Carnival Of Souls Melissa Marr Book Review

Do me a favor and raise your hand really high in the air if you’ve ever read a book just because an event is coming up and you want to be familiar with the book so you don’t look like an idiot at said event. I am going to pretend there’s a lot of you at home raising your hands in the air like idiots, so I am not alone in this. Last weekend Melissa Marr participated in a twitter chat centered around the release of her new book Carnival Of Souls which sounded fantastic to me. I wasn’t entirely sure what I was getting into with Carnival Of Souls, but I did know that I desperately wanted to participate in the chat because it sounded fun, also because it was torrentially down-pouring where I live.  I lucked out. Carnival Of Souls by Melissa Marr is an utterly gorgeous book set in a strange world peopled by characters living out moral dilemmas.

carnival of souls Melissa Marr Book Cover

The thing about a good prologue is that it starts the book off with a bang and rather than repelling you, it makes you say okay, I’ve got 5 minutes before I have to go, just one more chapter to see where this is going until you find yourself completely and irredeemable late for your engagement because you are held in thrall to a book. You guys, Carnival Of Souls totally has that scenario that was just described. I sat down to read it on Friday I think it was, because at that point I was reading a much anticipated sequel and got super bored and was like OMG Carnival Of Souls chat tomorrow. I NEED TO READ THIS BOOK NOW. And I did not stop reading until my bed time.

Melissa Marr’s book starts with a total BANG. There’s this daimon named Selah and she has a baby. Only the father is kind of a big deal, right. AND because he is kind of a big deal, all his heirs get mysteriously killed. Selah is all NOT MY BABY. THEN she gives the baby to a witch named Adam. By the way, witches and daimons hate each other because of this tiny little war where they killed large numbers of each other. This is just the prologue, you guys, not even the main story. Nuts, right? In the very best possible way. OKAY so once we get into the plot, there are three central characters, Mallory the daimon who doesn’t know she’s a daimon and lives with a witch, Kaleb who is the love interest and has his own secrets, and Aya, a woman who is a total fighter and lives in the City and wants to be on the council. I realize that was the longest run on sentence ever but you guys when I am excited, my voice is FULL OF RUN ONS! FULL.

I’ve brought up the City which is the central world for Carnival Of Souls and you guys are like what this takes place in New York City?! To which I say in response, no no no. OKAY SO LET ME EXPLAIN. The City is this like parallel universe where the daimons and a few pet witches live.OH and all of the witches that aren’t pets live in the human world. The City is kind of wild. They have a caste system and an intense set of legal laws as well. Murder is pretty legal. In the City there’s a market place where people where masks and they sell either pleasure or death. Every year there’s a cage match competition and the winner gets a place on the council. Aya is one of the entrants in this competition. She’s in the ruling class, but because she’s a female she can’t rule and so is all like, bro I will cut a bish to be able to rule.

To be quite honest, Mallory, the main character of Carnival Of Souls wasn’t my favorite character. I thought she was kind of bland. She spends much of the book wishing for real friends and crushing on Kaleb. I mean, she does cool things from time to time like handle guns,but nothing made her really stick out for me. I’d rather spend time talking about Kaleb and Aya.

Kaleb is Mallory’s love interest, but he gets his own storyline as well. FYI very very very slight spoilers so stop reading if you don’t want any spoilers at all. So, Kaleb is a cur, his parents abandoned him. This means he’s in a very low class of daimon. He lives with Zevi, a pack mate that he found. Anyways, Kaleb is also involved in these fights and oh yes has been paid to assassinate Mallory. BUT YOU GUYS THINGS GET TRICKY UP IN HERE. I totally found Kaleb and his attraction and his need to be in the fights dilemma to be so compelling. Like, I could not set Carnival Of Souls down during a Kaleb chapter. He seems like a good guy just trying his best in a tough world and were circumstances different, he would be a great match with Mallory.

Aya is the last central character and pretty much my favorite. This girl is freakin’ fierce and I want her on my team for always. She is at the top of the caste system and really has no need to be in the fights. However, she wants to change things in the City. Yet, because she’s female she is expected to get pregnant and have babies rather than sit on a council. So, Aya risks EVERYTHING to fight just to earn the coveted prize of a spot on the council. Guys, all you need to know is that girl is brave and has a lot going on. Plus, to me, she’s sympathetic and really easy to like and identify with. Also, she never bored me.

If you are looking for a fast paced read, look no further than Carnival Of Souls. The chapters are very short, so like I said in the beginning, you sit down to read and end up reading 150 pages before you realize maybe you don’t have time for that one extra chapter. The story is told in third person, yet the focus character changes for each chapter. Rather than make the book confusing, I thought Melissa Marr kept it fresh by using that technique. I really liked the switching of characters as it kept me engaged the entire time. Plus, I enjoyed forming attachments to the various characters.

