Waiting on Wednesday: Carnival of Souls
- Published on Wednesday, 15 August 2012 12:00
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Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
Melissa Marr takes her readers into a new dark and seductive world, full of violence, sex, and intrigue. Carnival of Souls tells the story of a group of witches and daimons, their futures caught up together in a tangled web of lies and secrets. It’s a mysterious thrill ride that will keep you turning the pages, desperate for more.
There is the human world, and there is the daimon world. Once the daimons were slaves to witches, but a hero emerged, Marchosias, freeing the daimons and banishing the witches to the human world. In the daimon world everything is violent, bright, and guided by very strict rules. In the human world the witches lurk in the shadows, plotting their revenge. Every 18 years Marchosias can produce an heir, but his last daughter was spirited away by her mother, hidden safely in the human world. Everyone is looking for her, even while she has no idea what she really is. There are no clear lines of right and wrong, good and bad, in the Carnival of Souls–or anywhere in these worlds. You won’t know who to trust, or who to believe.
Carnival of Souls is at once a prelude to the books to come in the series, and a story on its own. It’s narrated by four main characters, with snippet chapters from some of the secondary characters. There is Mallory, a human raised by her witch father, constantly on the run from the daimon threat. There is Aya, a high-class daimon fighting in a death-tournament in hopes of winning a place of power in the government, instead of being relegated to wife and breeder. There is Kaleb, a lowly daimon cur, also fighting in the death-tournament, and secretly stalking Mallory in the human world. And there is Belias, Aya’s former betrothed, and another contestant in the tournament, who desperately needs to win so he can produce an heir for his family’s house. Every one of these characters has a secret they are protecting, some more fiercely than others. But none of them can avoid becoming tangled up in the same destiny.
Melissa handles the varied third person POVs very well for a writer who has mostly worked in first person. She even navigates from one narrator to another within chapters within losing you. Aya and Kaleb were by far the most engaging and interesting of the narrators, mostly because they have the most to lose. Belias was fascinating, but you spend less time with him, as you will see why. And Mallory, who is obviously set up as the heroine of the series, fell a little flat for me. I don’t know if its because you don’t spend as much time with her as the other characters, or because her story was really just getting started, but I wasn’t drawn to her character. I even found her annoying at times; but still, I didn’t hate her character.
Overall this was a very sumptuous world, very intriguing and mysterious, and the ending is a killer cliff-hanger and launching point for the series.