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Untamed City: Carnival of Secrets

Untamed City: Carnival of Secrets

4.1 201
by Melissa Marr

Warriors Kaleb and Aya will stop at nothing to destroy their competition. But when Kaleb finds his fate entwined with that of Mallory, a seventeen-year-old human girl, he can't seem to separate the vicious Carnival contest he's entered from his sudden devotion to her. He and Aya may be prizefighters from the otherworldly Untamed City, but his strange,


Warriors Kaleb and Aya will stop at nothing to destroy their competition. But when Kaleb finds his fate entwined with that of Mallory, a seventeen-year-old human girl, he can't seem to separate the vicious Carnival contest he's entered from his sudden devotion to her. He and Aya may be prizefighters from the otherworldly Untamed City, but his strange, obsessive connection makes staying away from the witch-ruled human world, and Mallory, harder every day.

All Mallory knows of the Untamed City is what her elders have told her—that it's full of debauchery and daimons looking to destroy her. But she knows she's being pulled toward Kaleb with an emotion so fierce that it's utterly foreign.

The two are forced apart by Mallory's overprotective witch father, stranded by necessity between warring populations that can't coexist. But when The City's ruler raises the stakes of the Carnival's prize, there's nothing Mallory, Kaleb, or Aya can do to stop the two worlds colliding. Mallory's about to discover her true identity—and stumble into a fate she'd die to avoid.

Fans of The Hunger Games will devour this tale of lush secrets, dark love, and the struggle to forge one's own destiny from the bestselling author of Wicked Lovely, Melissa Marr.

(Formerly published as Carnival of Souls)

