Genres: paranormal, suspense, young adult
Publisher: St Martin's Griffin
Publication Date: January 3rd, 2017
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In a world of magical visions and pyrokinesis, Mara just wants to have a normal life. But is that possible?
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.
Amanda Hocking’s Freeks was a good read. I like books about circuses, carnivals and freak shows. (unless they have scary clowns. Then nope.) The fact that it’s set in the 80’s was a bonus as that sets it aside from other books in the same category.
Mara is a character that I liked quite quickly. She didn’t do anything ridiculous and stupid, but managed to still be a teenager trying to find her place in a world that doesn’t necessarily want her or her kin folk. She has a wanderlust to her that appeals, and yet the fact that she longs for an actual home is poignant as well.
The paranormal subplot of Freeks is handled quite well. Nothing overt or flashy, but enough that Gideon’s carnival has a lovely magical element to it that was so prevalent in carnivals and side shows. Magical tricks that could be performed almost as well by highly-skilled non magical-powers-possessing magicians. Hocking evidently did her research as the acts described through the book work seamlessly.
The other subplot – that something dark and ominous is surrounding the carnival workers – specifically those who have magic powers, is really well done and it’s quite an interesting reveal of just who that is and why they are specifically targeting the carnival. I was able to work out part of it, but the other part was a bit of a surprise.
I really enjoyed the magic in this books. It was obviously well-researched and felt very realistic. Not all flash and bang (which I have nothing against – I love fantasy), which wouldn’t have worked with the story at all.
If you are after a nice, uncomplicated story set in a carnival, then I would recommend this to you.