Freeks by Amanda Hocking
Published by St. Martin’s Griffin on January 3, 2017
Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Fantasy, Romance
Pages: 400 Format: ARC Source: Giveaway
Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act…
Mara has always longed for a normal life in a normal town where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future. Instead, she roams from place to place, cleaning the tiger cage while her friends perform supernatural feats every night.
When the struggling sideshow is miraculously offered the money they need if they set up camp in Caudry, Louisiana, Mara meets local-boy Gabe…and a normal life has never been more appealing.
But before long, performers begin disappearing and bodes are found mauled by an invisible beast. Mara realizes that there’s a sinister presence lurking in the town with its sights set on getting rid of the sideshow freeks. In order to unravel the truth before the attacker kills everyone Mara holds dear, she has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she was capable of—one that could change her future forever.
Freeks by Amanda Hocking brings us the story of Mara and her life in a traveling sideshow. The town of Caudry offers money for the struggling group but also threatens to tear them apart and a local may steal Mara’s heart. Look, I clearly have a thing for books with circus settings so I knew I had to pick this up and thanks to a Goodreads giveaway, I got to read it a bit earlier than expected.
While I liked the traveling sideshow aspect of this story I thought the best part of this book was Mara and Gabe. The two of them are kindred spirits and the attraction between them was uncanny. Both are dealing with family issues and being stuck in a life that they didn’t ask for. Seeking out normalcy is what brings Mara and Gabe together and while they are hesitant to open themselves up fully, a bond has already been formed.
Mara’s inner conflict to me was the driving force of this story. She would love a normal life but also cannot begin to imagine herself outside the sideshow. These people are her family and money is also a real concern. Her attraction to Gabe makes all of this more difficult as Mara thinks of a possible future she may never get to have. The vicious attacks to the workers are intense to start but it doesn’t really do much for the plot and the shock value was lost early on.
I did have a couple issues with this story though. For a fantasy, it didn’t really delve into the powers of the characters. In fact, it was definitely more tell than show. I would have like to see more of the circus and how the various acts performed but I got a lot more romance than what I’d expected. I also felt the conclusion of this book was ridiculously rushed and a lot of details were just glossed over to get to the ending.
Overall I did enjoy Freeks by Amanda Hocking but it was lacking in some areas. The characters were interesting enough and I really liked the romance aspects. I just wish it had more circus and magic action going on. I don’t think this is a book for everyone but if you like this type of setting and romance you’re definitely going to enjoy this one very much.
So has Freeks piqued your interest? Do you enjoy books set at a circus? Got any good recommendations for me? Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below!