Carnival of Souls


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
            buy why
            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. 


Share |

48 comments:

  1. You are a genuine wordsmith. I really enjoyed the way you treated this book and the artwork, too. I can see why you would not focus on that phrase as your art inspiration. It truly is disgusting, especially taken out of context.

    You don't have a dumb phone. Your phone takes better photos than my even dumber camera!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well thank you, B & E. I'm glad you enjoyed the review. The book is a strong introduction to a new series. Melissa Marr can create a world and slam us there--okay, at least me. You are right about the phrase, it's ugly particularly when read out of context, and if you ever get to read the book you'll see that it is quite atrocious (on a whole new level) in context, too. The traditions of this world are scary to say the least.

      P.S. My phone is very grateful lol

      Delete
  2. Haha...took me a sec to see Poe peeking out from under there!

    Great bird, Magaly!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same here, so now I don't feel too bad ;-)

      Delete
  3. Nice bird...I joined Lovemagiccrow yesterday :)
    I didn't read the book, so have nothing to say :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Magic Love Crow is one of my favorite blogs. I fell in love with Stacy's work a couple of years ago, and since then we've become friends and (methinks) both our arts has grown. I can't wait to see where she goes, for I know we'll be following that path hand in hand ;-)

      Delete
    2. ;o))) You are too sweet!

      Delete
  4. Woo! Look at you just "drawing" with a crayon :D...this little group is definitely encouraging the part of your soul that wants to draw :D...and the uncanniness of Poe, I am seeing ravens plucking clotted hearts from desperate souls. What images your words paint too :D XXX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad I wasn't intimidated by all the amazing colors you guys share, for the process of creating an image to show something is refreshing in a total new way. I'm okay not being great at it, it is just fun for me, and that is great.

      Now I want to write about "ravens plucking clotted hearts form desperate souls? :-D

      Delete
  5. Best book review ever! My tastes run more to historical non-fiction, I'm sorry to say Magaly, but I swear if I was to develop a craving your writing style would certainly lead me to this book. However it is actually your writing that I love!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No apologies needed, I feel the same about most nonfiction, but when I read your writing I gobble it up like dessert.

      Delete
  6. Some people just do magic with words. Don't waorry about your art. I think it looks great and with practise it can only get better! ♥
    I'm not sure if I can like this book after your quote... I does hurt a little or is it meant that we are better? You see, I would love the book that way! ;)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Practice, practice, practice, right? The book is, well... different. The customs are a bit shocking (the things people have to do to get married had me bug-eyed), but the rest was good enough that I continued reading. Or maybe is the fact that I like Melissa Marr's writing ;-)

      Delete
  7. I think I live in a vacuum! Your drawing of the bird is very good but I do not think I would like to read this book. Your review of it was very interesting but it would just upset me.

    Janet xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree. A few times a year, I pick books from someone else's shelf, and I'm always surprised about how long it takes me to read the kind of books that don't go with my style, but I finish them anyway. Every now and then, I find a treasure...

      Delete
  8. This book sounds right up my street, I will have to investigate .... and I love your drawing

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The fighting is awesome, the magic is totally weird, and the people are fascinating. You might through some punches while reading, but they are worth it ;-)

      Delete
  9. Love your bird Magaly ;o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Well, thank you. I'm sure he would love you, too. Yes, he's a boy lol

      Delete
  10. I really love your writing style, you had me captured there. And how great to see what you doodled as a result of it. I could easily see your art, the bird looks great over the words. I might do that in one of my books. I am also sending you a massive hug because I felt so sad yesterday reading your comment on my post. I really know what you feel there so I am with you. ManonX

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, I think I'll start practicing focusing on a specific style, maybe that will help me a little--I want to join a scrapbook project, to make one for my little brother's daughter, and I would love to be able to add some drawing.

      Sorry the comment made you sad...

