Step into a wondrously strange new world with this dazzling new standalone novel by Amanda Hocking, New York Times bestselling author of The Kanin Chronicles!
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 aboutand change the future forever.
In the pages of Freeks, Amanda Hocking once again proves her ability to create amazing characters and enchanting worlds that will capture your imagination and never let go.
|Publisher:||St. Martin's Press|
|Product dimensions:||8.30(w) x 5.50(h) x 1.40(d)|
|Age Range:||12 - 17 Years|
About the Author
AMANDA HOCKING is the author of the New York Times bestselling Trylle trilogy, the Kanin Chronicles, the Watersong series, and six additional self-published novels. She made international headlines by selling more than a million copies of her self-published books, primarily in e-book format. She lives in Minnesota, where she's at work on her next book.
Read an Excerpt
By Amanda Hocking
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2016 Amanda Hocking
All rights reserved.
My feet rested against the dashboard of the Winnebago as we lumbered down the road, the second vehicle in a small caravan of beat-up trailers and motorhomes.
The sun hadn't completely risen yet, but it was light enough that I could see outside. Not that there was much to see. The bridge stretched on for miles across Lake Tristeaux, and I could see nothing but the water around us, looking gray in the early morning light.
The AC had gone out sometime in Texas, and we wouldn't have the money to fix it until after this stint in Caudry, if we were lucky. I'd cracked the window, and despite the chill, the air felt thick with humidity. That's why I never liked traveling to the southeastern part of the country — too humid and too many bugs.
But we took the work that we got, and after a long dry spell waiting in Oklahoma for something to come up, I was grateful for this. We all were. If we hadn't gotten the recommendation to Caudry, I'm not sure what we would've done, but we were spending our last dimes and nickels just to make it down here.
I stared ahead at Gideon's motorhome in front of us. The whole thing had been painted black with brightly colored designs swirling around it, meant to invoke images of mystery and magic. The name "Gideon Davorin's Traveling Sideshow" was painted across the back and both the sides. Once sparkles had outlined it, but they'd long since worn off.
My eyelids began to feel heavy, but I tried to ward off sleep. The radio in the car was playing old Pink Floyd songs that my mom hummed along to, and that wasn't helping anything.
"You can go lay down in the back," Mom suggested.
She did look awake, her dark gray eyes wide and a little frantic, and both her hands gripped the wheel. Rings made of painted gold and cheap stones adorned her fingers, glinting as the sun began to rise over the lake, and black vine tattoos wrapped around her hands and down her arms.
For a while, people had mistaken us for sisters since we looked so much alike. The rich caramel skin we both shared helped keep her looking young, but the strain of recent years had begun to wear on her, causing crow's-feet to sprout around her eyes and worried creases to deepen in her brow.
I'd been slouching low in the seat but I sat up straighter. "No, I'm okay."
"We're almost there. I'll be fine," she insisted.
"You say we're almost there, but it feels like we're driving across the Gulf of Mexico," I said, and she laughed. "We've probably reached the Atlantic by now."
She'd been driving the night shift, which was why I was hesitant to leave her. We normally would've switched spots about an hour or two ago, with me driving while she lay down. But since we were so close to our destination, she didn't see the point in it.
On the worn padded bench beside the dining table, Blossom Mandelbaum snored loudly, as if to remind us we both should be sleeping. I glanced back at her. Her head lay at a weird angle, propped up on a cushion, and her brown curls fell around her face.
Ordinarily, Blossom would be in the Airstream she shared with Carrie Lu, but since Carrie and the Strongman had started dating (and he had begun staying over in their trailer), Blossom had taken to crashing in our trailer sometimes to give them privacy.
It wasn't much of a bother when she slept here, and in fact, my mom kind of liked it. As one of the oldest members of the carnival — both in age and in the length of time she'd been working here — my mom had become a surrogate mother to many of the runaways and lost souls that found us.
Blossom was two years younger than me, on the run from a group home that didn't understand her or what she could do, and my mom had been more than happy to take her under her wing. The only downside was her snoring.
Well, that and the telekinesis.
"Mara," Mom said, her eyes on the rearview mirror. "She's doing it again."
"What?" I asked, but I'd already turned around to look back over the seat.
At first I didn't know what had caught my mom's eye, but then I saw it — the old toaster we'd left out on the counter was now floating in the air, hovering precariously above Blossom's head.
