Warriors Kaleb and Aya will stop at nothing to destroy their competition. But when Kaleb finds his fate entwined with that of Mallory, a seventeen-year-old human girl, he can’t seem to separate the vicious Carnival contest he’s entered from his sudden devotion to her. He and Aya may be prizefighters from the otherworldly Untamed City, but his strange, obsessive connection makes staying away from the witch-ruled human world, and Mallory, harder every day.
All Mallory knows of the Untamed City is what her elders have told her—that it’s full of debauchery and daimons looking to destroy her. But she knows she’s being pulled toward Kaleb with an emotion so fierce that it’s utterly foreign.
The two are forced apart by Mallory’s overprotective witch father, stranded by necessity between warring populations that can’t coexist. But when The City’s ruler raises the stakes of the Carnival’s prize, there’s nothing Mallory, Kaleb, or Aya can do to stop the two worlds colliding. Mallory’s about to discover her true identity—and stumble into a fate she’d die to avoid.
Fans of The Hunger Games will devour this tale of lush secrets, dark love, and the struggle to forge one’s own destiny from the bestselling author of Wicked Lovely, Melissa Marr.
©2012 Melissa Marr (P)2012 HarperCollins Publishers
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"The primer for a Fantastic world"
This is my first book by Melissa Marr, so I can't compare it to her others. But, I was impressed with how she was able to construct such a creatively woven fabric of reality, balancing three different worlds: witches, demons (the castes within), and humans.
I had just worked my way through all the available Dresden Files books, and was looking for something to satiate that wanting for more, and I saw James Marsters had recently worked on this book. I was worried that I would have trouble getting Harry out of my mind while listening to this book, but Marsters somehow varied his pacing, articulation, and tone to a degree that made this reading completely unique compared to his other performances. Still, Marsters did an amazing job setting the theme for the novel, and his accents (although a bit odd, giving American Southern accents to otherworldly creatures) do give life to the characters, and by the end of the book I felt them to be quite fitting and appropriate.
Comparing this to Dresden, I didn't have a hard time imagining this world to be just a couple universes over within the fantasy multiverse. The magic is similar, the importance of circles and wards being ubiquitous. But, the rules are much different; killing and mind magic don't seem to be the same sort of sins. This book is certainly much darker.
Marr did a great job of setting up what will hopefully be a fantastic series. The cliffhanger was both satisfying while also leaving you wanting to know what comes next. I do hope Marsters continues to read the upcoming stories.
"Good Story, GREAT Narrator"
I am totally surprised by how much I enjoyed this book. I didn't finish Marr's Wicked Lovely series just because they couldn't hold my attention. I didn't feel they were original and that they were pretty boring. I stuck with them as long as I did because the covers were amazing. So, I was a bit leery about picking up Carnival of Souls. But, it was narrated by James Marsters (Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and I had some Audible credits so I decided to give it a try. Am I glad I did!
This is a dark novel with risky topics. It's a cruel and violent world that Marr has thrown some wonderful main characters in the middle of. Mallory's totally clueless about her heritage but everyone around her knows the truth. I spent the whole audiobook yelling at my ipod - - just tell her already. Then there's Aya. I can't figure out what her agenda is but I know she's got one. She's deceptive and cunning and I can't help but cheer for her. Kaleb lives a horrible life yet he can't help dreaming of a better life.
Let's not forget James Marsters' narrating. He's amazing! I think he greatly carried the book and make it much more likable than it would have been if I was reading a physical book. I'm actually pretty sure that there were a couple of spots where I might have decided I couldn't handle this and just put the book down. But Marsters is such an excellent narrator that I was entranced and kept listening. I am going to listen to each and every book narrated by this guy.
This book ends on a horrible cliffhanger so I suggest waiting until next year to read it.
I had planned on picking up this book as soon as it was released because I already love Marr and her Wicked Lovely series so much. Then I heard that James Marsters (AKA Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer) was going to be the narrator, so I bought the audiobook from Audible instead! I have to admit that I was a little disappointed that he did not read it in the "Spike" British accent,but soon got over that. IT ao made me realize that he had read some of my favorite books ever - The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher and I didn't even know it.
Marr can create these wondrous ever engaging worlds where you feel ever step and hear every bird fly over head. She hits it out of the park on this one just as well. The book is action packed with fights, dark magic and war. She balances the book wonderfully keeping the story line flowing and the characters moving on and developing throughout. I love how all the characters intertwine towards the end, it like a fantasy soap opera with battles to the death! Marr is a genius, masterful storyteller and I can not wait for more. I think I may finally go and pick up Graveminder soon also.
"James Marsters shines! Complicated plot slow dev."
James PERFORMS rather than NARRATES. His voices and subtle inflections, along with his emotions are always right there on the surface drawing you into every scene - making you feel what the characters are feeling.
I found the plot a little slow developing due to so many diverse characters, but James Marsters kept it flowing so that I didn't get frustrated with it. Ends on a cliff so I hope the next installment comes soon and is more action-packed now that we know all the players.
I've become of fan of Melissa Marr and particularly loved Graveminder. this is a much darker book with a much grimmer world. The premises are intriguing , but the fight competitions are simply nasty. And it's really hard to imagine the characters functioning in the human world, given the predilections of the carnival one. I don't see me caring enough to read through to the next book. It's a far icker universe and not enough passion or beauty to carry me through.
I also find Caleb's southern accent personally offensive.
It's a matter of where your tolerances are, but I'd give this one a mild thumbs down. there's no amount of tender young love that improves this.
"James Marsters does it again!"
The clash between two equally powerful, magical beings.
The Greyfriar (Vampire Empire #1). In both cases, the female and male protagonists come from different worlds and appear to be natural enemies.
I've listened to all of the Dresden Files books as well as the Greyfriar. This performance is every bit as good as the Greyfriar. Marsters does an amazing job with the range of voices demanded by the Dresden Files, where he has to voice many different characters--many not human!--with lots of different accents. So far this series has employed fewer characters, but I have no doubt that Marsters will continue to excel at bringing them all to life.
Every time Mallory, the 17-year-old female protagonist, was in tears, I would find myself getting a little teary, too. I have no idea how he manages to do it, but he does.
Marsters' voice is rather deep, but he has a wide range, which helps him portray the female characters convincingly. This is a pet peeve of mine--I can't help but think of the guys in Monty Python when some male narrators read women's dialogue. But Marsters edges ever so slightly into the upper end of his range when he plays the women in the book. In doing so, he manages to avoid sounding like a strangled eunuch or Lady Bracknell in a drag production of The Importance of Being Earnest.
I like the varying viewpoints throughout the book. The world building was extensive but not in an info dump kind of way.
Its not without flaws but it was an enjoyable listen and I'm eager (although not rabid) for the next installment as it ended on a bit of a cliffhanger.
"A great begining to a promising series"
entertaining story, interesting characters that you can cheer for, care about, hate, fear, relate to. Fantastic magical rules and world building. Give it a go, I think you'll enjoy it!
I selected this book because it was read by James Marsters and I wasn't disappointed, he reads beautifully and I didn't want to stop listening. Storyline was unique compared to other paranormal fantasy which made it even more enjoyable.
"Can't wait for thenext installment!"
I honestly believe this book really establishes Melissa Marr on the "scene" - already desperate for the next installment!!
I checked out her website and found a "mini-movie" peek into the world of the Carnival of Souls - interesting- definitely worth seeing...
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