Thursday, January 17, 2013

Review: Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

Published date: September 4th, 2012

Publisher: HarperCollins

Pages: 306 (hardcover)

Summary: (Goodreads)

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.

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.


Carnival of Souls has been on my TBR pile since the moment I saw the wondrously put together book trailer. After watching it, I just hoped I'd be given the intrigue, bloodiness, and Carnival-set world that it promised. I got a little bit more than I bargained for, I realized the moment I started the book.
While this book is indeed set in the Carnival of Souls, it wasn't the only place that was featured in this novel. I hadn't known that even the real world (filled with normal homes, jeans, sneakers, and coffee shops) would also be a stage on which these many characters would be performing. The Carnival seemed like a minor plot that was losing face time against the real world or “human world”.
When I began this book, I experienced a huge culture shock. I was doused in a society entirely unknown to me from the second chapter onward. Once The City was introduced and the characters that lived there, I felt lost. There was too much to remember, information that didn't really even matter. It felt too rich and claustrophobic as if I was trapped inside the book itself. Everything is different from a human society. The daimon’s way of life was very foreign and I found most parts hard to grasp. Most huge plots went without explanation. Granted, I didn't finish the whole thing, but it still felt like it was missing huge pieces in the plot line. I found this book too filled with information that it soon became very boring and quite stressful to read.
The City, the daimon’s underworldly city, is a dark place and the main plot (the tournament that is fought in the Carnival) isn't all that original honestly.
The characters (gosh, I can't even count now many there actually were and most were actually main protagonists) were rather flat and uninteresting. I couldn't connect with any one of them. They sounded more like they were reading info-boards filled with history facts rather than genuine, emotion-able people. Not one character really felt anything. There wasn't a moment where someone actually had any emotions. It was all description and felt like it would never end the more I read on.
I regret that I had to put this novel down and continue on my way. It just wasn’t really for me, I guess. 

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