Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
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.
Freeks brings us into the world of the traveling carnival sideshow. This is what first caught my interest about the book. I have a soft spot for books about circuses and carnivals, and the gorgeous cover also helped.
The carnival is run by Gideon, and it has fallen on hard times. In a last resort attempt to save his show, Gideon takes his traveling convoy to the town of Caudry, Louisiana. However something “feels” odd about this town. Soon many of them start to disappear, or reappear…but not quite as they were.
Mara, our main character/heroine has always been with the sideshow, yet she has no special ability, “powers” or abnormality. Her mother, however, is a psychic, and Mara travels with them doing odd jobs and errands. Mara doesn’t mind seem to mind the life she’s been living, traveling from town to town, but it’s clear that she does long to set up roots of her own.
I feel a little sad for Mara, because it doesn’t seem like she has many friends. It also seems as if she wishes she could be part of a regular family. Yet she does not complain or whine about this, which I give her lots of credit for not doing.
The romance with Mara and Gabe is what really drove me nuts. I felt it was rushed, and too “INSTALOVE” for my taste. She barely meets him, and she is already deep throat tongue kissing him all the time? I just don’t buy it, but maybe she is just that horny and lonely. Still, I don’t see how this could be a good way to showcase the heroine of the novel to young readers.
I wanted her to have a little more common sense, and self-worth. The romance could have been great if it had not seemed so forced. It needed time to develop to be more believable. I like their personalities with each other but it was all too fast for me to put my seal of approval on it. Also, Gabe’s secret was pretty obvious to me from the very beginning.
Freeks has quite a few supporting characters, and I feel the author did a fantastic job keeping them all individual, and not feeling overwhelming to the reader. I enjoyed the parts of the book that gave details about carnival life and the intrigues of the sideshow acts. If there had been more of the carnival bits in the book and more details about each of the sideshow characters I would have been very happy. When it came to the ending, it felt rushed to me and I wish there had been more time taken to bring the story to a close.
Overall Freeks was a quick and fun read. There were things I really liked, and some things I really did not, but it all balanced out. I would recommend this book to YA readers who enjoy mysteries, and books with paranormal activity.
Thank you to NetGalley and St.Martin Press for providing me with an e-ARC copy of Freeks in return exchange for an honest review.