Editorial Reviews

School Library Journal
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
Publishers Weekly
Kicking off a new series, Marr (the Wicked Lovely books) introduces a pair of worlds whose fates are intertwined. In “our” world, witches secretly run corporations and spread their influence. In “The City,” daimons reign supreme, plotting and scheming, and anything can be found in the sinister Carnival of Souls. A bloody competition to determine who will rise up to help rule the City draws close to conclusion, with several contenders vying for the last slots. Aya is a high-caste daimon, who must win to survive; Kaleb is a low-caste assassin willing to risk all to succeed. And in the mortal world, 17- year-old Mallory has been raised by a witch, Adam, and trained to fight dai­mons. When their paths cross, it sparks revelations and a dangerous change in the status quo. Marr’s trademark blend of dark romance, fantasy, and action is on full display, but while Marr makes Mallory strong and independent, those qualities are undercut somewhat (in this installment, anyway) by the multiple brain-wipes she receives from Adam, what amounts to a forced marriage, and an abrupt ending. Ages 13–up. Agent: Merrilee Heifetz, Writer’s House. (Sept.)
The fast pace, feisty female warriors, and themes of social justice bear more than a small resemblance to Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games, but Marr’s many fans from the Wicked Lovely series won’t be disappointed.
RT Book Reviews (top pick)
“Marr showcases her impressive talent by crafting an incredible, fantastical, complex world. This book is worth reading for the amazing fight scenes alone. Immerse yourself in the CARNIVAL OF SOULS, you won’t regret it.”
Kami Garcia
A novel so dangerous and decadent it’s impossible to put down.
Margaret Stohl
Melissa Marr’s best book yet, which is saying quite a lot.
RT Book Reviewss
Marr showcases her impressive talent by crafting an incredible, fantastical, complex world. This book is worth reading for the amazing fight scenes alone. Immerse yourself in the CARNIVAL OF SOULS, you won’t regret it.
Voice of Youth Advocates (VOYA) (Starred Review)
“Lives collide in a spectacular tangle of love, hate, and long-standing vendettas…Add in class warfare, a deadly tournament, and the Carnival of Souls, where any pleasure or contract can be fulfilled, and this is one novel that will be at the top of everyone’s to-read list.”
VOYA - Amanda Fensch
Mallory's life is not that of a typical teenager. Her father, a witch, long ago fled The City in order to stay alive. He has stayed in the human world in order to raise Mallory and teach her skills to keep her from harm. The daimons, deadly shape-shifters who inhabit The City, will be coming for Mallory, and she must fight. Mallory knows little of The City or daimons, and what she does not know will hurt her. The boy she likes, Kaleb, is, in fact, under contract to kill her. As a lower-class daimon, Kaleb's life has not been an easy one, and he takes unsavory jobs in order to stay out of poverty. Kaleb's biggest jobs yet might be next to impossible, though—kill Mallory, a girl he soon recognizes as not human, but daimon, and win The City's fight-to-the-death tournament. Kaleb and Mallory's lives collide in a spectacular tangle of love, hate, and long-standing vendettas. Marr's talent for blending several story lines together does not fail her here. If this were simply Mallory's story it would be a good book, but the interweaving of the stories of Kaleb, Mallory, and other major players, both in The City and the human world, adds a unique depth to the tale. Add in class warfare, a deadly tournament, and The Carnival of Souls, where any pleasure or contract can be fulfilled, and this is one novel that will be at the top of everyone's to-read list. Reviewer: Amanda Fensch
Kirkus Reviews
Festive title notwithstanding, traversing the complicated, shallowly rendered world of this exposition-heavy fantasy is a dreary slog, like reading a gaming manual cover to cover. Years after the Witch Wars exiled witches to the human world, daimons remain in possession of The City. (Daimon attributes include retractable talons, fangs and, under stress, berserker temperament.) Encroaching on the overcrowded, brutal City is a beast-ridden wilderness, a parting gift of the witches, power-hungry, magically gifted humanoids. For City residents outside the ruling caste, career options are limited: assassin, thief, con artist, prostitute or, once a generation, combatant in deadly gladiatorial games. For entertainment, there's the eponymous Carnival and the Night Market (see career options). As heirs of daimon rulers rarely survive childhood, Mallory, daughter of City ruler Marchosias, has been hidden in the human world, raised by her adoptive witch dad. Kaleb, the daimon sent to kill her, is smitten instead. Drably generic Mallory is ignorant of her heritage, but it's revealed early to readers, leaching the story of suspense. Characters frequently pause the action to muse on what they and readers already know. Vaguely orgiastic, sadomasochistic sex and violence stand in for genuine emotion. Only the violence, delineated in bloody detail, is graphic. Marr fans will be happy to learn this is a series opener. (Paranormal romance. 13 & up)

Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Untamed City , #1
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File size:
770 KB
Age Range:
13 - 17 Years


What People are Saying About This

Margaret Stohl
Melissa Marr’s best book yet, which is saying quite a lot.
Kami Garcia
A novel so dangerous and decadent it’s impossible to put down.

Meet the Author

Melissa Marr is the author of the bestselling Wicked Lovely series as well as the adult fantasy novels Graveminder and The Arrivals. When not writing, editing, or traveling, Melissa is buried under a plethora of books, dogs, and children in Virginia or online at www.melissa-marr.com.