If you are into richly drawn worlds, epic fighting, and kissing — hello ARC page 106, then you need to pick up a copy of Carnival Of Souls by Melissa Marr today then discuss it with me when you finish it, hours later. It’s cool, I’ll be there for you on the Twitter.

Disclosure: Received for review.

Other reviews of Carnival Of Souls by Melissa Marr:

i swim for oceans – “Unfortunately, I just expected more, and I would have hoped to see everything completely defined.

Mundie Moms – “Carnival of Souls is an absolutely awesome read full of enchantment, magic, lore, and plenty of action

Once Upon A Twilight – “Its just a delicious piece of fiction YOU MUST HAVE!

About April (Books&Wine)

April is in her 30s and created Good Books And Good Wine. She works for a non-profit. April always has a book on hand. In her free time she can be found binge watching The Office with her husband and toddler, spending way too much time on Pinterest or exploring her neighborhood.


  1. Great review!! I really need to read this book as I love all the books of Melissa’s that I’ve read so far. Plus, I wanna review it to piss off that C&D guy, lol. That’s bad of me. I may have to bump it up soon!

  2. Now I REALLY want to read this. *winks at page 106*

    I’m planning to wait for the audio, though, because I want James Marsters to tell me a story. 🙂

  3. Hahaha I laughed so hard when you texted me “PAGE 106 ANNA PASSAGE!” Can’t wait!

  4. Yes ARC page 106!!! And yea, had to raise my hand because I definitely read this when I did since Melissa Marr’s coming here for a signing and I wanted to know about the book =P I agree with you that Mallory was not my favourite – I loved Kaleb, and his plot line/chapters definitely kept me enthralled.

  5. Oooooh! I NEED to read this NOW! I must find out what’s on page 106!

  6. I can’t wait to read this book, and it is only partly because I want to get a threatening email….

  7. I’M READING THIS RIGHT NOW !! I’m totally engrossed in Melissa Marr’s writing in this book. So rich. Love it! And I can already agree that Aya is fierce…I mean…what she did to win that first fight we see her in?! Could you do it?! I don’t think I could have. Great review, April!!

  8. I really want to read this one. The cover is just so wonderful and the world sounds very imaginative.

  9. Your review reminded me why I got so confused while I was reading this one. OMG. Too many things were going on and I had no idea what any of them were. Glad to see some people enjoyed it though!

    Literary Exploration

  10. Okay, your review of this book has just gotten ME all worked up in a tizzy (without ever having read it) and I know I must go out and buy. this. book. now. So yeah, thanks for that.

  11. ooh I haven’t read a Melissa Marr book but I just put this book on hold at the library! I’ve been hearing pretty good things about this book and the premise sounds AMAZING. Glad you liked it so much!

  12. Haha. I am full of run ons when I am really excited, too! Yay for run ons.

    Great review. I don’t think Carnival of Souls is my type of book, but it sounds really interesting, and I can think of a bunch of teens at my library that would be interested in this one. I will be sure to push it.

    Thanks for the review 🙂

  13. YEP. Just flipped to page 106 and died all over again.

  14. Great review, April! I just bought this yesterday at a book signing and look forward to reading it!! 🙂

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. “The thing about a good prologue is that it starts the book off with a bang and rather than repelling you, it makes you say okay, I’ve got 5 minutes before I have to go, just one more chapter to see where this is going until you find yourself completely and irredeemable late for your engagement because you are held in thrall to a book.”

    This needs to be on a t-shirt. Seriously. I love it and both hate it when this happens. This is why I can’t start a book in the morning. Ever. I will do nothing the rest of the day.

  16. I look forward to reading this. Thanks for the awesome review.

  17. PARALLEL UNIVERSE? April, I didn’t think I could be more excited about this one if I tried, BUT I AM! I just picked this up this week and now I can’t WAIT to read it! Fantastic review, dear! I’m so glad you enjoyed this one so much! 🙂

  18. I freaking love your reviews. Because now I’m super super excited for Carnival of Souls and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to read it. THANKS, APRIL. *adds to book buy list* *bank account weeps*

  19. Oh I’m so on the fence about this one! I haven’t ever read anything by Melissa Marr and I know I know I should lose all of my book blogger cred for it but HEY I CANT HELP IT THERE ARE BAZILLION BOOKS OUT THERE YA KNOW? I sort of feel like I should start with the Wicked Lovely books because they were there first. I’m so confused I feel like a teenager and I need to bang my keyboard and take a deep breath RIGHT NOW.

    Anyway, I’ve read such mixed things but yours was really positive. So hmm hmm hmm maybe I might pick it up. Dang it, my to-read it nastified already. But I freaking love a caste system in a book. Does that make me weird? Probably.


  1. […] with a cast of interesting characters that is sure to please readers of both genres.” Good Books and Good Wine – “If you are into richly drawn worlds, epic fighting, and kissing — hello ARC page […]

  2. […] April’s Review: “If you are looking for a fast paced read, look no further than Carnival Of Souls…” […]

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