Title: Carnival of Souls
Author: Melissa Marr
Like Illuminate before it, I picked this up because the cover looked kind of neat (if cheesy) and the plot sounded like campy fun. I did not like Illuminate, but would recommend that over this in a heartbeat.
Although this book does end up being fun towards the end, at the end of the day the book felt lazy. These “daimons” live in The City. There is supposed to be much commerce, but the only thing we ever learn about are “red mask” jobs (whoring) and “black mask” jobs (assassination). We never learn about anything else in the city that might fund those activities. There’s a caste system, and we have one character from the bottom (a “cur”) and one from the ruling elite. The women in the ruling elite can’t apparently do anything productive (not that we know that that is in this society), but are solely meant to breed. Anything else than that I can’t say because we never see the real day to day life of any of these characters. At all. She shows the absolute bare minimum to make the story move along, and that’s it.
I could forgive the lazy set up if the characters were developed..but they aren’t really either. Kaleb is, maybe. But the main protagonist in our world, Mallory, has apparently no likes or dislikes or hobbies. She’s apparently training to fight, but the first second she gets into a fight she’s mostly useless. Aya, a ruling caste demon doesn’t want to be a brood mare, but wants to rule. And that’s all we know. We see no friends, no real enemies other than those in the fight ring and no interaction with those of her own caste. Like I said. Lazy.
And finally, the insult to injury is that this book isn’t completed. It just ends, not unlike Death Hallows Part 1. There’s a revelation, a dramatic statement and fade to black. The book is already so short – like barely 300 pages – that it makes you want to look for the remainder of the story. It’s a blatant ploy to sell the sequel and I absolutely hate that.
So yeah. I didn’t care for this book and there’s so much better to read out there. I know she has fans, but I’m clearly not one of them.
Verdict: Don’t Bother.