The ability to move things with her mind served Blossom well when she worked as the Magician's Assistant in Gideon's act, but it could be real problematic sometimes. She had this awful habit of unintentionally pulling things toward her when she was dreaming. At least a dozen times, she'd woken up to books and tapes dropping on her. Once my mom's favorite coffee mug had smacked her right in the head.
"Got it," I told my mom, and I unbuckled my seat belt and went over to get it.
The toaster floated in front of me, as if suspended by a string, and when I grabbed it, Blossom made a snorting sound and shifted in her sleep. I turned around with the toaster under my arm, and I looked in front of us just in time to see Gideon's trailer skid to the side of the road and nearly smash into the guardrail.
"Mom! Look out!" I shouted.
Mom slammed on the brakes, causing most of our possessions in the trailer to go hurtling to the floor, and I slammed into the seat in front of me before also falling to the floor. The toaster slipped from my grasp and clattered into the dashboard.
Fortunately, there was no oncoming traffic, but I could hear the sound of squealing tires and honking behind us as the rest of the caravan came to an abrupt stop.
"What happened?" Blossom asked, waking up in a daze from where she'd landed beneath the dining table.
"Mara!" Mom had already leapt from her seat and crouched in front of where I still lay on the worn carpet. "Are you okay?"
"Yeah, I'm fine," I assured her.
"What about you?" Mom reached out, brushing back Blossom's frizzy curls from her face. "Are you all right?"
Blossom nodded. "I think so."
"Good." That was all the reassurance my mom needed, and then she was on her feet and jumping out of the Winnebago. "Gideon!"
"What happened?" Blossom asked again, blinking the sleep out of her dark brown eyes.
"I don't know. Gideon slammed on his brakes for some reason." I stood up, moving much slower than my mother.
We had very narrowly avoided crashing into Gideon. He'd overcorrected and jerked to the other side of the road, so his motorhome was parked at an angle across both lanes of the highway.
"Is everyone okay?" Blossom had sat up, rubbing her head, and a dark splotch of a bruise was already forming on her forehead. That explained why she seemed even foggier than normal — she'd hit her head pretty good.
"I hope so. I'll go check it out," I said. "Stay here."
By the time I'd gotten out, Seth Holden had already gotten out of the motorhome behind us. Since he was the Strongman, he was usually the first to rush into an accident. He wanted to help if he could, and he usually could.
"Lyanka, I'm fine," Gideon was saying to my mother, his British accent sounding firm and annoyed.
"You are not fine, albi," Mom said, using a term of affection despite the irritation in her voice.
I rounded the back of his motorhome to find Gideon leaning against it with my mom hovering at his side. Seth reached them first, his T-shirt pulled taut against his muscular torso.
"What's going on? What happened?" Seth asked.
"Nothing. I just dozed off for a second." Gideon waved it off. "Go tell everyone I'm fine. I just need a second, and we'll be on our way again."
"Do you want me to drive for you?" Seth asked. "Carrie can handle the Airstream."
Gideon shook his head and stood up straighter. "I've got it. We're almost there."
"All right." Seth looked uncertainly at my mom, and she nodded at him. "I'll leave you in Lyanka's care and get everyone settled down."
As soon as Seth disappeared back around the motorhome, loudly announcing that everything was fine to everyone else, Gideon slumped against the trailer. His black hair had fallen over his forehead. The sleeves of his shirt were rolled up, revealing the thick black tattoos that covered both his arms.
"Gideon, what's really going on?" Mom demanded with a worried tremor.
He swallowed and rubbed his forehead. "I don't know."
Even though the sun was up now, the air seemed to have gotten chillier. I pulled my sweater tighter around me and walked closer to them. Gideon leaned forward, his head bowed down, and Mom rubbed his back.
"You didn't fall asleep, did you?" I asked.
Gideon lifted his eyes, looking as though he didn't know I was there. And guessing by how pained he was allowing himself to look, he probably hadn't. Gideon was only in his early thirties, but right now, he appeared much older than that.
That wasn't what scared me, though. It was how dark his blue eyes were. Normally, they were light, almost like the sky. But whenever he'd had a vision or some kind of premonition, his eyes turned so dark they were nearly black.
"It was a headache," Gideon said finally.
