Carnival of Souls by Melissa Marr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a little like Daughter of Smoke and Bone in tone: a girl raised away from her family, given training and a set of rules to live by, and moving every so often. Here in the human world, Mallory and her adopted(?) father, Adam, a witch, train with guns and other fighting methods as he teaches her to hate and fear the daimon world. Back in the daimon world, Aya fights in battles to the death in order to gain entry into the ruling circle (she's already reneged on her engagement to Belias). And then there's Kaleb, a "cur" who's also part of the fight competition but who travels to the human world and befriends Mallory.
Whose allegiance is to whom? What secrets do Adam, Aya and Kaleb conceal? Can witch and daimon live together in peace, and should they? Of course none of these (and other) questions is going to be answered in this book, there's at least one more on the way.
The daimon world and caste structure was a little difficult to understand, and readers will need to persevere to get a full grasp of that world; the human world is a little easier, as it seems to be very similar to ours with the addition of witches (it's a little unclear how accepted witches are by the humans, but it's also not important... yet). The fighting rings and Carnival of Souls are the most realized locations, and where we spend the most time. The various vows and allegiances are also a little complicated to follow, but I'm sure that will be clarified in the next book.
ARC provided by publisher.