Carnival of Secrets – Melissa Marr

Carnival of Secrets (Untamed City #1) – Melissa Marr

(Formally Carnival of Souls)

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Goodreads

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.

 

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Half Wild – Sally Green

Half Wild (The Half Bad Trilogy #2) – Sally Green

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I wanted so badly to love this book as much as I did the first, but I didn’t. There was only one problem for me in this book, Annalise. She is just awful. Her character is empty, and she made me want to throw the book against the wall. I don’t like throwing books, books are not meant to be thrown. It has been a long time since I have wanted to throw one. Mostly this book was about saving her, but I think this story could have been so brilliant if we hadn’t been focused on her.

However, I am totally 110% invested in Gabriel. He is just so wonderful, and by far my favorite character. He just makes me happy.

“I can’t walk ten paces away from you without it hurting me. I treasure every second with you. Every second, More than you know.”

*Gush* Okay, but really, I just fall in love with Gabriel a thousand times over this whole book. The relationship between Gabriel and Nathan is what keeps me going through the whole book. Just their friendship makes me want to read the book, I can’t remember the last time I wanted two characters to be together so badly.

“As for me I’ll always love you. Even when I’m buried deep in one of those.” He nods to the grave. “I’ll still love you. Forever.”

This book could have gone a million ways, had Green left out the horrible Annalise. We focused 80% on saving the idiot girl and 20% on what the story was actually based on, the White and Black witches. Flip that around and make this story about the Black’s and the White’s, about helping Black Witches be recognized as equals. Lets focus on keeping them alive, rallying them together again the White Witch Counsel, building the rebel alliance. That would have made this novel an easy five stars. There are many shining moments where you think Green is going to forget about Annalise and focus on witches but then we go back to me wanting to throw the book.

Nathan and Gabriel however are characters with depth and emotion. I connected with both of them, I root for them the whole time. The ending of this book was wonderful, I’d say the last one hundred pages or more are what gave me hope again,  Green just reels you right back in with a fast paced, twist filled story. And for that, and Gabriel, I love her and this book dearly.

I do recommend this series for everyone, it is truly a page turner. (Even if all you wanna do is see if Annalise dies on the next page.)