"There's something off here," Mom said. "I felt it as soon as we got on the bridge. I knew we should turn back, but I hoped that maybe I was imagining things. Now that I look at you, I know."
That explained that frantic look in her eyes I'd seen earlier in the Winnebago, and how alert she'd been even though she'd been awake and driving for nearly twenty hours straight. Mom didn't see things in the way Gideon did, but she had her own senses.
"It's fine, Lyanka," Gideon insisted. He straightened up again, and his eyes had begun to lighten. "It was only a migraine, but it passed. I am capable of having pain without supernatural reasons too."
Mom crossed her arms over her chest, and her lips were pressed into a thin line. "We should go back."
"We're almost there." Gideon gestured to the end of the road, and I looked ahead for the first time and realized that we could see land. The town was nestled right up to the lake, and we couldn't be more than ten minutes outside the city limits.
"We could still turn around," Mom suggested.
"We can't." He put his hands on her arms to ease her worries. "We don't have any money, love. The only way we can go is forward."
"Gideon." She sighed and stared up at the sky, the violet fabric of her dress billowing out around her as the wind blew over us, then she looked back at him. "Are you sure you're okay to drive?"
"Yes, I'm sure. Whatever pain I had, it's passed." He smiled to reassure her. "We should go before the others get restless."
She lowered her eyes, but when he leaned in to kiss her, she let him. She turned to go back to our motorhome, and as she walked past me, she muttered, "I knew we should never travel on Friday the thirteenth. No good ever comes of it."
I'd waited until she'd gone around the corner to turn back to Gideon, who attempted to give me the same reassuring smile he'd given my mom.
"We could go back," I said. "There's always a way. We've made it on less before."
"Not this time, darling." He shook his head. "And there's no reason to. Leonid assured me there'd be a big payday here, and I've got no reason to doubt him. We can make a go of it here."
"As long as you're sure we'll be okay."
"I haven't steered you all wrong yet." Gideon winked at me then, but he was telling the truth. In the ten years that my mom and I had been following him around the country, he'd always done the best he could by us.
I went back and got into the Winnebago with my mom and Blossom. Within a couple minutes, Gideon had straightened out his motorhome, and the caravan was heading back down the road. At the end of the bridge was a large sign that read WELCOME TO CAUDRY, POPULATION 13,665.
As soon as we crossed the line into town, the air seemed even colder than before. That's when I realized the chill wasn't coming from outside — it was coming from within me.CHAPTER 2
Pulling my denim jacket tighter around me, I wandered down the streets of Caudry. After spending the day setting up, I'd decided to go out on my own and explore the town for myself. Despite the initial dark premonitions, setup had been rather uneventful.
Camp had been set up on the edge of town, right along a thick forest that bled into the wetlands, behind the fairgrounds. If I ventured too far from the trailers in the wrong direction, the ground gave way to sticky mud hidden in tall grass. The trees around seemed to bend forward and lean down, as if their branches were reaching out for us. Long vines and Spanish moss grew over everything, and I swore I'd never seen a place so green before.
After the sun finally set and the heat of the day began to break, everyone settled in, happy to rest after many hours on the road. All of the base camp was set up, and we'd begun getting the carnival ready to open tomorrow afternoon.
Even though I hadn't gotten much sleep, I was too restless to just stay in the motorhome. I slid out quietly, moving between the trailers to avoid someone stopping me or asking to tag along. Living in the carnival like this meant I was almost never alone, and sometimes I just needed to get out by myself and clear my head.
I didn't have to walk that far until I'd made it into Caudry town proper, and it was just as green as the outskirts of town where we were camped. Buildings seemed prone to a mossy growth on their sides, and the streetlamps had orbs of light glowing around them, thanks to the humidity.
While the center of town appeared more like any of the other hundreds of towns I'd visited before — all bright and clean and shiny and new — the peripheral parts were like ghostly reminders of a long history. I stuck to the side streets, hiding away from the glossier parts of Caudry.
On a street called Joliet Avenue, I found an area that must have been glorious in its prime. Huge houses verging on mansions lined the streets, hidden behind willows and cypresses towering above them. The streets were cobblestone, but they had begun to wear and crack, with grass and weeds growing up between them.
As I walked down the street, I heard the faint sounds of a party several houses down. It was a strange juxtaposition of the fading gothic beauty of the neighborhood with the rock music — one of Bon Jovi's latest hits, "You Give Love a Bad Name" — and new cars parked in front of it.
