Welcome to my stop on the FREEKS blog tour! I’m very lucky to share with you a few questions and answers from Amanda Hocking as well as my review for her newest novel, Freeks.
If you haven’t heard about Freeks, let me give you a brief rundown. It’s about Mara Bresnick, an eighteen year old who lives and travels with a carnival. As soon as they drove into Cauldry, Louisiana weird things started happening to her friends and family. People going missing, mysterious creatures attacking the carnival workers – Cauldry wasn’t like most places they had been before. With money being dire and the carnival employees needing the paycheck from the town leaving wasn’t an option. But staying might be deadly for Mara and her friends…
Sounds intriguing, right? 😀
Here is my review and make sure you keep reading to the end of the post for my quick Q&A with Amanda Hocking!Freeks by Amanda Hocking
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Published by Pan Macmillan on January 31st 2017
Genres: Action & Adventure, Contemporary, Fantasy, Fiction, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Romance, Suspense, Young Adult
Click here to buy the book from Amazon •Booktopia • Book Depository • Angus and Robertson
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.
Bestselling author Amanda Hocking draws readers inside the dark and mysterious world of Freeks.
Freeks is a book which flawlessly combines the supernatural with the contemporary for a fantasy novel with a realistic edge. Despite Mara and her friends being legitimately gifted and paranormal in their own ways, Freeks has an authentic vibe despite the supernatural beings who graced the pages. This was a book which felt like it could be happening to someone in the real world and not just between the pages of a fantasy novel.
For Mara and her friends, travelling to small towns and performing their own particular carnival acts was life to them. The job to go to Cauldry seemed like any other job except as soon as they passed city limits, things started getting strange. And it wasn’t just the mysterious disappearances of friends and deadly attacks which made their time in the small Louisianian town different from others they’d been to in the past. As soon as Mara meets Gabe Alvarado she knows he’s not like other boys she’s met before. Maybe it’s because of the weird energy Cauldry gives off but despite the intense feelings Mara develops for Gabe she can’t help but wonder what secrets he is hiding.
As the threat to the carnival becomes more intense, Mara has to accept her family’s legacy whilst at the same time discover just what Gabe is hiding before it’s too late.
I loved the characters in this book. Each one had their own type of uniqueness and it was lovely to learn more about them as I read Mara’s story. For these characters their gifts didn’t define them but did contribute to their stories and explain how they ended up at the carnival. I would have loved to have read a story devoted to each of the carnival workers. Mara was great to follow as she fell in love and had to work out how to save her friends and family from Cauldry but I wanted more.
In a novel of just under 350 pages and a story which spans just over a week in duration – Freeks manages to pack a lot in. We get a love story, a horror story, a family saga and mystery. The time frame ensures the plot progresses as a good pace and keeps everything moving along nicely. But there were times where I didn’t feel like it was enough. Mara and Gabe’s relationship progresses rapidly and despite the nice warm feeling Mara got inside being around him, I wasn’t convinced by their romance. The big exciting climax which the entire novel had been leading up to would have been more satisfying had more pages been devoted to it. And I wanted more of the supporting cast. Mara’s family history was briefly touched on but it just wasn’t enough for me.
That said, Freeks works well as it is. It does tell a complete story and I’ll admit – it’s the sign of a good book that leaves you wanting more!
Freeks is one of a kind. Set in the eighties, it gives a nostalgic retro vibe whilst still feeling very contemporary and now. The supernatural elements combine beautifully with the mystery which will keep you guessing until the end. It’s fast pace and interesting characters make it a quick and easy read for anyone who enjoys exciting interesting stories.
Q&A with Amanda Hocking
Who is your writing muse?
I don’t think I really have a writing muse. Different things inspire me, and it’s hard to know when inspiration will strike. It’s usually something small that I see or hear, and it just gets stuck in my head, like a popcorn kernel gets stuck in your teeth. And I just keep playing around with the idea until it starts to grow into something that could be a story.
What do you believe are the key ingredients to great romance in a novel?
I feel romance needs to be tactile and visceral more than anything. Readers want to feel like they’re falling in love, so I think it’s important to really show the emotions and sensations.
If you were to live in one of your book ‘worlds’, which one would it be?
I don’t know that I would want to live in any of them, because they all seem too dangerous for me. But I would live to visit the palaces from the Trylle and Kanin Chronicles, particularly the Skojare one in Storvatten. In my mind, it’s absolutely stunning, so it would be amazing to see in real life.
Many thanks to Pan Macmillan for the review copy.