Audience/Genre : Young Adult/Paranormal Fantasy-ish.
Publication : September 4th 2012 by HarperCollins.
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.
I knew that I'd read this book as soon as it was out when I saw the trailer. I mean, did you listen to that song? It just pulls you in and the video gives you a fantastic glimpse of Marr's world in this series.
There're a lot of things I liked about this book and some that were a bit too blah for my taste. I'll elaborate shortly.
The story begins with Selah, a Watcher on the run from her ruler and daughter's father - a daimon named Marchosias -, in the human world meeting a witch named Adam seeking protection for her child. This girl (named Mallory) grows up in the human world, unaware of the truth about her real father. At the same time there's Aya, a girl of noble birth in The City, who enters her name to fight in the Carnival of Souls hoping to find a way around the law that forces that all women need to be mated at the age of 18 and..reproduce. She has her own secrets to protect and would rather die in the fights than risk them being found out.
Both these female protagonists have their own love interests - Kaleb for Mallory and Belias for Aya. I really didn't care much for Mallory or Kaleb. Aya on the other hand, is a strong and intriguing character and it was her side of the story that I was most interested in.
Mallory pretty much bored me and so did Kaleb, whenever he was with her. However, Kaleb's time spent fighting or with Zevi at The City, he actually seemed cool - rough around the edges but a tough personality that appealed to me. Nevertheless, the minute he started talking (or thinking) about Mallory, I lost all interest in him.
The world building in Carnival of Souls is good, but the plot is very vague. There're details about why The City is the way it is, why Marchosias is both feared and respected by his people and also what the overall plot for the series possibly could be but I felt like nothing much really happens in this book and it ended too soon, right when the story actually got good.
Over all, Carnival of Souls didn't disappoint, nor did it surprise me. I didn't feel strongly about it either way. It's a good read but wasn't as fast-paced as it could've been. I guess the sequel will reveal more of the plot and hopefully, be more engaging than this one.