Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Book Review: Freeks by Amanda Hocking

Freeks by Amanda Hocking
Mara has become used to the extraordinary. Roaming from place to place with Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival, she longs for an ordinary life where no one has the ability to levitate or predict the future.

She gets her chance when the struggling sideshow sets up camp in the small town of Caudry, and she meets a gorgeous local guy named Gabe. But before long, Mara realizes there’s a dark presence lurking in the town that’s threatening the lives of her friends. She has seven days to take control of a power she didn’t know she had in order to save everyone she cares about―and change the future forever.

My Review:
Mara and her mother arrive in Caudry, Louisiana with their caravan of sideshow freaks in dire straights. The carnival is flat broke and a good turn out in Caudry is their only hope. But they're not just any carnival or any sideshow, no, Gideon Davorin's Traveling Carnival is a safe haven for people with supernatural abilities.

On Mara's first night in Caudry, she meets a handsome townie, Gabe, but she senses there's something dangerous about him. That doesn't stop her from enjoying his company and getting closer to him over the next few days.

Meanwhile, it quickly becomes clear that there is something wrong with Caudry. Within days of arriving the supernatural members of the carnival begin noticing a change in their powers, one of their own goes missing, several of their well-practiced acts go awry, and something stalks them at night.

What is the real reason the carnival was lured to Caudry? What is waiting in the darkness, waiting poised for the right moment to attack? An animal? Or something more sinister? As more of Mara's friends come under attack she may have to step into her mother's clairvoyant footsteps if they have any chance of defeating their invisible assailant. But what is at the heart of the mysterious attacks? And what secrets is Gabe hiding? Could they be tied to the nightly beastly visits?

I enjoyed reading Freeks, filled with paranormal beings, romance, mystery, and a touch of folklore. Mara was a strong character just looking to be accepted after a lifetime of being judged a "freak" and Gabe was a sexy, sometimes too intense (in my opinion) love interest for Mara - but considering the book encompassed a 10-day long span their romance had to develop quickly to fit in with the story.

Three things didn't make sense for me:
      1. Why is the book set in 1987? There was no clear reason for it to be set then and I fear for a YA audience some of the 80s references might not be understood.
       2. The part of the blurb that says: 'She has seven days to take control over a power she didn't know she had in order to save everyone she cares about'  - I felt was misleading because the power she has is sort of hinted at but not really confirmed until the last 40-50 pages and even then it isn't really her power that she uses in the end. So really Mara is still pretty much a normal girl in a paranormal world.
       3. Some of what I assume were 'big surprise' plot twists I could spot a mile away, but that could just be me.

Overall, I really liked Freeks, I found the plotline and story unique and engaging and I loved all of the characters - they all shine and make the book work as a whole. It comes down to this:
    1. Would I reread this or recommend it to a friend? Yes!
    2. If for some reason the author expanded on this world and made it into a series, would I read the next book? Probably.
    3. Did I enjoy the author's writing enough to try some of her other books? Definitely!
    4. Was this book everything I expected it to be? Yes and no, but it was still a really good read.

My Rating:

4.25 of 5 Stars

Freeks is available today, Tuesday, January 3, 2017, from St. Martin's Griffin. Grab a copy today:
Amazon | Barnes and Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Book Depository | IndieBound | Google Play Books | Add to Goodreads

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