Think of the Carnival of Souls as an enormous market, the heart of The City, and where the competition takes place. As for the competition itself, it's a way for even the lowest of the low to become ruling caste and hold a powerful position at Marchosias's side. Aya wants to win in order to keep from having to marry and breed, Belias only entered because Aya did so, and Kaleb? Kaleb is a cur who wants to protect his pack and improve his position in the process.
On the other hand, there's Mallory, a girl who has been raised by a witch to despise daimons. I won't say anymore than that about her--but trust me, you'll learn a lot about her throughout Carnival of Souls. If she feels a little weak willed to you at first, hang in there. Why? Because there's a reason for it. As for Kaleb, I didn't expect to like him as much as I did, to be honest. The romance felt a little too sudden at first, but I loved how it worked out as Carnival of Souls progressed. Oh! And I can't forget Adam, the witch that has been raising Mallory. I didn't start off loving him, but that quickly changed as I delved into Carnival of Souls.
Carnival of Souls is an immersive read and one that I think readers will enjoy. And while I won't talk about the plot itself--because I'm pretty sure I'll accidentally give spoilers--I will tell you that it moves along nicely and that you're never in one place for too long. It's a world that I didn't mind getting lost in and one that I'm eager to return to--even if the wait will probably kill me. (No, really, I wanted to shake it to see if another page--or fifty--would magically appear.)
Overall Rating: ★★★★ and a half.
Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
Publisher: Harper, an imprint of HarperCollins
Release Date: September 4, 2012
* Picked up at ALA Annual.