Product Reviews

Freeks - Amanda Hocking (Hardcover) (1 user review)

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Freeks - Amanda Hocking (Hardcover)
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..."a fun-filled read filled with all manner of supernatural shenanigans."

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Review originally appears on my book blog, The Book Fairy's Haven (http://bookfairyhaven.blogspot.co.za/2017/01/blog-tour-freeks-by-amanda-hocking.html)

I’ve always been fascinated with books that employed a carnival setting as a backdrop, which is one of the biggest reasons that Amanda Hocking’s Freeks appealed to me. Featuring a mish-mash of characters with different abilities, Amanda has created an intriguing world that will appeal to fans of paranormal fiction.

The one thing I’ve always felt comes across strongly in Amanda’s books is her writing style. While I generally prefer authors who prefer showing, as opposed to telling, I find it rather easy to overlook this in Amanda’s books because her ideas and stories are just so engaging and fun.

Make no mistake, Amanda knows how to tell a good story. And in Freeks, it’s no different.

While the story focuses on Mara, a seemingly normal girl who is part of a travelling carnival and sideshow, Amanda, through Mara’s perspective gives us hints and glimpses into the lives of the folk who form part of the show.

From characters who are gifted with telekinesis to those with the ability to heal unusually quickly, we’re immersed into the lives of characters who, together, celebrate each other’s unique abilities and differences, while being aware that to outsiders, they’ll always be considered “freaks.”

What I particularly enjoyed about this book is that it deals with a topic that so many of us can relate to – being mocked or consider other because of something that makes you different.

In Freeks, we’re at once privy to people who will show up to the carnival to be entertained by the very people they consider subhuman, only for them to turn around and spray paint nasty graffiti on the travelling homes of the folk who are working hard to make ends meet.

Because they’re often met with ridicule and scorn, Mara and the rest of the performers are cautious and distrustful of the local townsfolk. On top of this, Mara struggles with feelings of fitting in and finding a place where she belongs – as much as the performers treat her like one of their own, she longs for a place where she can find some roots.

When she meets Gabe, local town boy from a wealthy home, she thinks she just might have an opportunity to experience something normal again. But, then people start getting hurt and disappearing, and soon, the entire carnival is unsettled by the unearthly energy and sinister presence they feel in the air.

I really actually loved how this story came together. In a small and Southern town where everything is more than it seems, Amanda Hocking’s story world really comes to life.

The description of carnival life is something I particularly enjoyed and something I would have loved to have seen being elaborated a little more on, especially when it came to the types of shows that were being performed by the different artists.

I’m also a big fan of the fact that this book is set in the 80s. Amanda’s love for this decade is clearly punctuated throughout the novel with nods to books, movies and records that will definitely be known to many of you.

The supernatural elements in this novel will also be quite familiar, but the twist Amanda spins on it and how it relates to the characters involved is another thing that really impressed me. Think magic and curses, inherited legacies and traps and you’ll have the gist of what this novel is all about. In fact, the last few chapters definitely make the novel worth reading all the more.

I do wish more attention could have been given to Mara’s developing powers, but perhaps that might be something Amanda intends to explore at a later stage perhaps?

Of course, this book wouldn’t be complete without a bit of romance, but personally, I wouldn’t have minded if there wasn’t a romantic angle. For one, this book does fall prey to the insta-love trope we see so often in YA fiction, but the chemistry between Mara and Gabe are at least tons of fun to read about.

Still, despite my minor issues with the book, Freeks is a fun-filled read filled with all manner of supernatural shenanigans that will delight folk who enjoy their books with an extra zest of magical paraphernalia and curious oddities.

Personally, I think it’s Amanda’s best book to date.

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