Carnival of Souls

2012. 306p. 978-0-06165-928-7.
Gr 9 Up–Marr’s new series introduces readers to a world very different from that of her previous novels. The Carnival of Souls is the epicenter of The City, inhabited by daimons. There has been enmity between daimons and witches for centuries, and most of the witches have been banished to the human world, where they live undetected. The City has a rigid caste system in which one’s fate is determined by birth. Once every generation, Marchosias, the leader of the daimon ruling caste, holds a competition open to all of the castes, in which contestants fight to the death, with the final winner allowed entry to the ruling caste. Aya has rebelled against social norms by being the first ruling-caste girl to enter the competition, instead of marrying and breeding as is expected of her. In contrast, Kaleb, born into the lowest rung of the daimon social ladder, fights to escape the constraints imposed upon his caste. Mallory, the daughter of Marchosias, was taken from The City as an infant and raised among witches in the human world. She believes herself to be human and has been taught to hate daimons. The destinies of Mallory, Kaleb, and Aya are intertwined, and each one will play pivotal roles in the power struggle between daimons and witches. Marr’s world-building is complex and masterful, and through skillful plotting, she builds intrigue and suspense, with plenty of romance as well. Her fans, as well as readers of Laini Taylor’s Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Little, Brown, 2011), will devour this, and will eagerly await the next installment.–Francesca Burgess, Brooklyn Public Library, NY
Witches are in hiding from daimons of The City. Witch Mallory wants to be a normal teen, but she was raised for battle--and daimons know about her; Kaleb and Aya fight to rise above their castes in The City, where pleasure, power, and violence reign. Marr skillfully intertwines these characters' lives in a decadent fantastical world that feels startlingly real.

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