Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Review: Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr

I loved Melissa Marr's Wicked Lovely series A WHOLE LOT. I always think I can sort of divide up Wicked Lovely fans into a few different groups: the people that just liked the main story (Aislynn/Seth/Keenan), the people who just liked the stories off the main plot (Ink Exchange and Radiant Shadows), the people who of course loved it all but the ending, and then people like me who loved and devoured every book. I really really loved the world of Wicked Lovely and the characters and their gorgeously angsty intense relationships so I wanted to love Carnival of Souls.

I was scared to read it, though, because what if I didn't like it? I stood in line for a long time at ALA for the ARC and then gazed at it on my shelf knowing it was that true test of whether or not I'd continue loving Melissa Marr's books. Finally, something happened. Another author of a series I LOVED released a book and presented a new test. (J.K. Rowling) so that freed me up to read Melissa Marr's book! I never claimed to make sense okay? (also it's a lot smaller than The Casual Vacancy which I did actually mean to read but Carnival of Souls has the advantage of fitting in my purse)

Guess what? I loved it! The best way I can explain it is that even though the world is completely different and the goals of the characters are different, it feels like Wicked Lovely in that the relationships are just as intense and complicated and beautiful and gripping and there's lots of interesting relationships like...you know not just boyfriend/girlfriend, but packs, and brother/sister, father/daughter etc.

The world of Carnival of Souls is kind of hard for me to imagine, but basically there's a caste system and the only way to move up through it is to enter these gladiator style fights. The world is populated by daimons--all the witches have been expelled. But they still exist in the human world and the world outside The City? (I think) And there are kind of a lot of characters, but I love both girls--Aya and Mallory. I love that Aya is an upper caste girl entering the fights to try to earn the right not to breed and while there's more to that than meets the eye, it's pretty interesting to think about, especially the stuff between her and her betrothed. I think it's a good illustration of how you can love someone but not be able to be with them for really legitimate reasons that have to do with yourself.

There are some mysteries in the book, some that I think will feel obvious to the reader while others are waiting to be more fully addressed. I'm not sure if this is a series or just two books, though. But it has that feeling of something bigger building which I like, you know--an inevitable showdown.

Oh and I also like that you have a quarreling couple in a way, Marchosias and Evelyn. I'm curious to see how everything will unfold with them and how that will impact the lives of the other characters.

Basically, I loved this book, I loved getting lost in its world over the weekend and I'm really glad it's a series. Also! I'm very much looking forward to the adult fantasy and middle grade book Melissa Marr has coming out next year!

Rating: 4.5/5
Source of Book: ARC picked up at ALA
Publisher: HarperTeen


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