Author: Melissa Marr
Pages: 306 pages
Published on: September 4th 2012
Source: Pinoy Book Tours and HarperCollins International (Thanks!)
Buy the book: Amazon / Barnes and Noble
Buy the book locally (PH): National Book Store / Fully Booked
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.
(Summary from Goodreads)
To say that I'm a Melissa Marr fan may be the biggest understatement of forever. I've always loved the way she creates such complex characters that always has so much depth to them. Whenever Melissa Marr writes a book, there's always a darkness to it, a sort of grittiness that you can't find anywhere else but her books. She literally just takes you to different world that you won't ever want to leave. Every word on each page will enthrall you and capture your attention until all that's left is you and your Melissa Marr book.
So here we have the Carnival of Souls, a place where you can buy pleasure... and murder.
And amidst all the debauchery and death, there lies a tournament where the next ruler of The City will be chosen. Daimons from both the upper- and lower-caste fight to the death the see who is worthy to be the next sovereign.
We have Aya who is a part of the upper-caste and is pretty much the most badass person in this book. Aya harbors a terrible, terrible secret that prevents her from being with the man she loves because every upper-caste woman of age has to breed with their spouse, and Aya's one rule in life is to not breed. So she turns her back on Belias, her former betrothed, and joins the tournament. This is definitely one of the things that makes her one of the strongest characters in the book, her determination to hide that secret even if it means giving up the person you love. Aya doesn't take sh*t from anyone and does things on her own will. She's ruthless and clever and knows how to take her opponents down even if she has to get her hands dirty.
Kaleb is a lower-caste cur who's done many different things that I'm sure he doesn't ever want to think about. He's worn both the red and black masks, red signifies pleasure and black for murder. He is a well-known assassin that has been hired to find Mallory (who we will talk about later.) He's done everything he can do to survive even if it makes him feel dirty in the end. Kaleb's only priority is to give him and his packmate, Zevi, a better life which is why he entered the tournament as well. While most upper-caste people prefer knives or other weapons, lower-caste curs prefer to fight in their original daimon form, they morph into a beast-like creature with fur and claws which makes their rounds so much more bloody and since this IS the Carnival of Souls after all, it's citizens revel the even more at the sight of blood. Kaleb and Zevi's "connection" is really one of the most interesting concepts in this book, about needing to be in that person's life and doing whatever it takes to protect them.
Mallory, a daughter of two daimons, was hidden away in the human world by her mother and handed to a witch named Adam who acts as Mallory's adoptive father. Mallory's relationship with Adam is kind of intense because even though witches hate daimons, Adam still loves Mallory as if she was his own daughter. But I felt that Adam's need to protect Mallory does get kind of weird because he literally erases Mallory's memories every time she encounters daimon and the fact that he won't even tell her that she's a daimon herself is a big issue in the book. Mallory did have the potential to be a really strong character but there were quite a few limiting factors such as the memory erasing bit, her not knowing that she could turn into a badass beast-thing and her inability to ask the right questions (again, Adam's doing.) I really liked the romance between Kaleb and Mallory, though there was this kind of insta-connection, I appreciated that it did take quite some time to earn each other's trust. But I'm really hoping that Mallory does do better in the sequel (if there will be one) with the way Carnival of Souls ended.
For those who are already fans of Melissa Marr, you should really pick this one up. The story does have a slow build but the way it is constructed is absolutely beautiful. You will easily find yourself immersed in the Carnival of Souls and its citizens. Melissa Marr creates even more characters that you will love and empathize with. Trust me, you'll never want to leave the Carnival of Souls.
~ Open to PHILIPPINE RESIDENTS only (sorry US/ International peeps!)