Melissa Marr’s newest novel Carnival of Souls delves deep into the fantastical world of The City, where daimons and witches coexists, and where power is determined by strength and resilience. Like many countries around the world, The City has its elite, and it is through The Carnival of Souls that the underprivileged are allowed to get the chance to join this group of royals. The Carnival of Souls allows for residence at the bottom of the food chain a beacon of hope in order to escape the dirty “black mask” work, which involves fighting and killing, in order to survive.
Throughout the novel we follow multiple characters told in the first person perspective. We meet Aya, who is desperately trying to escape the female conventions that are thrown upon her, such as marriage and breeding. We meet Kaleb, a lower class daimon who can shift forms at will and has a need to create a pack with anyone he trusts. And we meet Mallory, a teenage girl who lives in the human world and is trained to fight daimons by a witch. All of these characters are unique and memorable and are surrounded by secondary characters that make their stories stand out among the masses.
Of all of Melissa Marr’s novels, this one is by far my favorite. In Carnival of Souls, Marr has the ability to interweave storylines and create a very complex, dark fantasy. She communicates the politics between daimons and witches extremely well, and is able to directly compare the human world with The City, which was very nice to see. One might think that having multiple characters’ point of view might get confusing and taxing the longer you read, but that is not the case here. I thought that the multiple viewpoints added a lot of character and dimension to an already complex storyline. It also blew me away how some of these characters intersected at certain points in the novel, and I thought that was done exceptionally well.
I especially loved the subtle romances that emerged throughout the book. I love a good love story, and this book did not disappoint. I am not saying that it was the best romance I have ever read, but it was satisfying to read. It will be very interesting to see where these relationships go in the books to come, especially concerning Aya’s character. Aya’s point of view was my favorite to read, not just because she was an amazing fighter, and the scenes were very well written, but also because of the way her character presented herself. She was strong and independent young woman that wanted to stop at nothing to gain the freedom she thought was rightfully hers.
The fight scenes in Carnival of Souls were very gruesome and disturbing at times and I thought they added a very good contrast to the human world. Marr’s descriptive details draw you in and make you feel every punch and see the blood spilled on the floor. Melissa Marr had created a world like no other and it will draw you in from the first page to the last!
It was a great read!