Carnival of Secrets (Untamed City #1) – Melissa Marr
(Formally Carnival of Souls)
Kaleb, Zevi and Aya live in The City, a city of daimons. Once in a generation, The City holds a deadly fighting competition. If you win the competition you get to be a part of the ruling class. If you don’t win, you die.
Mallory lives in the human world, with her witch step-father. Mallory’s step-father has told her that one day the daimons will come for both of them, so she trains to fight them every day. Mallory knows very little about The City, but some inhabitants of The City know about her.
Sounds good right?
It could have been great, had it not turned into paranormal love story. This book goes from deadly fight matches into:
“I love you.”
“But you just met me.”
“I will do anything to protect you.”
“You know you felt the connection instantly.”
I’m really not a huge fan of young adult paranormal love stories. Some Paranormal YA books have a love story written so well into the story because it doesn’t take away from the actual story. Some, like Carnival of Souls, have an amazing story starting, and turn this beautiful setting into nothing but cheesy romance.
I only really liked Aya and Zevi. Aya is strong and powerful and she has secrets of her own. She’s a strong fighter in the competition and it’s so fun to read about a strong female character fighting (and being good at it.) Zevi isn’t in the story as much as Aya, Kaleb, and Mallory; but he made the most impact as a character for me. He’s dedicated and he cares more than any of them do. He seems to care out of friendship not romance, which was a welcome break from the cheesiness.
“You are my whole pack. My entire life is based on you…your choices, your whims, your schemes. For years, I’ve trusted you, but I can’t keep doing that if you keep trying to get killed.” – Zevi, pg.279
However, the Carnival of Souls and The City were really interesting. Had the story stuck to the daimons and witches and fights to the death I think this book could have been great.
If you really enjoy paranormal romance I actually think you’ll enjoy this book, if you’re looking for more story building and character building, you might wanna look elsewhere.