Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
Summary: Mallory is the daughter of the City’s highest ruler, but as an infant she was spirited away and raised as a human. As she comes of age, her biological father strengthens his search for her. Kaleb is one of the assassins sent to find Mallory, but unfortunately, he’s developing some feelings for her.
Aya is a ruling-class citizen, but because she’s female, her highest aspiration can only be to bear children. Aya can’t accept this fate, so she enters a competition in the Carnival of Souls to become part of the government. Unfortunately, her ex-fiancé has also entered the competition, meaning she needs to kill him in order to win.
My thoughts: As in her Wicked Lovely series, Melissa Marr effortlessly executes a story with an ensemble cast. The third person narration allows us to get inside the heads of all four main characters. Marr spends equal time developing each of her protagonists, which is a great feat, considering how many there are. There’s a character for everyone: due to their great differences, I guarantee that you’ll like at least one of them, if not all. My personal preference is Aya, a warrior fighting (quite literally!) against the sexist barriers in her world. Despite her highly specific reason for not wanting to become a breeder, Aya is the kind of girl who all women can relate to. I’m pleased with the message she sends.
The world-building in Carnival of Souls is where the novel falters a bit. The reader is thrown into the Carnival with little exposition, which makes the whole affair a bit difficult to picture. Thankfully, the publisher has done an excellent job with the trailer for Carnival of Souls, which helps illustrate what Aya’s world actually looks like. Melissa Marr’s writing, in terms of imagery, is less than stellar, which disappointed me.
In other matters, such as weaving together four separate plot threads, Melissa Marr demonstrates her proficiency as a storyteller. The way she connects the stories of her protagonists is smooth and absolutely perfect. I couldn’t imagine them coming together in a better way. Likewise, the pacing in Carnival of Souls is ideal, with a quick, dramatic start and a lively clip throughout. The cliffhanger ending might cause some readers (read: ME) to wail dramatically at the ceiling, but that’s to be expected from most books in a series nowadays.
If you enjoy fantasy and genuinely amazing storytelling, check out Carnival of Souls. It’s a ton of fun.
For those who like: fantasy, multiple protagonists
Find the author at Melissa-Marr.com.
Comment question: How do you feel about books with multiple (more than two) protagonists? Do you like them more or less than books with only one?