Published by Pan on February 9th 2017
Genres: Paranormal, Young Adult
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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.
Mara and her mother are part of a travelling side show, along with others with supernatural abilities. Mara herself does not have any powers, apart from the odd gut feeling, but her mom is a necromancer – able to speak with the dead. When they set up in the town of Caudry in March 1987, a strange energy starts interfering with their powers, and there’s something lurking in the shadows.
Freeks is set in the same world as Amanda Hocking’s previous Trylle series. I haven’t read any of that series, but I didn’t feel like I was missing anything in the stand-alone Freeks.
Mara and her mother travel with a group of people with various other paranormal abilties – pyromancy (the ability to create fire), super strength and levitation, among others. I loved the family dynamic within the sideshow – even with all their diverse backgrounds and abilities, they look after each other.
Shortly after arriving in Caudry, Mara meets Gabe and his sister and friends. Sadly, this is where the insta-love comes in. I’m not usually a fan of fast-paced relationships, but in this case it allowed more time for story-based action. Gabe was worryingly perfect to me. I kept expecting him to end up being bad, but he was just… lovely. I know, I shouldn’t complain about nice, honourable guys, but they’re just not as interesting to read about! Am I wrong?
The town of Caudry itself was the best part of this book. It was certainly creepy, with its misty forests and swamps, and all the references to 1980s music, films and tv shows helped to set the mood.
So, if you’ve been listening to our podcast you’ll know that I’ve been watching a lot of Supernatural lately (not at all sorry). One thing I found disappointing with Freeks was that it felt a lot like your standard monster-of-the-week SPN episode. Yes, it was written well, fairly compelling, certainly creepy, but ultimately the story fell short of my expectations.
If you enjoyed the Trylle series then you’ll most likely enjoy this stand-alone story as well. Otherwise, you might prefer to be addicted to Supernatural with me.
I received a copy of this book as part of a blog tour for Pan Macmillan Australia. Thanks!