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Carnival of Souls 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 201 reviews.
JessabellaReviews More than 1 year ago
My First Thoughts: Well, let me start by saying that I was extremely excited to read this one. The cover is freaking awesome, I loved the title and concept. Plus, I had seen so much promo for this book that I felt as though I had been waiting forever by the time my copy finally arrived on my doorstep! So, was the wait worth it? Absolutely! I liked Carnival of Souls after the prologue, and was in love by chapter 3. It just kept getting better and better with every page I turned! My Review: This is one of the most original books I have read in quite a while. The world was absolutely brilliant! The City where the daemons live was crafted so brilliantly that I felt as if it was somewhere I had actually been in real life. The Carnival of Souls is the center of the city. It is where all of the commerce happens. Oh yes, commerce, such as: murder for hire, prostitution, and drugs. See that may make some people think, wow I don't know if this is for me... Well let me just say that all these things made the story that much more real, the characters lives more desolate, and their situations more desperate. It is important to know what is normal for the daemon society, so the reader can understand just how hard it is to change your lot in life in the city. The characters were written in such a way that even if they were doing something that you would consider to be morally wrong, it is impossible not feel compassion for WHY they were doing it. This is what really made this book brilliant. It was told from alternating perspectives while never being first person narration. I feel this was a brilliant move because it lets you see so many different views of the same world that it is truly opened up into something with many layers. You really get to know each character intimately. This was such a refreshing way to read a story and I honestly feel like I've never read a book with a character focus like this. After reading the book, I feel as though even if I may not LOVE every character in the book, I completely understand them and their motives. I cannot say enough good things about this book. It was sinfully dark and full of love at the same time. There was such an honesty in even the worst situations that they were always beautiful. This book made me laugh out loud and shed a tear in the same chapter! I truly loved Carnival of Souls and it comes highly recommended from me! Anyone who loves YA Paranormal and is looking for something refreshing and different, this is the one for you!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This, at first, sounded as if the book was the mythical version of hunger games. I was wrong. It's a great read, highly recommended. (:
Mai-the-Aneko More than 1 year ago
When I got this book I had no idea what I was getting into. But am I ever glad I didn't! Just when I thought Melissa Marr couldn't get any better, she proved me wrong. If I had to choose the right words to describe how each of the characters were developed I would say, PERFECT!!!! Each one had a story to tell and each one was unique to him or her. The way each one had views on daimons and witches was amazing and made me want more. I knew Melissa could write dark, but I had no idea she could make you want more. Just imagine a fight, imagine the words floeing together to make it seem real. The way she wrote it made me feel as though I was watching it in real life. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves drama, suspense, and a challenge. Because Melissa's books always give the reader a challenge to keep on reading. Go check it out!!!
LuckyCharm273005 More than 1 year ago
the only bad thing about this is having to wait for the next one. I absolutely loved this book :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Melissa Marr is definitely one if my top ten authors. She paints such a vivid picture. I am amazed at the the talent and ability it takes to create these different worlds that she comes up with. Wicked Lovely was an amazing series and clearly this author has not peaked. This book was a page turner i couldnt stop reading and finished it in a day! I cannot wait to see whats in store for Mallory; her relationship with Kaleb and her relationship with her father adam. I yearn to to see the love between bel and aya survive the challenges they are going through. If u purchase this book u will not be dissapointed. Meliss marr deserves an award ! More please!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really slow to get started, seemed like I was waiting forever for the story to start. Characters aren't as flushed out as you would think for somthing that took so long to build up to. An interesting story and plot though, quick read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
But did not like it as much as the other reviewers. It was ok but the writing was a bit sketchy here and there which made me have to reread pages to understand what was going on. The ending was not good. Just not the best book Ive read in a while but I was hoping it would be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carnival of Souls has to be one of the most creative books i have ever read. The daimons, the City, Mallory's relationship with Adam and hints at Katsa's relationship with Mallory was just blowing my mind. There were some things i didnt like, but i dont even remember them. I am DYING to read the sequel and solve all of these riddles, and if you havent read the book yet, read it now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This novel breathes a new life and desire for Melissa Marr's work for me. I did appreciate the Wicked Lovely series but this book put me under a spell (no pun intended)! When I read the summary for Carnival of Souls I was deeply interested in the subject- it is so much different than what I'm used to! I love a book that isn't predictable in the beginning and that is exactly what I got. I not only love the subcultures she created, but also the navigation and scheming by the characters therein. Entrancing and nearly impossible to put down, I spent time thinking about the storyline as I was going about my day and couldn't wait to delve back in. I cannot wait for the sequel! Fantastic read!
