but that's what you get with series typically, so I suppose I can't really complain.

Daimons, Witches, this book has it all and it not a let down at all from the author of the Wicked Lovely series, the woman proving that she's just as adept at creating a new fascinating world as she was when she was first published. Just ugh.

I want more already. ;__;

Profile Image for Maria.
89 reviews20 followers
June 8, 2015
Αργεί πολύ να σε βάλει στο νόημα...πρέπει να φτάσεις στη σελίδα 100 και μετά και στο σύνολο το βιβλίο είναι 310 σελίδες...για αυτό και μόνο 3 αστέρια...κατά τα άλλα ειναι ένα άλλο είδος αγώνων πείνας με δαιμονες ομως,γεμάτο κοινωνικές ανισότητες,ένα απεγνωσμένο έρωτα και τρομακτικές σκηνές μάχης που σου κόβουν την ανάσα
Profile Image for Dark Faerie Tales.
2,274 reviews546 followers
October 24, 2012
Review courtesy of Dark Faerie Tales

Quick & Dirty: A multi-POV story that delivers a fantastic world that only Melissa Marr can, but in which I felt disengaged in several scenes.

Opening Sentence: The man – witch – who’d summoned Selah was nothing like what she’d expected.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I’m a huge fan of Melissa Marr. So when I was given an opportunity to read Carnival of Souls, I was beyond excited. The cover was intriguing and the synopsis engaging. Carnival of Souls seduces the reader’s mind, and Marr paints a wonderful world. In her latest work of art, Marr stays true to her world building reputation, creating a world unlike any other. Magic and secrets, elites and lower caste, and most importantly dangers that lurk every corner fill the pages of this wonderful story.

There is hierarchy within The City, surrounded by magic from daimons and witches. In the human world, there is little of The City that the humans know. For Mallory, living in the human world is only a safe haven, a protection from the dangerous of The City and the daimons. She has been protected all her life, hidden safely in the human world from the evils that cross the boundaries. Mallory’s adopted father, Adam has ensured her safety, moving them from city to city and teaching her as much self defense as one could imagine. Adam has taken something from the daimons a long time ago, and as of late, they have been determined to get it back. Mallory has rules to live by, which she has always followed, until the enigmatic Kaleb steps into the picture. He knows more than he lets on, but could it put Mallory in danger?

Mallory has been hidden all of her life. She has always been kept in the dark from the world that she truly belongs in and in the one that she has adopted. Mallory has always been dutiful, only asking questions when a boy comes into the picture. In the beginning, I was all about knowing every single thing about her, until I was introduced to the other characters. Afterwards, I felt like Mallory blended into the background, and I no longer had any interest in her.

Aya is a daimon born into the privileged ruling class. She has become a warrior in The City, fighting for her position to rule on her own, without a husband to rule her. Aya is determined to win the competition in order to change rule as her own and in turn changing the ways of her world. The culture in which Aya was raised in fuels the fire inside her. I found Aya to be a strong woman, strong enough to even do the unthinkable. She has secrets herself, ones that I found the most intriguing out of all the main characters. I was deeply connected to her and I felt that her concerns spoke loudly than the others.

Kaleb is the lowest caste in The City, a cur, fighting for respect. He enters the competition to champion a better life for himself and his packmate. He was written for hardship and determination, fighting his way to be heard and respected. I valued that a lot, and Marr wrote him in a fantastic way. His interactions with the different characters was fun, and it allowed me to see the different sides of him. I had mixed feelings about Kaleb, but he eventually won me over. I felt like he had the most complex story out of the other characters.

Written in a multi-point-of-view style, Mallory, Aya, and Kaleb told the story of The Carnival of Souls. With each thought and scenario, I was able to understand how each person connected with each other. I was able to understand the secrets that lied deep within the story. Marr’s story is sinister in every way possible. So many lies and secrets throughout the book, and as a reader, I enjoyed uncovering every single one. I felt that the different point-of-views took away from the story, and at times I felt myself disconnected to what was happening to the characters. I felt like I disengaged several times, and felt lost in others. I wanted more in one main story, more than a generalization of three stories.

Carnival of Souls took many risks, some that I haven’t seen from Marr. Marr wrote violence with an art that took away from it’s cruelty, and mixed them with wonderful characters. The culture and heritage within The City was fantastic, and the magic established. While I felt there were a few shortcomings, I enjoyed Carnival of Souls overall. I must warn you, I didn’t like the ending at all, but you’ll have to read it to find out why.

Notable Scene:

No mercy.

He didn’t like to inflict injury for point count before killing his opponent. He was decisive, but not cruel. If a fight started, it ended with a kill, but he didn’t torture. Until a match began, a forfeit was a solid win: it meant that he’d succeeded in winning without needing to take the field. Midmatch, accepting a forfeit was a sign of weak nerves, of an inability to do the job thoroughly. Kaleb kept to those rules, but he didn’t enjoy engaging in blood sport for the purposes of getting a kill-plus.

Now, as a result of Aya’s play, he would have no choice but to do so tomorrow.

FTC Advisory: HarperTeen provided me with a copy of Carnival of Souls. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 1,297 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.