Carnival of Secrets by Melissa Marr Review: Daimons and witches

August 13, 2012 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | 5 stars, Books, Reviews

Carnival of Secrets by Melissa Marr Review: Daimons and witchesCarnival of Secrets by Melissa Marr
Series: Untamed City #1
Published by HarperCollins on September 24, 2012
Source: Publisher
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
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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, 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.

From Melissa Marr, bestselling author of the Wicked Lovely series andGraveminder, comes a brand-new tale of lush secrets, dark love, and the struggle to forge one's own destiny

Melissa Marr’s Carnival of Secrets is an intoxicating journey into a fantastical world called The City, where daimons and witches reside. Every generation, The City offers its inhabitants an opportunity to join the ruling elite through the Carnival of Souls. Plagued by an unforgiving caste system, the Carnival gives fighters a beacon of hope – and the chance for those at the bottom rung to escape from dirty ‘black mask’ work which involves fighting and killing.

We follow the perspectives of fascinating multiple characters told in third person. Aya is the ambitious ruling class daimon who enters the fight to break free from female conventions such as marriage and breeding. Kaleb is a lower caste daimon called a cur, who can shift forms and forms a pack with those he feels a connection to. Finally, we have Mallory, a teenage girl in the human world raised and trained to fight by a witch and just wants to be normal. Each character has their own intricacies and are fascinating to read about. The third person view was also refreshing, as we’re spoilt for choice with first person in YA novels.

This is the first novel I’ve read of Marr’s, and she has an amazing ability to interweave storylines and create an immersive dark fantasy. In just 300 words, she communicates amazing complexities of the caste system, the politics between daimons and witches, two alternative worlds of The City and the human world, and the thoughts of five different characters. I would read this novel again and would no doubt find new things to digest and envelop myself in.

This YA novel breaks typical YA conventions of good and evil, first person perspectives, and stereotypical characters. Marr’s ability in blurring the lines between different characters and connecting the dots later on is mind-blowing. You’ll pick up the novel thinking you’re reading one thing, and before you know it, a plot twist will have you looking at the whole book in a different light. It’s these plot devices that makes it so compelling, as you turn to pages to find out more about this interesting world.

Carnival of Secrets is richly descriptive, imaginative, and complex. The story hooks you in from the very first page and will have you clamouring for more until the very end. Unfortunately when you reach the end, you’ll realise that this novel is just the beginning and you’ll need to wait until the sequel for more. It’s going to be a long wait, as this one will be released in September 2012.

Rating: 5 out of 5


This was an ARC received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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Jeann is an Aussie YA blogger and mum who loves to read and recommend books! You can usually find me fangirling about books on my various social media channels including Twitter @happyindulgence, Instagram and Youtube.

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