Karen's Reviews > Carnival of Souls

Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
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's review
May 20, 2012

liked it
Read from July 21 to 23, 2012

3.5 stars

Man, I really had to sit and think about how I wanted to review this one. Here’s the thing…there were a LOT of things that bothered me about this book, but the more I thought about it the more I realized that they had nothing to do with the book itself in terms of writing. So I’m going to express as clearly as I can why I liked the book but had many problems with the story, because while our opinions on issues will certainly factor into our enjoyment of a book, I don’t think it’s fair to let my personal issues influence whether or not I’d recommend it to someone else. Make sense? Mkay then.

So first off, I somehow managed to miss that this book was fantasy. How? I don’t know. It doesn’t really seem possible based on the fact that the blurb makes it pretty freaking obvious, but whatever. And I’m not a huge fan of fantasy to begin with.

However! I did think that Melissa Marr did an ah-may-zing job of setting the scene in this book and making it easy for even a fantasy noob like me to follow along. I’ve said it before, but frequently my problem with fantasy is that I just can’t follow what the hell is going on because there are so many places with crazy names and people with crazy names and it all just kind of jumbles together. Not so here. Ms. Marr makes the carnival and the world it exists in come to vibrant life. The only complaint I had was that it was a bit repetitive at times…for example, it’s mentioned several times that witches were banished but before they left they made all sorts of trees grow in an attempt to overtake the city as retribution. Fairly minor complaint, though. And to be fair, this was an ARC so I have no idea how much if any of the repetitive bits will be left in the finished copy.

I also liked the idea of two distinct sides – witches vs. daimons – and while there is some overlap in their world, the two sides are mortal enemies.

Here’s the thing, though – man, I just have such a problem with stories where women are treated like cattle to be given away and bred. That is one of the main plot lines of this book, and I struggle with it so much. I realize that’s not a fault with the book itself or with the writing and that sometimes we just have to put on our big girl panties and deal if we want to read a good book, but it’s just something I have such a hard time separating out my feelings for. I don’t consider myself a hardcore feminist or anything but these kinds of worlds where women are essentially the property of their fathers and eventually their husbands just get to me on a level that I can’t really explain. So again, this influenced my feelings about the book but it’s not a failing on the part of the author. If anything, it’s a testament to the writing that it bothered me SO much.

The characters were pretty well done, though the only one I felt much of a connection to was Kaleb. He had the most layers, I thought. He was conflicted by his true nature and the fact that it was often at odds with what he had to do to survive and ensure the survival of his pack mate, Zevi. I liked Zevi too, though his role in the book was much smaller. Hopefully we’ll see more of him in subsequent books. I didn’t mind Mallory, but I think I’ll like her more once she’s more of a real person and not such a product of her environment. I don’t want to say any more than that and give away spoilers, suffice it to say that she didn’t have much going on for most of this book on any deep level.

Ms. Marr mentions in the author’s notes that the name of this book was based on lyrics to a song, but all I could think of is that old cult movie from the 1960s with one of the creeepiest characters ever.

Regardless of my issues with it, I definitely liked it enough to want to read the sequel. And I would recommend it to others.

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Reading Progress

07/22/2012 "Having the hardest time concentrating, and I don't think it's the book's fault."

Comments (showing 1-1 of 1) (1 new)

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Aine Just an FYI, Melissa *is* a hardcore feminist. So even in this world, she's created strong females who are fighting to overcome that. The last thing Aya wants is to be treated like that, and she is fighting to show that women are just as strong.

Also, the song that inspired the book is "Far From Home" by Five Finger Death Punch.

"Another day in this carnival of souls
Another night settles in as quickly as it goes
The memories of shadows, ink on the page
And I can't seem to find my way home"

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