“It wasn’t a woman’s place to be an equal.”
Melissa Marr’s Carnival of Souls presents a world where women are property, witches are ruthless, daimons are bloodthirsty, and humans are absolutely clueless.
The City is a fascinating place full of criminals—poor and rich alike. There are tournaments fought to the death, there is selling of goods and flesh, music, thieving… In its own way, the daimon metropolis is as wild as the Untamed Lands that surround its limits.
If The Hunger Games mated with A Game of Thrones, their offspring might look like a Carnival of Souls. The following quote, from the novel’s blurb, shows exactly what I mean:
“In a city of daimons, the Carnival of Souls hosts a deadly competition. Once in a generation, every citizen can fight to join the ruling elite. Without the competition, Aya and Kaleb would both face bleak futures—if for different reasons. For each of them, fighting to the death is the only way to try to live.”
I enjoyed the book, and was intrigued by daimon and witch cultures. I’m excited about the sequel, and thank goodness there is one, for I felt that the novel didn’t really begin until the end.
I took this picture with my dumb phone, so I hope it doesn’t hurt your eyes. Now, a bit about the bird: I was supposed to draw black birds coming out of a woman’s mouth and turning into ashes, which would reflect one of the most intriguing bits of imagery in the book. However, while I was standing in a waiting room, browsing through an old copy of The Norton Introduction to Literature, my eyes landed on a box of green and black coloring pencils that sat on a coffee table. I felt the urge to start doodling on top of “Irapuato” by Earle Birney.
After I was done, I wondered why the poem made me think of birds and of Carnival of Souls. Was it the uncanniness of the last seven lines?
So any farmer can see how the strawberries
are the biggest and the reddest
in the whole damn continent
when arranged under
the market flies
do they look like small clotting hearts?
Those lines did remind me of the brutality that goes on in The City, but for some reason my brain doubted that they were what inspired my weird bird. Then I read the title of the poem below and shook my head. Yep, I can be that slow, and Poe can be that enthralling.
By the way, the first line of this post is a quote from Carnival of Souls. I thought about focusing on it, instead of the birds, for The Artful Readers Club March entry, but I was so disgusted by what the words imply that I changed my mind.