Carnival of Souls: Melissa Marr

I’ll admit it, this cover is kind of cool.

Melissa Marr is a name you usually associate with the Wicked Lovely series.  I haven’t read them.  Faes scare me.  However, I’ve always been curious about her work which is why I decided to give Carnival of Souls a try.


General Summary: The Carnival of Souls hosts a deadly competition that can change people’s lives.  Like Kaleb and Aiya’s.  Both are struggling to get  something more in the city.  Meanwhile, Mallory and her guardian are running away.  Somehow though all three cross paths.  Their lives changing forever.


I don’t know how I feel about this one.  A part of me really liked it.  It’s pretty different.  I mean, yeah it had some of the similar YA tropes, but it wasn’t your run of the mill YA paranormal or dystopia.  It had that something more.  That being said it was bogged down by some cliches.

In this case, instant love.

And the instant love wasn’t totally reciprocated so that was a good thing, but it made a big part of the book and it sort of sucked.  Especially considering how it was used.

The thing you need to know about Carnival of Souls is that it takes place in two worlds.  Our world and this other world of creatures that include daimons and witches.  Don’t ask me what a daimon is.  I have no idea.  I guess from what I read they’re sort of like werewolves, but not? And I only use the term werewolf because Marr talks a lot about pack mentality, pups, and breeding.

Yep, breeding.

There was a huge part of this book that was about the importance of women being bred.  And the word bred is used.  And that part really annoyed me.  Really how the whole daimon world treats women is pretty awful.  And then the women who are in power….well, they’re treated like a bitch.

Example of an SIW that’s treated like a bitch: Catwoman

I really don’t get it, is being a SIW (strong, independent, woman) such a bad thing?  Why must books continue to preach the idea that this bad.  That women should be weak and complacent.  And yeah, I get that this is the paranormal/dystopian world but it still annoys me.  Maybe it’s because I’ve read a lot of YA books with weak heroines.  And I have to give Mallory this, she doesn’t exact fall under Kaleb’s spell.  Maybe in the beginning but once she realizes what he is, she does wise up a bit.

Appart from this, I really did enjoy this one.  It was something different than what I normally would read and it was easy to get through.  Marr can definitely string too sentences together and engage her audience.

Best Feature: Mysterious World Building. Honestly, I was a little unsure if I should mention this as the best feature of the book.  I sort of had a love and hate relationship when it came to Marr and world building.  On one hand I like the fact that we’re not given a ten page info dump about what is going on. But even after finishing the book I’m not exactly clear on what a daimon is and what it does and why they hate the witches so much.  A little more information would’ve been helpful.  But then again, I appreciate not having to deal with info dumps.

Worst Feature: Patriarchal Society to the max.   The rules of Marr’s daimon society drove me sort of batty.  I could get a woman oppressed society, I really could.  I mean, in the 21st century there is still a lot of oppression going on.  But still, this drove me bananas.  Having a character married off without her even knowing she’s married so that she can be bred.  That just leaves a bad taste in my mouth.  It also doesn’t help Kaleb, the daimon who marries an unwitting Mallory, is suppose to be the hero in this book.  He’s not.  I don’t even like him though I know I’m suppose to.  And yeah, I get he’s the way he is because of circumstances he can’t exactly control.  But jeez, his lack of concern for Mallory’s choice in the matter and his blatant instant love annoyed the heck out me.  And FYI, if a guy asked me to breed with him, I’d probably make some remark about he needs to get snip snipped by the vet.

Appropriateness:  There is lots of violence in this book.  There is some course language as well. While there is no sex, there is talk of women being used for breeding vessels.

Blockbuster Worthy:  Maybe.  Honestly, I was a bit confused about a lot of things going on in this book.  Maybe a movie could clear some things up for me

Mallory: Haley Pullos, I think could be a good Mallory.  She seems to have that naive look about her that’s needed to pull off the role.  I know she’s a lot younger than the other actors I picked, but I picture Mallory looking younger than she is.

Kaleb: Ethan Peck, maybe?  He  fits the description at least.

Aya: I feel like Emma Watson could do this role justice if she had the super short haircut.  Aya needs to be fierce.  And we all know Emma can do fierce.

Overall Rating: Five out of ten.  There were a lot of interesting things in this book.  It was written beautifully, but  I just didn’t like Marr’s daimon society’s views on women.  It was archaic and quite frankly left a bad taste in my mouth.  I tried to tell myself that this was just a part of these creatures culture but every time I heard that it was a women’s duty to breed I felt like I was going to throw up.


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