A wrought-iron fence separated me from the party house. Large stone posts flanked either side of an open gate, and I paused at the end of the driveway. It curved in front of the house, and it was overflowing with parked cars, including a cherry red '86 Mustang that stood out sharply against the white mansion.
Every window in the house was on, making the house glimmer on the darkened street. At one time, it had probably been nestled on the edge of a plantation, but the town had grown up around it, burying it in suburban streets and overgrown trees.
White streamers were strung from the overhanging branches of the trees, making it seem as if the trees had extended their grasp, reaching closer to the ground to snatch anyone who got close.
The house loomed over the street, reminding me of a monster from a slasher flick, and neither the neon balloons attached to columns nor the brightly dressed partygoers could shake it.
It was a massive two-story white antebellum manor, with a balcony supported by thick columns. Some of the party guests had drifted out onto it, singing along to the music that blasted from the stereo.
Still standing on the cobblestones at the end of the driveway, I was near enough that I could see the people fairly well, dancing and laughing on the brightly lit balcony. A guy sat on the railing of the second-floor balcony, drinking from a red plastic cup.
With his back to the street, the popped collar of his silver blazer blocked his face. Slowly, he turned away from the party. His brown hair was pushed back, and he surveyed the parking lot that the front yard had become.
Then I felt his eyes settle on me. I was hidden in the shadows of the street, so he wouldn't be able to see me. Or at least he shouldn't have been able to. But there was something about his expression — the furrow of his brow, the shadow across his eyes — and I was certain that he was looking right at me.
I smiled at him and tried to quiet my heart hammering in my chest. There was nothing about this that should have my pulse racing so fast. But then he returned my smile.
A brand-new Mercedes squealed to a stop at the end of the driveway, and I took that as my cue to move on. The passengers tumbled out of their car, laughing loudly, and I stepped away from the driveway.
As the couple from the Mercedes walked toward the house, the guy stumbled, but his female companion held him up so he wouldn't fall. He wore dark sunglasses even though it was past ten at night and smiled at me as they approached.
Excerpted from Freeks by Amanda Hocking. Copyright © 2016 Amanda Hocking. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Table of Contents
7. Night Terror,
8. The Magician,
10. Rota Fortuna,
15. Blue Moon,
16. The Hermit,
17. Mad River,
20. The Fool,
30. The Hierophant,
33. Lusus Naturae,
39. The Hanged Man,
41. The Star,
42. The Lovers,
50. The Sun,
55. The Queen of Wands,
58. The Devil,
60. The World,
Also by Amanda Hocking,
About the Author,
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
I just couldn't put it down and it kept me guessing til the end. Although the ending seemed a bit rushed it left me wanting more . Another amazing read from Amanda!
***This ARC was received from St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review*** I have been looking forward to this book for a while and was so ecstatic that the publisher granted my wish for it! It certainly did not disappoint, I was hooked from the first page and had to force myself to put it down when I realized it was past my bedtime. Mara is a smart, strong girl who knows no other life than the road. She has a strange fascination with houses because of it. She takes a stroll around the new town they are performing in and finds not only a fabulous house but a delicious boy to boot. She tries to avoid telling she is with the circus because she is afraid he will react badly. He gets upset when he finds out, but not because of what she is but because she lied. Only to find out towards the end of the books that he kept something from her also. Gabe is beautiful, funny and respectful from the minute Mara meets him. He is fine with the fact that she is with the traveling carnival but not with the fact that it means she will be leaving soon. There is some sort of strange creature that is taking out members of the circus one by one but cannot be seen well enough to identify. Mara finds out that her mother and Gideon are equipped to hunt the creature but will need her help. She is willing to do anything she needs to, to help her family. She seems to be slowly coming into powers that she never thought she would actually get. I was stunned at the end to find out who was behind everything and that they knew about the creature the whole time and never said anything! And I am glad that Gabe stood up for himself in the end.