      Delete
  11. There seem to be quite a lot of magic-based books in the reviews. I enjoy the reviews and admire how and what the reviewers say, but I do avoid magic and unpleasantness at this end of my life (very wimpy of me, I know, but that's how it goes).
    I do like to think of you in the waiting room drawing on the book, and perhaps people were eyeing you up and wondering what you were doing! The bird on the poem is a good idea, and I think it's a great piece of artwork.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand the need to "avoid unpleasantness," Jez. But what makes this book horrible has little to do with magic, and all with traditions when it comes to marriage, governmental secrecy, and people being generally nasty to each other.

      Magic, like any other topic in the arts, has its ugliness, but there is much beauty as well. A Modern Witch Series by Debora Geary (I reviewed one of the books for my Feb entry) is all about family, acceptance, sharing, the importance of embracing our differences... there is no blood, gore, or killing, just a community working together to make each other and everything around them better.

      What you suggested is one of the reasons why I write Pagan Culture: to show what real Witches (and sometimes fictional witches) do; all of it, not just the magic, or the ugly, or the pretty, but to show and discuss the magical life in its entirety. For I believe that once people see things for what they are, they might realize that there are indeed some unpleasantness in the magic circle, but that it doesn't look any different from the rest of the world's. And the same goes for all the beauty ;-)

      Delete
  12. Great review, intriguing. I love that you felt inspired while out and about, and by something not immediately connected to the book. many books contain horrible imagery, and while its sometimes hard to read and provokes intense feelings it serves to remind us of the good things in life and the bits we should cherish.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are absolutely right about the importance of exploring literary imagery, even the ugly ones--perhaps, the especially the ugly ones. I've been thinking about that line a lot, I might have to do something with it ;-)

      Delete
  13. I LOVE Melissa Marr! I'm trying to get back into reading, having both the kids all the time cut into it. But my son now goes to his dad's so I'm starting to read more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I couldn't read for at least a few minutes a day, I would lose my mind. When life gets on the way of living, I get audio books. Listen to them while doing chores, while driving, while working out...

      Delete
  14. I always look forward to coming here and reading your review each month. They are always so interesting and an art in their own right. I so agree about not using the first line in your post as inspiration for you art, some words tend to evoke feeling that are uncomfortable to work with. Love your bird.
    Great review as always.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. And I love having you. Sometimes a few intense words make good inspiration, but there are times when what they inspired is too disturbing--and for someone who writes dark fiction, that's a lot to say.

      Delete
  15. I haven't ever come across a book that makes me feel this way, you have rally got me thinking now! Wonderful review and fabulous art.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Good review and how wonderful to be inspired enough to pick up a pencil and sketch right away. Brilliant.
    Jen x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you enjoyed, Jen. The book was powerful, particularly the visual image.

      Delete
  17. I love serendipitous moments, when things just happen and it's exactly what you needed or wanted. Loved the artwork. Will have to look for the book, though, as I hadn't heard of it. Thanks for sharing. Michelle V.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are right, the best things are those that just happened and we discover how important they are as we go ;-)

      Delete
  18. PS. Agree. The opening line is revolting.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Sounds intriguing and interesting Magaly... wonderful review... your words are poetic... and love the bird...

    Jenny ♥

    ReplyDelete
  20. Great review, I think I'd really like this book. I love your artwork and that you followed your urge to draw it where you were waiting x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sometimes kids crayons are just too alluring *grin*

      Delete
  21. Thank you for an honest review...still deciding whether or not the book would suit me as I've only recently started reading fantasy again..
    Love the art work too.
    Hugs xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If you just started fantasy again, this might not be the best. If isn't a pretty book, I'm hoping the series gets better--I have a strong feeling it will. What kind of fantasy you like? Dark? Unicorns and rainbows?

      Delete
  22. Love the artwork ... Ad love the way you got inspired by something off centre!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are too sweet, Ms cuddles. I've kind of fallen in love with the bird ;-)

      Delete
  23. Oh I am really enjoying going through all the reviews. this sounds a fearse book I liked the review and your bird is cool Dxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm excited about this month's reviews. Last month seemed to be not so interesting or likely for most readers. Let's see what comes next1

      Delete