Carnival of Souls – Melissa Marr

“The man – witch – who’d summoned Selah was nothing like what shed expected. In truth, he looked no different than many daimons she’d met: implacable expression and a musculature that would serve him well in one of the Marchosia’s fighting competitions. It was only his eerie blue-and0gold witch eyes that revealed his true nature – and those eyes were fixed on her.”

Mallory is unaware of the true nature of The City and its Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. All she knows about The City is that her father, and every other witch living there, was cast out and forced to live in the human world where she has grown up, that the daimons were behind the exile and that her father is being hunted for something he has taken. 
Aya and Kaleb are diamons living in The City, they are fighters in the Marchosia’s fighting competition. Aya is ruling caste, which means she has no real reason for fighting, not one that other people are aware of anyway. Kaleb is a cur, the lowest caste he is fighting for a better life. Both are fighting for a freedom that the other cannot understand. Mallory is unaware of the life they lead but they are fully aware of her and soon she is drawn into the battle they are fighting. 


I’ve heard amazing things about the Wicked Lovely series and Melissa Marr in general but I haven’t, until now, read anything by the author. Reading Carnival of Souls opened my eyes to her impeccable writing style and made me understand why all of those amazing things have been said, it was a brilliant experience. 

The story is brilliant, the idea of an underworld where daimons rule and witches are either cast out or kept as pets is fascinating and I couldn’t stop the pictures that popped up into my head whilst reading the words that show the world so vividly. I pictured all sorts of different people from masked to unmasked to people who weren’t people at all, they were dogs, and cats and wild animals running wild around the carnival too. The idea of the fighting competition scared me as it says a lot about the person who arranges these kinds of things but because I got to know the characters involved I understood the reasonings behind it for them. The story focuses on the three main characters, Mallory, Aya and Kaleb in separate ways and I enjoyed the perspective you get of the three of them. At first mallory’s parts in the book seemed so vastly different from the two other main characters that they jarred with me but I soon grew used to it and understood why the story was told in such a way. The story is all about Mallory in a way as she is so prized in The City but she has no idea about it. 

The characters were interesting and I instantly wanted to know more. I think my favourite had to be Aya because right from the start I knew there was more about her than she was letting on, as you gradually get to know her and her past it opens your eyes to other characters and their stories too. I enjoyed reading about Kaleb though he scared me at first and I was unsure whether or not to trust him. Once I learnt more about him I felt a bit closer to him but I felt he had a lack of background to his character which annoyed me a little bit. Mallory really annoyed me to be perfectly honest and I thought she was stupid and naive, I understand that some of this may have been because of Adam’s spells and her having her memory tampered with a few times but I really thought considering she had been trained and grew up with the knowledge of people chasing her and Adam that she’d think twice about this strange, too good to be true guy that kept appearing conveniently where she was… hmm. I know that might sound harsh but even at the end of the book I didn’t really like her attitude and I was a bit put off because of her. If Mallory had been the only main character in Carnival of Souls I honestly don’t think I would have finished it. Other characters made the book very interesting and helped a lot with the world building, especially Evelyn and Belias. I also loved Zevi but thought that the relationship between him and Kaleb was a bit strange at times, it was like they were a mash up of brothers, best friends and lovers… 

The change in perspective was a little off putting at first but once I settled into it Carnival of Souls was a wonderful read with beautiful writing and a great storyline. I may not have enjoyed it as much as I expected too but I still really enjoyed it. Although I am not sure, I believe it is the first in a series as the ending didn’t produce all the answers I hoped it would. It didn’t end on a cliffhanger but I really do hope there is more. 

Carnival of Souls was published on September 4th by Harper Collins. My copy was received in exchange for an honest review from the publisher.

Find out more about Carnival of Souls at:
Amazon | Goodreads 


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