Amanda Hocking is an author name that I recognize from my bookshelf browsing, but not someone I'd previously read. Her books seem to target the YA audience, with relationships and the paranormal as motivation and environment for her books. Freeks takes place in the world of a carnival. Who doesn't like a carnival?! But in this supernatural romance, the side-show freaks really are who they represent - 'freaks' with supernatural abilities. And while the circus (Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival) itself has an aura of mysticism surrounding it, the town they've currently set up in - Caudry - has some secrets of its own that will shock even these carnival workers. Teen carnival employee Mara, who hasn't shown any special abilities, is with the carnival because of her mother - a psychic (who really is). The carny folks are her friends, but she has always felt like an outsider since she doesn't have any abilities of her own. In Caudry she meets local heart-throb Gabe - a good-looking guy who takes her breath away. She doesn't want to get involved since she knows she'll just be moving on to the next city anyway, but she can't resist this handsome hunk. They sleep together and make promises that they have every intention of keeping. But Gabe has a secret that is connected with Caudry's secret. When some of the carnival workers are attacked by a dark, furry creature, Gabe does everything he can to protect Mara - his true love. But Mara begins to discover her own unique power just at the right time. This was a quick read, and I tried to look at it from a YA perspective. It should definitely appeal to the young, likely female reader looking for a little supernatural escapism. There is the usual YA longing for romance that becomes requited (with a brief sexual encounter that is described in just enough detail to push this reading level up a notch), but in a YA twist, the parent(s) - usually heartless and an obstacle, are much more understanding here. The plot is, well, a bit thin. There are no surprises here, even though the reader is supposed to be surprised by a couple of revelations, it's painfully obvious what is going on to anyone who's read a book or two. I haven't read a lot of supernatural romance books, and fewer YA supernatural romances, but I enjoyed this quick read. I can see where it might be just the right work for the mature 'tween reader, though I would recommend it for most readers. Looking for a good book? Freeks is a YA supernatural romance/mystery by Amanda Hocking that moves along quickly and should appeal to younger readers. I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
I have read almost all of her books and I love her story telling skills. This books is interesting and fun. I loved the mix of the freak show and paranormal. I liked that this book was a stand alone but I would love to read another if she ever writes a sequel.
Really enjoyed it. Very happy to see and Indie writer make it and keep on creating great books!
<3 I loved this book
A generic werewolf story with an instant love trope!
Freeks had me hooked from the first sentence and I could not put this book down until I had captured every last word. I enjoyed reading about the supernatural carnies and the danger they face while visiting Caudry, LA. Hocking setting the story in 1987 only made me love this book even more. This book is unique, romantic, and mysterious. All aspects I crave in a good story.
Love all Amanda's books!
A traveling circus, the sideshows with performers, magic and romance, what more could I ask for in a novel? The possibilities were endless and the cover for me, sealed the deal. I imagined the thrill of arriving in a new town, setting up shop and entertaining the townsfolk that arrived each day and then moving on, just when the thrill of the lights and the music started to die down. They were a tight-knit family, these different household coming together, caring for one another, joined together to make a living in this chaotic lifestyle. Every one of them was unique, most of them gathered because of an unusual characteristic that they possessed. At this stage, they had exhausted their funds and needed cash to survive so they were headed to Caudry, where they were promised money but no money was worth what awaited them. The flow of this novel was fantastic, I breezed through it and I enjoyed Amanda Hocking’s writing style tremendously. I was concerned about the romance aspect of this novel but after reading it, I believe that the romance was warranted. I was worried that it would take centerstage and overpower the carnival aspect of the novel but it didn’t, I felt it added to it. It was a slow and spirited romance, it went along nicely with the novel. I liked how the characters handled themselves around each other. Being around each other continuously, there was a mutual respect and love for one another yet there were times when tension was in the air and some individuals were not acting their best, it is to be expected. They were family, in their own way. The town of Caudry was not just an ordinary town and as Gideon’s Traveling Sideshow soon starts to figure this out, the performers each have their own way of handling this. I would have liked to know more about each of the performers and it would have been nice to have them had more interaction with the main character. It wasn’t as intense of a read as I anticipated, gentle in nature, I think it lies between a middle school read and a YA read. 3.5 stars
I really enjoyed the characters and storyline. I think there has to be a sequel that shows the development if the main characters abilities and plot, but there is lots of room left for many books to come! A great exciting read with just enough omance to keep your heart on edge too!
