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.
THE CARNIVAL OF SOULS is told from several points of view, including Mallory, who lives in the human world, Aya and Kaleb who live in an alternate realm/world called ” The City”. Each are fighting for their lives, but each are fighting for different reasons. The story twists and turns and weaves these three lives together into a deliciously dark and captivating story. The story started out a little slow for me, but once Aya showed up, I was hooked.
Mallory has been raised by her father, a witch; her life revolves around running from and training to fight daimons. Until recently she has been a loner, but lately a boy, Kaleb, keeps popping up everywhere she goes.
The Carnival of Souls is sort of like a damion’s version of a flea market, where you can purchase anything, even sex and murder are up for sale. The key to buying in the Carnival of Souls is to know what colored mask goes with your desired purchase. And once a generation, the Carnival of Souls is home to a bracketed tournament of fights to the death, where participants attempt to move up the caste and improve their lot in life.
Kaleb is a fighter, a murder for hire and a cur daimon; the rank of cur is lowest of low, they are not bound by caste rules. Marr’s daimons are unique, they are sort of a human/dog hybrid mix and the higher the rank, the more control they seem to have over their canine tendencies. Kaleb has been hired to kill Mallory, but the longer he spends with her, the more and more drawn to her he becomes, he feels like she is a packmate and he will do anything to protect her – even if that means going against her will or without her knowledge.
Aya is part of the ruling class, but she too is a fighter, she is fighting for her freedom. She doesn’t want to marry – well marriage is okay, but she doesn’t want the children she will be forced to have if she gets married. Her fiance is also a fighter, he joined to protect her, but Aya won’t lose, even if that means she has to kill the man she loves. Aya and Kaleb decide to team up and “scratch each others back” – one day, they will face each other in the tournament, but until then, each have something to offer the other one.
Carnival of Souls is plethora of different story-lines, forming into one, and with all the new terminology, caste ranking, and back stories – at times it can be a little overbearing, but it all works out in the end. Once the story-lines join, everything makes perfect sense… and of course, this is where the story ends, leaving you longing for book 2. Ahh, the wait is killing me, I can’t wait to find out what happens next. Will Mallory find out what Kaleb has done? Will she forgive him?