Thursday, 21 February 2013

[REVIEW] Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

Published: September 2012
Publisher: Harper Collins
Age Group: YA
Series: [not sure what it's called] #1

Cover Blurb thoughts: Well it seems like a Harry Potter situation combined with something like the hunger games. Interesting.
Cover: drool-worthy

I don't know what to say about this book. I had high hopes for it (mainly because the cover was soooo alluring) but all I got was a confused jumble of interwining stories and confusing narrators.

Firstly, The City seems very similar to the artistrocratic times of the Middle Ages with a ruling king and the aristoracy all the way down to the poor who thieved and robbed. Then you have the other side of the story that takes place in the Human world. Melissa Marr does a wonderful job in exlaining this City place but the Human world is lacking. Maybe she assumed that since we live in the Human world we could construct it ourselves but in reality she gives very little or no description of the place throughout the story. At the start we are introduced to Mallory who is getting coffee which I find to be the most descriptive scene in the Human World. After that we are just to assume that Mallory can find her way to places with little description of her journey, the people or the environment around her. I'm not a fan of this Human world mainly because I have very little idea what it actually is.

Secondly, the story has three different narrators. All with their own agenda and it gets very confusing trying to distinguish whose who considering they all interact together in the story. I've had to re-read sections to try to figure out who's speaking.

The biggest thing I disliked about this book was that I was really not a fan of the female characters. They all seem very snobbish and I did not feel like I could relate to any one of them. Granted there are only three females but honestly I felt more of a connection to the male characters. The females confused me greatly.
[SPOILERS] For example, Aya seems to be saying one thing when she says something else. First it's "I refuse to breed. I don't want to be just a housewife" Fine that's reasonable but it then turns to "I can't breed" Ok, I'm still fine with that. Maybe she has some biological issue. But then its "They're going to find out my secret if I breed so I can't breed" WHAT? When was she hiding a secret? I was so confused and maybe there were hints along the way but I didn't catch any of them [SPOILERS END]

Mallory, one of the other main protagonists had contradicting actions throughout the story.
[SPOILERS] I understand she's spelled under her father but seriously, it's like there are two different people. Firstly she calls her father "Daddy" for a good half of the book and then all of a sudden it's "Adam" instead. Why does she start him calling him Adam and not Daddy? Does a couple of days change the way you call your father? And then when she's with Kaleb she can't deny the attraction between them. Fine, that's fair. He's your true love yada yada but then when she figures out he's a daimon, oh no. No more attraction. I hate your guts. Don't touch me. A complete 180 in my opinion. [SPOILERS END]
The only female that I can actually understand is Evelyn. Her ruthlessness is consistent and is clearly explained why she acts this way.

Mainly the entire story is full of contradicting actions and 180's.  [SPOILERS] When Kaleb goes to tell Haag he's backing out of the contract he stands his guard and refuses to kill Mallory but then in a couple more sentences it's "Ok. I'll kill her for a good price" Is your love that worthless that you'll bend under Haag? I guess so. And then Kaleb's actions in the story after that do not reflect his promise at all. I am happy that he refused to kill Mallory but the way he conceded in the story didn't match his later actions. [SPOILERS END]

The story seemed to be a combination of middle age rule mixed with different paranormal creature "rules" can I say? I'm not really sure what to call them. In some instances the story follows werwolf stories with the whole having a pack and Kaleb instantly recognizing Mallory as his mate reminds me of the whole imprinting thing. Especially the wedding proxy, that is very middle ages the whole process of having witnesses there.

Some of the titles or different groups of the people in the story also confused me. Some are introduced without any build up and I get confused figuring out who they are. I do enjoy her whole world building and creating this place where you can buy pleasure and murder, distinguished by different masks and how everything is sort of governed by masks but I find it too complicated for it all to be explained in the short paragraph allocated to introducing each.

Also at the end, what just happened? I feel like there was no way to end the story on a climatic note without writing what she did. Even though it doesn't make sense, the timing is too perfect and there was no foreshadowing or build up, it happened just to move the plot along and I absolutely hate when I catch these moments.

I was not impressed with Carnival of Souls and honestly I'll read the second story because I really want to know what happens.

Hopefully you find it more interesting than I do.

2.5 - 3 cups of tea. (I gave it some extra points for the ah-mazing cover.)


  1. I honestly agree with. I just got done reading the book not to long ago. And I honestly didn't think much of it. There was always a lot of good talk about it and I was excited to read it. Then all of a sudden. The whole entire story comes out differently than I expected. But other than that it was a good read. And I will read the second book. Either way you look at the situation of how poorly the book is described because I'm an omnivorous reader.

    1. Thank you for commenting!

      I completely agree. This book in particular (at least in my opinion) was really hyped up and the talk for quite some time, even when people started reading the ARC they were saying what an amazing book this was so obviously I was so excited to read this. Add an amazing cover to it as well and I was sure this was going to be my new favourite but I was completely let down. And the book description definitely made it sound more exciting than it was, which I guess is what it's suppose to do but still...this book just should have been better.