Freeks was my very first Amanda Hocking book. I'm new to the fantasy genre, so I haven't read very many books outside of my little contemporary bubble the last few years. Recently, however, I've really come out of my shell and have been reading many books that I normally never would have even considered... and I'm really enjoying them! Mara's life has always been one with the circus. For as long as she can remember, she's been traveling with her mother and close family friends, all performers in Gideon Davorin's Traveling Sidehow. From town to town, they drive in their Winnebago, staying for short week-long periods of time at each place. Mara has always longed for a "normal" life, but she's never been so lucky. When money is tight, it means her and her mother must pick up and move on to another job. This time they end up in a small, slightly-strange town of Caudry, Louisiana. After Mara stumbles into a teenage house party her first night there and meets the rich and handsome Gabe, Mara starts thinking that maybe this trip won't be so bad. That is until she starts having feelings for him and realizes that eventually, in a matter of just a few days, she will be picking up and relocating once again. She never stays in one location long enough to form any real relationship or even a friendship. Her entire life is based about the performers and helpers that travel along with the sideshow. But when very strange things start happening in Caudry that end up turning extremely scary and hurtful, the group must decide if they can stick with it long enough to be paid for their work in Caudry, or if they must up and leave asap to escape danger. This read was a lot of fun to me!! I really enjoyed getting to know these performers and their unique talents throughout the story. I also liked Mara and felt bad for her, never getting to live a "normal" life, like she so desired. Gabe was a fun character as well, and I loved the interactions he and Mara had. At times they felt a bit insta-lovey, but never overly so. Freeks was a unique and entertaining read. Nothing really stood out as being exceptional, but it kept my attention nonetheless. I felt at times it did run a bit slow, and the anticipation for answers lasted until the very end, which wrapped up a bit too quickly for my liking. I suppose I would have liked answers a bit earlier-on in the story, rather than waiting until the last few chapters to explain everything in a short span of words. Overall, a great escape from the daily grind. I'm glad I took the time to read this story and dive into the world of these circus performers, even for just a short while.
I really liked this book a lot. Even though it does have a certain animal character that I think has been way overused. The author did a great job with it and doesn't make it the whole story. This is the second book this week that I've read about circuses and I've loved it. This one pretty strange as the performers were being mauled. They thought it was the tigers, so they took the tigers on to the next town. However, it kept happening. And that's all I'm going to say about that. There's also a love story going on with the daughter of the tarot card reader and a local townie. I really enjoyed reading this book and would like to thank St. Martin's Press for approving my request and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest review.
Freeks is another fabulous addition to Amanda Hocking's greatest hits! It's captivating and intriguing and all that you would expect from her: characters that are unique and colorful personalities and a story bursting with action and emotion. The year is 1987 and Gideon Davorin's Traveling Sideshow has just arrived in Caudry, Louisiana. There's a chill in the air as something dark stalks the performers. Mara, who has longed to settle down in one place and live a normal life, explores the town on the first night and meets Gabe, the epitome of teenage normalcy. Or so Mara thinks. He becomes integral to the story in a surprising manner as Mara and the other sideshow residents fight to protect each other from a mysterious dark force. The pacing of this novel is very steady, so the mystery isn't drawn out so long that you'll want to pull your hair out, but it reaches it's peak at the right moment. There's just the right balance of getting to know the characters and their backgrounds and seeing them interact throughout the course of solving whatever mystery looms before them. I wasn't expecting the novel to be set in the late 80's but it was an easy adjustment. Amanda writes with such clarity and detail that makes any setting believable and real to your mind. She has always been excellent at world building, a fact that can be attested to by her successful Trylle Trilogy, and she continues the trend in Freeks. By the end of the novel I was searching for any indication that there would be a series to follow, but I can understand if Freeks is left as a standalone. The final outcome remains and, as usual, readers will be left craving more Hocking! *ARC provided via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review* Originally posted on Lovey Dovey Books
I have to say that I'm very impressed with how this story turned out. I wasn't expecting it to be so interesting. The plot is a mixture of mystery, romance, fun and violence. And somehow that combination is what I like to see in my books. Yeah, I know. I'm weird... I've never read a book by this author and after reading this story, I think I'm going to enjoy reading her other books. Despite being YA (although some scenes were almost NA) this story would appeal also to more mature readers. Welcome to Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Sideshow, where necromancy, magical visions, and pyrokinesis are more than just part of the act… With this sentence the blurb sums up perfectly what you can expect from this story. Also the name of the story, Freeks, is quite accurate. But not only you get a story about people with special abilities, you also get a creature that will make your nightmares look like a joke. And what would a good story be without a murderous plot where the heroes have to fight for their lives, right? This story has it all. It's such a fantastic tempo and also great plot twists that make you want to read the story in one sitting. At least that's what happened to me. Mara and Gabe are at first sight you typical teenagers looking for a good time. But underneath, both hide some big secrets and both fear that that will come in between their new growing friendship. Add to that the mysterius attacks at the Traveling Sideshow and things get complicated real fast. Mara and Gabe's characters are obviously in the front of the story but I felt like all the characters got a good piece that told their story. You could fall in love with each character because you knew them so well. The same can be said about characters that make you dislike them. And there were a few of those. Just saying... I'm really happy I gave this story a chance. It's fun and entertainig till the end. Simply a great read!
