Carnival of Secrets – Melissa Marr

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.



Pawn – Aimee Carter

Pawn (The Blackcoat Rebellion #1) – Aimee Carter



“But if you’re careful, if you keep your eyes open and pay attention to what your opponent is doing, if you protect your pawns and they reach the other side of the board, do you know what happens then?”

I shook my head, and she smiled.

“Your pawn becomes a queen.”

This book is an easy, well paced read, I’ll give it that. I wanted to continue reading, especially through the last half. I just never knew what was gonna be around the next corner.

However I feel like the only character that had any life is Knox. He seemed like he had a purpose, like he was a character who had made mistakes and just wanted to come out on the other side of them. He really does seem like a genuinely good person.

Kitty and Benjy? For starters, the name Kitty drove me insane the whole time. What a terrible name for your main character. She’s just not likable to me either, I was never really rooting for her. Benjy just fell flat for me, he was just thrown into the story. I feel like he had no reason to be in the story other than to be Kitty’s boyfriend.

I think I expect more depth from a main character and the ship that there seems to be the most focus on.

The other thing that bothered me was that I never understood how the world they came to live in, came to be. How one family found a way to rule, and how the ranking systems they have in place became what they are.

The idea was there, it was just missing some back story. I love learning about the history of dystopian worlds, I think that is why we read them. We want to know how it happened and what went wrong. That was the biggest thing missing for me. I can quickly get over semi-boring characters, its’s harder to get past a story without a history.

All in all, it sounds like I’m mostly being negative about this book, and I’m not trying to be. I actually did enjoy it. I am excited to pick up the next books and see what Carter does with the story.

“Never forget the potential one solitary pawn has to change the entire game.”