Carnival of Souls
Author: Melissa Marr
Release: September 4th 2012
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, YA
#1 in the Untamed City series
Sequel: Carnival of Lies
Later named "Carnival of Secrets"
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.
You know the usual drill, right? You get introduced to protagonist's usual routine, but then protagonists learns he/she isn't human but something paranormal/supernatural and gets scooped up and shipped off to the lands of the species he/she is. We all know and love this procedure, but Marr apparently thought she'd try out something new. While I appreciate the courage to try out something new, it completely fell through.
The blurb talks about how "soon, Mallory will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls", so the whole time, I was waiting for someone to finally tell Mallory what she is and take her to The City That Apparently Has No Name, so the story can finally get started. Because everybody, literally everybody, seemed to know what Mallory was except her and it got tiresome quickly. So while I held my breath for her to finally get to The City and fuck shit up, it never happened. Never. Marr seems to have reserved that for the sequel, should there ever be one. Needless to say, since Mallory still has yet to see the Carnival of Souls, it wasn't as exciting as it could have been.
Nevertheless, I did like the setting. I would have liked to see more of The City beyond the Carnival of Souls, but I liked what I have seen so far. The story was a bit lacking, though, and I have to admit that I skimmed a lot during the unnecessary dialogue and whatnot.
Characters were... meh. I did love Aya, and Evelyn as well as Belias were okay, too, but Kaleb? Zevi? Mallory? Ugh. Kaleb and Mallory immediately killed it for me what with their whole infatuation thing going on because their relationship never felt like it had any credibility. Why are these two "perfect" for each other? Why does Kaleb love her so much? At least Mallory still has a bit of common sense and is weirded out by Kaleb's sudden outburst of emotion, too. It saved her from my wrath. Kaleb however was quickly hit by a ton of bricks and he is dead to me now.
All in all, I have to say that I did expect this to be a lot worse, but aside from the whole romance thing with Kaleb & Mallory, it was pretty decent, which really surprised me. So maybe I'll give the sequel, if there is going to be one, a try, and maybe I'll even consider Marr's Wicked Lovely series. Who knows... her writing wasn't bad. (and I love fey)