In a place where mysterious powers and oddities claim the norm, the dark shadows and creepy moments unfold into an intriguing adventure which captivates until the last page. The traveling side-show is Mara's whole life, and although she sometimes dreams of a little more 'normality', her heart and soul belong to the freaks around her. When money forces the show to a small town, a strange, dark aura hangs over their heads. Strange beast attacks and missing performers are only the beginning of the sinister darkness the side-show must face. The cover and blurb draw attention and mark the atmosphere of the story. There's mystery, oddities, a lovely sprinkle of the unknown and a lingering darkness which hangs as a continual, light fog. Then, in complete contrast, there's the real world, and that adds a nice twist of familiarity and light. Mara is a teenage girl, and pretty normal in almost every way. She's hard working, caring, and protective while still being a little cautious and mistrusting. She loves her odd family, but still would like to fit in sometimes with regular teenagers-something which is hard for her to do. A steady pace holds from the beginning of the book to the end, marked not only with tense moments, mystery and danger, but also with a large variety of characters, which add extra spice at the right moments. Each personality has its own quirks, keeping the plot on its toes. There's a romance, which is a bit sudden and takes flight quick. The background surrounding this also adds a few layers, which are not only unexpected but almost weigh down with too many variables. The last chapters are chucked full of different angles, which follow logical order but stuff the plot box pretty full. The end wraps up everything nicely, leaving no loose strands, although it was a bit sudden as if something still should have come. Summed up, this is an enjoyable read with tons of delicious paranormal aspects and eerie dark shadows. I received a complimentary copy and found it creepy and delightful enough to want to leave my thoughts.
**4.5 Stars** Freeks by Amanda Hocking is a standalone YA novel filled with suspense, danger, and the allure of the supernatural. Against the backdrop of a mysterious small-town and a traveling carnival, Ms. Hocking invites readers to a strange and intriguing world where everyone is more than meets the eye. The story follows Mara Beznik and her friends and family of Gideon Davorin’s Traveling Carnival. Without any known supernatural powers like her mother or the other performers in Gideon's sideshow, Mara has spent her life traveling from town to town amongst the extraordinary. Longing for normalcy, Mara is excited for a taste when she meets a local, Gabe Alvarado. However, what seems like a regular stop in a new town for the carnival soon turns into anything but, especially when something not at all normal starts attacking the sideshow performers in the middle of the night. Caudry is hiding something dark and sinister, and Mara only has a week to figure out what and how to stop it. As I was reading Freeks, in my mind, I kept envisioning a mix of the tv shows Carnivale and Grimm, especially the latter once Mara finds out more about the power she didn't know she had and her family's legacy. I really enjoyed the paranormal mystery surrounding Caudry and the carnival, as well as, the building of suspense as the characters faced their unknown threat. Ms. Hocking does a wonderful job in her world-building and giving life to her characters. I liked Mara as a heroine. She was strong and relatable. I also loved the romance between her and Gabe. Furthermore, with an ensemble of more than ten characters, Ms. Hocking does a great job of giving each their own personality and providing backstories for some without the story losing its pacing or feeling overloaded with information. My only qualm about the story was how fast the ending occurred. Overall, Freeks by Amanda Hocking is a great YA paranormal novel that had me riveted from beginning to end. I happily recommend and look forward to reading more by Ms. Hocking. (I voluntarily reviewed an ARC of this book I received from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my fair and honest review.)
