Title: Carnival of Souls
Author: Melissa Marr
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Obtained: Purchased at Signing
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Summary: 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.
The Dish: This is my first novel by Melissa Marr, and in all honesty, it's one of my absolutely favorite books read this year. In two different worlds, the lives of Mallory, Kaleb, Aya, and other characters are intertwined into a story that sucks readers in, bringing them to the edge of their seats and wanting to know the outcome of everyone's actions.
The background stories and development of all of the characters from Mallory and Kaleb to Aya, Belias, and even Zevi was by far one of the best parts of reading Carnival of Souls. There was so much going on with all of these characters, I couldn't help becoming close to each of them, and I can see how much readers would definitely enjoy getting to know them. With all of the layers possessed by the main characters, even those that readers might question their motives earlier in the story will soon have the same readers cheering for them in later chapters.
While reading I couldn't help breezing through the pages without needing any breaks, and this was probably due to the pacing and various changes between character perspectives. I was a little surprised that the majority of the story took place in The City with Kaleb and Aya; the summary led me to believe it would be more in the human realm with Mallory. However, the transitions between the two worlds were flawless, and I found the setting of The City to be darkly exciting in contrast to the "safe world" Mallory's father tried to mold for her in the human/witch world.
I think most readers will enjoy the camaraderie of the characters, the intense life of The City, and seeing the prejudices among both Daimons and Witches begin to break down within just one small group. It is with much anticipation and a pounding heart that I await the next part of Carnival of Souls.