Freeks was kind of a mixed bag for me but on balance I liked it. Carnivals and circuses are fabulous settings for an urban fantasy story and this one is no exception. In fact I thought Amanda Hocking did a good job here making it seem realistic- while it didn't get into the nitty gritty details it definitely felt like the carnival was a well realized setting. The book has a lot of atmosphere and I saw a review that mentioned an "eerie vibe" to this one- I think I agree with that.
Mara travels with the carnival because her mother is a performer, and the secret of the carnival is that almost everyone in the sideshow act is a paranormal. They're broke though so they accept a gig in a small town in Louisiana. Almost immediately the sensitives among the cast sense something odd about the town, and strange things start happening, not the least of which is a shadowy creature that starts targeting performers. Mara meets a guy named Gabe who seems to be more than he appears, and that is one of the mysteries of the book as well.
Let's talk about Mara and Gabe for a sec. A lot of the reviews on Goodreads talk about instalove, and on one hand I agree. I mean she meets him, is attracted, and it's not long before they're kissing. That's not love though, they're just hot for each other. Over the course of about a week though they develop feelings- is that instalove? I don't know, it seemed a little fast but not a dealbreaker. One word of warning though- this is a YA book and there is a sex scene, it's not graphic but it's also crystal clear what they're doing. So heads up.
I thought most of the supporting cast were good. Roxie is a lot of fun, she's a pyrokinetic and like I said most of the sideshow people have unique abilities- the carnival is a refuge for people who don't fit in anywhere else. I liked the sense of camaraderie but I thought the town was pretty superficial- not a lot of development there. Gabe's family are prominent in the town (of course) and there may be more going on there too- there's nothing really new here but it is entertaining and kept me turning pages.
So if you like carnivals or a circus mixed in with supernatural this may be your jam. It's YA so it focuses a lot on the teen romance but there's an edge to it too, and the writing is good but not amazing. It feels a bit average but again if the premise sounds good it might be a great one.
Great review! I've heard about this book a bit but haven't seen many reviews on it! It sounds really fascinating though, I'll have to keep an eye out for it!ReplyDelete
Thank you! It's not bad!Delete
Brilliant review :) I felt almost exactly the same as you did. Hocking's writing, I find, is always average, never amazing. But the atmosphere was excellent, and it was always entertaining.ReplyDelete
Amy @ A Magical World Of Words
Yeah, it did have good atmosphere. I thought she did a good job with the carnival aspects.Delete
Your review pretty much summarized exactly what I felt like I'd end up thinking if I were to read this. I've read the blurb and it's tempting because of the carnival aspect, but it seems like it'd be too teen romance-y for me and just kind of average, at least in terms of my taste. But I'm sure it's something other people might enjoy. And idk, a week is still instalove to me if they were actually using the word love.ReplyDelete
I thought the carnival aspects were done well, I mean it felt like she ws there doing carnival stuff, you know? so that was a strength. But yeah it wasn't mindblowing. The week part was problematic because at the end of the week they were all ready to go on together and it seemed kinda fast.Delete
I find carnival/circus settings for Paranormal hideouts works pretty well. I've read a few books that used that and enjoyed them. I'll be adding this to my list - great review Greg!ReplyDelete
Good, I hope you enjoy if you read it. I did think the carnival atmosphere was done really well.Delete
The carnival setting would be the draw for me here for sure. I do like YA romances too but I am just not sure for some reason. It seems like it cold go either way. Great review!ReplyDelete
The carnival aspect, frankly, was the best part for me. the carnival being a refuge for the outcasts- I liked that, and she seemed to draw the various people well.Delete
I liked the sound of this book until it started talking about the teen romance element. No thanks! I won't be reading this one. Great review though.ReplyDelete
It was a bit romancey, you know in that teen angst kinda way. It's YA though so yeah. :)Delete
I received this in a monthly subscription box and do plan on reading it some time. I really like the carnival setting and hope I can look past some of the insta-love stuff. Sounds like you enjoyed it!ReplyDelete
I hope you like it. I thought it FELT like a carnival, you know, where some books like this dont.Delete
This is a new title to me but I do find the Carnival/Circus setting with a Supernatural aspect appealing! I'm a sucker for atmosphere too! Too bad you didn't love this one completely but I'm still willing to give it a chance :) GREAT review!ReplyDelete
Carnival plus paranormal= win! It's kind of average but it's good too, if that makes sense. Certainly not a bad read and I think you might like it. Oodles of atmosphere!Delete
I love circuses with supernatural or paranormal elements, but honestly this one sounds a little *too* YA for me. There are just so many great books out there, I don't know if I'm down to read one that people feel is a bit average, you know?ReplyDelete
I do really want to check out Menagerie by Rachel Vincent though, which is an adult paranormal set in a circus. That one looks super promising!
It's a little YA but not mindblowing either. A good library pick? The best part is definitely the carnival aspect- that felt real. I do think Menagerie has a more adult take though and I'm super curious about that one too!Delete
This sounds interesting, Greg, and usually I'm eager to dive into novels like these, but I admit I'm hesitating with this one. Maybe it's the YA aspect--although I do enjoy YA paranormal novels. Hmm. One to think about.ReplyDelete
hmm... the strong YA romance has me a bit leery.ReplyDelete
Fantastic review, Greg!! I'm totally with you on the insta-love thing. I mean, aren't all teenagers in love as soon as they meet??? What's the big deal, anyways? I have no problem with it *shrugs*ReplyDelete
I like Roxie and the other supporting characters, too!! But yeah, this was kind of a mediocre book, imho.
I wish I had enjoyed this more. I loved the circus aspect and wish we could have gotten a deeper look into life with the crew. I did not expect such a heavy romantic element either!ReplyDelete
~Mogsy @ BiblioSanctum
I still haven't read from this author but this book sounds interesting. I like the carnival setting but not sure about the focus on the teen romance. Great review and I might read this one =)ReplyDelete
You know... I don't think that this sounds like insta love... I could get behind that. When you're a YA things happen pretty quickly and you seem to fell in fast forward anyway (not just love/lust, but many things!) and a week is a reasonable time to develop feelings in my opinion.ReplyDelete
I love the sound of the abilities and the carnival scene in general so I'm willing to give this one a try.
Great review and thanks Greg!
I am kinda curious about this one after seeing a good review for it on another blog. The carnival setting sounds fun and that's nice it felt realistic. And I like the sound of there being a bit of a mystery too. I don't mind if a romance develops a bit quickly, as long as it makes sense. And it sounds like here they still spend time together before they fall in love. Great review!ReplyDelete
Nothing about this book seems to grab me. It was on Netgalley and the cover instantly pulled me in, but after I read the summary I didn't request it. I'm with you I don't consider kissing insta-love. At least they had the "decency" to not make the sex scene graphic. Ha ha. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. :)ReplyDelete
I love carnival settings, so I'm looking forward to it. Hoping when I get a copy of it that it will grab me as much as her Trylle series did. Great review!ReplyDelete