**A copy of The Carnival of Ash was sent to me for free in exchange for an honest review. Thanks to The Write Reads Tours for having me on this tour.**
An extravagant, lyrical fantasy about a city of poets and librarians. A city that never was.
Cadenza is the City of Words, a city run by poets, its skyline dominated by the steepled towers of its libraries, its heart beating to the stamp and thrum of the printing presses in the Printing Quarter.
Carlo Mazzoni, a young wordsmith arrives at the city gates intent on making his name as the bells ring out with the news of the death of the city’s poet-leader. Instead, he finds himself embroiled with the intrigues of a city in turmoil, the looming prospect of war with their rival Venice ever-present. A war that threatens not only to destroy Cadenza but remove it from history altogether…
The City of Words, Cadenza, is overrun with poets that feast on every written word and can craft them to destroy lives, should they wish to. If your work is poor, you have no hope of survival in this city.
Upon first impression, you could mistake this for a romantic tale that will sweep you away with lyrical phrasing. However, this will not leave your heart fluttering from the warmth it provides – it’ll leave you unsettled and feeling borderline rebellious. Political unrest is the main topic in this book and the issues that stem from that turn this novel into a grisly tale.
There are plenty of twists and turns to keep you invested in the story. It’s so beautifully and lyrically written, and is actually split into twelve canto’s* that each focuses on a different character. I won’t introduce them to you now as I feel this would take away from the excitement of finding out about each of them for the first time. But I will say that I enjoyed reading each of their perspectives on the somewhat dire political situation. They’re all very different, and it’s very easy to dislike a few of them.
If you’re not comfortable reading about gruesome scenes of torture and murder, this is likely not a book you should read. They are fairly graphic scenes, and should not be taken lightly. Only strong stomachs are advised for this one!
It was easy to be swept into the drama of Cadenza’s streets, and even though it could be disturbing at times, it was an enjoyable read. For this reason, I rate this 4/5 stars. I felt the pacing was quite slow which made me lose interest at times.
*More information on what a Canto is from the Poetry Foundation website: A long subsection of an epic or long narrative poem, such as Dante Alighieri’s Commedia (The Divine Comedy), first employed in English by Edmund Spenser in The Faerie Queene.
You can purchase a copy of ‘The Carnival of Ash on Amazon.