Krissybear More than 1 year ago
At first it took me about 2 chapters to get into the book, after that I was hooked. Very good read, and I am anticipating the next book! Hurry up Marr!! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was a little skeptic at first because I don't usually read books such as this but once I started reading, I couldn't stop! I'm so excited that I can hardly wait till the next book. I am starting to read it again! It was just that good!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good but could have had a better story line
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There was no good intro into the fantasy world Marr created. I spent several chapters confused about logistics. The book was 75% complete before I got a handle on it. When I started to enjoy it, it was over.
FuzzyCoffeeBooks More than 1 year ago
What I Liked: 1) Well, first of all, this was anything but "watered down." There was much more emotion from the characters in this story, and that's something that I always love to see. Seeing the characters connect to each other (and I don't always mean in a good way) made it a lot easier for me to jump in and connect with the characters. 2) Emotional connection aside, the way that all of these characters are connected to each other - I guess spatially would be the best word to use - was awesome. There were all these overlapping storylines that we as the reader have an easy time following, but we are watching the characters try and unravel them. On top of the overarching storyline, this was a very fun addition to the plot. 3) Aya. Aya was my favorite character, with her kick-butt fighting skill and the secrets that she is trying to protect. She was multi-dimensional, giving the reader a lot of ways to connect with her. 4) The setting. We were jumping between The City, and the human world. So there wasn't anything special really about the human world (ah, the reason I tend to like spec fic comes to light!) but The City is shady and mysterious, and was one of the biggest questions I had about the story. I would love to just walk around it and peer around corners. You know, explore. Though it was pretty dangerous, according to Kaleb and Zevi! What I Didn't Like: Well, there are still so many questions left unanswered that just made me anxious for the next one. Like any good cliffhanger! Overall Thoughts: Melissa Marr really hit one out of the park with Carnival of Souls. Her level of creativity cannot be denied as you get wrapped up in this story of a magical world competing with the human world. With an intriguing cast of characters that span the magical spectrum, Carnival of Souls has a character that everyone can feel connected with, and a story that will ensnare you from the beginning. This series is one I know I'm going to love!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Within the first couple pages you are drawn in to the story. I couldn't put it down
Daisy44 More than 1 year ago
Outstanding! I really liked this book. The story was exciting and intriguing. The writing kept me engaged and I did not want to put the book down. I read looking forward to knowing what was happening. Pieces started falling into place and another level of intrigue was put in place. We have two worlds. One is the human world - dangerous of its own doing. The other is where we find the "Carnival of Souls" and it is brutal. But also an interesting representation of how our own society is with regards to social status. Mallory has no idea she belongs to the other world. Her father, Adam, has been keeping her safe and on the run for 17 years. However, she misses her mother. Aya is strong and working hard to hide her true nature. She's powerful, but not completely heartless. Kaden, Zevi, and Belias are the cool guys. Powerful in their own ways. Big hearts too. If this were made into a movie or TV show it would be at least PG-13 due to violence. Language is fine. Some innuendo. Melissa Marr paints detailed pictures of the settings she creates. I love her use of description. Her style wraps you in her words and pulls you forward until you are immersed in the world she creates. Sadly, her site notes no sequel at this time. I have some hope as there is a prequel novella, but not much. I really enjoyed reading this story and getting to know the characters. Will look forward to seeing them again at sometime, but won't be one of those people who hounds her for more. :) [Side note: I read this as the original Carnival of Souls. If there were changes made to the story before being republished as Untamed City: Carnival of Secrets, I am unaware of those.]
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Title speaks for itself
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clambakecat More than 1 year ago
great read been waiting forever for the new one in this series. not sure why they renamed it though made it hard to find
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Carnival Of Souls was an awesome book!!! So, I bought Carnival Of Secrets thinking it was the sequel and was totally excited that I didn't care that it was a Nook only book> Once I started reading I began to realize it was not the sequel, it was the SAME book!!! I thought it was very underhanded and sneaky of the publisher to change the name of a book no matter how good or bad it is!! I am so disappointed in HarperCollins Publisher that I may NEVER buy another book they release no matter who the Author is!!
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