Title: Freeks Author: Amanda Hocking Genre: NA Paranormal Romance Format: Ebook Pages:400 Rating:5 Heat: 3 Thoughts:Ok, so that was a blast!! I'm not sure what to focus on first, the traveling carnival, the awesome characters, or the paranormal part. Add all that with a bit of mystery and suspense and you have this book! It wasn't that the story was that unique, but there's a freshness to it that pulled you in. Usually there's more knowledge about the monster that terrorizes a town/county/city/whatever and the reason that a carnival would go to that place is because they are some secret organization that takes care of stuff like this. This story did not have any of that and it was so sneaky. It wasn't until writing this that I realized that I've heard similar stories but this one blindsided me with it's uniqueness. I highly recommend you read this! Please note that I received a complimentary copy of this work and chose to write a review.
This is a great Teens/ Young Adult tale: a cast of wonderful unique characters of all ages, a gorgeous rich mysterious young man in a new town; a bit of romance; a large dose of the supernatural; and a lot of danger and terror. Mara is a relatively ordinary girl, but the same cannot be said for her colleagues in the travelling circus. For Mara, the circus folk are her friends and family, who just happen to possess supernatural powers that complement (or are intrinsic to) their stage acts – nothing abnormal or threatening. The book introduces the characters in lovely understated ways, as though their powers were every day occurrences: “the only downside was her snoring. Well, that and the telekinesis”. Unfortunately, the general public do not always see them in such a benign light, and their lives are often blighted by bigotry, discrimination, verbal and physical attacks by intolerant and ignorant people: “Spray painted in neon green on the side of Gideon’s trailer was one word: FREEKS. It wasn’t even spelled right, but I’d come to learn that the people who usually defamed our trailers very often had poor spelling”. So, when the circus arrived in Caudry, antagonism from some of the more red-necked inhabitants was not entirely unexpected. What was unusual – and terrifying – was the suppressive effect the town had on their gifts, and the brutality and extent of the physical attacks on individual circus performers. Especially as those targeted would have been able to defend themselves against any normal human or wild animal attack. The police are no help and want to close them down, but somehow someone in the town wants them to stay for their full contracted ten days – and the circus desperately needs the money. Mara meets the gorgeous Gabe and tries to conceal her link to the circus, in the hope of a brief, but enjoyable affair, before the circus moves on. Experience had told her that boys general reacted badly when they discovered her secret: “What hurt the worst was knowing that he wouldn’t think of me the same way. For a while, he’d seen me as a real person. He’d really seen me, and he’d liked me. But now I was reduced to disposable, forgettable, dirty freak”. But Gabe has his own secrets, and would that make him more open-minded? There are no really big surprises in the book for readers familiar with this genre, but the story is very well written and paced, and holds one’s interest throughout. I really hope that the author writes more books with these characters, as there must be so much more to tell of life beyond Caudry. I received this copy from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
"Freeks" is a captivating paranormal mystery. Mara has lived all her life with a circus, traveling from one place to another. This circus contains not just performers, but individuals with special abilities. For instance, her mother is a fortune teller who is able to do so through her gifts as a necromancer (she speaks with the dead who sometimes know the future). Mara is not always proud of her life (townies never let them forget that they are different- e.g. the spray painted "FREEKS" their first day open in town) and wishes she had a normal home, but the people there are her family. Things become strange when they arrive in Caudley, a small town excited for the rides, games, and interesting shows and people they bring. However, strange things start happening- performers are mauled and everyone's powers are going wonky. This is a mystery that doesn't get solved until the end of the book. I had a guess, but I was only half right. What a journey! The events happen quickly and with enough going on that it's easy to lose an afternoon reading this fascinating book. I was not sure about star rating, as there are some things I liked less about the book, but because I just could not pull myself away from this book, I'm giving it 5 stars. I was not disappointed in the least. Mara and Gabe (a townie) have a really fast romance. They get together and start making out in the first few pages. At first, I figured it was just a fling, but then it starts to become something more. I assume Mara must move so fast because she never stays in a place for very long, and Caudley is no different- they are only supposed to be there for about a week. However, Gabe really grew on me and I ended up loving them as a couple by the end. His secret wasn't so great- I figured it out quickly- but it was overshadowed by the bigger secret around the town, so it wasn't a let down (and I didn't figure that out entirely). I really enjoyed it- it's interesting and quite a quick read! Please note that I received this book from the publisher through netgalley in exchange for my honest review.