Here is the summary from Goodreads: In a city of daimons, rigid class lines separate the powerful from the power-hungry. And at the heart of The City is the Carnival of Souls, where both murder and pleasure are offered up for sale. Once in a generation, the carnival hosts a deadly competition that allows every daimon a chance to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures--if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live. All Mallory knows of The City is that her father--and every other witch there--fled it for a life in exile in the human world. Instead of a typical teenage life full of friends and maybe even a little romance, Mallory scans quiet streets for threats, hides herself away, and trains to be lethal. She knows it's only a matter of time until a daimon finds her and her father, so she readies herself for the inevitable. While Mallory possesses little knowledge of The City, every inhabitant of The City knows of her. There are plans for Mallory, and soon she, too, will be drawn into the decadence and danger that is the Carnival of Souls.
What I Liked: 1) Well, first of all, this was anything but "watered down." There was much more emotion from the characters in this story, and that's something that I always love to see. Seeing the characters connect to each other (and I don't always mean in a good way) made it a lot easier for me to jump in and connect with the characters. 2) Emotional connection aside, the way that all of these characters are connected to each other - I guess spatially would be the best word to use - was awesome. There were all these overlapping storylines that we as the reader have an easy time following, but we are watching the characters try and unravel them. On top of the overarching storyline, this was a very fun addition to the plot. 3) Aya. Aya was my favorite character, with her kick-butt fighting skill and the secrets that she is trying to protect. She was multi-dimensional, giving the reader a lot of ways to connect with her. 4) The setting. We were jumping between The City, and the human world. So there wasn't anything special really about the human world (ah, the reason I tend to like spec fic comes to light!) but The City is shady and mysterious, and was one of the biggest questions I had about the story. I would love to just walk around it and peer around corners. You know, explore. Though it was pretty dangerous, according to Kaleb and Zevi!
What I Didn't Like: Well, there are still so many questions left unanswered that just made me anxious for the next one. Like any good cliffhanger!
Overall Thoughts: Melissa Marr really hit one out of the park with Carnival of Souls. Her level of creativity cannot be denied as you get wrapped up in this story of a magical world competing with the human world. With an intriguing cast of characters that span the magical spectrum, Carnival of Souls has a character that everyone can feel connected with, and a story that will ensnare you from the beginning. This series is one I know I'm going to love!
My Rating: 5 candy corns
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