Format: E-Galley, 400 pages
Release Date: January 3, 2017
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Genre: YA, Fantasy
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 bodies 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 author Amanda Hocking, is a standalone novel narrated by 18-year old Mara Beznik. Freeks takes place over 10 days in the year 1987. Mara is a member of Gideon Davorin's Traveling Sideshow heading for Caudry, Louisiana where they will spend the next 10 days entertaining the citizens. It’s a good thing too because they are in dire need of an influx of money to get them to their next destination, and keep the troupe together.
Mara is a carnie who helps out where and when she is needed. Unlike the rest of the members of the sideshow, Mara is considered to be a normal. She has no known special abilities unlike the rest of the performers who have a variety of paranormal abilities, including her own mother who is a Fortune Teller/Mystic & able to speak with the deceased. Upon arrival in Caudry, Mara finds herself encountering a guy named Gabe Alvarado. Gabe invites her to a party where she also meets Gabe's sister Selena.
Mara and Gabe's encounter can be found under the dictionary meaning for insta-lust. There's no other way to explain the immediate connection the two have. If you are a fan of insta-lusts, then this story is for you. Mara is embarrassed to have Gabe learn that she is a so called Freek as some are calling the troupe. So much so that she goes to great lengths not to let him find out until its too late to do anything about it. But, as the two become closer, it becomes harder for Mara to keep her secret.
That's not all there is to the story or this would be a very short review indeed. There is something very disturbing
about Caudry and its residents. And, that becomes even more apparent after performers are attacked by something dark and nasty and one in particular goes missing. As the group starts searching for answers, and the danger becomes all that more real, that's when an important revelation is thrown out to the readers about Mara. You have to believe that it makes sense.
There are those who will ask, well, why didn't these folks have computers? Or, why didn't these folks carry cell phones? Why'd they wait so long to dig into things Lyanka should have known? Let me toss out some knowledge to you my young padawans. Cell phones in the 80's were chunky things that weren't exactly convenient to carry around with you at all times. Plus, there wasn't the coverage that cell phones today have. Also, a majority of people had landlines rather than cell phones.
The Internet itself wasn't accessible to most people until the late 1980's & early 1990's. See, back in the day, we actually WROTE letters to each other with envelopes and stamps and pens and paper. We didn't have easy access at our finger tips like we do today. Thus, why I believe Hocking does a good job portraying a group of people stuck in the late 80's, and not in the 21's century. Had she wrote this story about today's world, things would have been much, much different.
As with other books I have read by Hocking, the ending to this story left me with questions. But, I will say that traveling shows have always fascinated me, and she does a really good job with the secondary characters from Roxie, to Seth, and especially Gideon the leader of the troupe.