Review: Freeks by Amanda Hocking


FreeksGenre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Date Published: February 9 2017
Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
Pages: 336
Buy: Amazon – Book Depository
Australia: Angus & Robertson – BooktopiaMacmillan’s Children’s Books

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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.

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** I’m participating in a Blog Tour hosted by Pan Macmillan and received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own **

Trigger warnings: minor scenes with parental abuse and suicide 

I was pleasantly surprised when I started reading Freeks. I’d put it off for so long because of a slump and for some reason I was in the mind frame that I might not have enjoyed it a great deal because I’m always skeptical when it comes to Paranormal Romances unless you’re Meg Cabot. I’d never read anything by Amanda Hocking either so I had no idea what to expect.

I started Freeks yesterday and finished it this morning. I literally couldn’t put it down. I practically devoured it. I woke up at 3am and instead of even trying to go back to sleep I picked it back up. With short chapters and fast pacing it was like a dream come true for me.

Despite the fast pacing, I was still able to get a really good visual of the setting and characters. I feel like some of the characters weren’t really fleshed out and just kind of existed when the main character, Mara, needed them too. They were all still really interesting though. The book is set in the 80s and I loved all the pop culture references. I was born in 1990, but I’ve always felt a huge connection to the 80s so I really loved that!

Mara, a necromancer, was a likable protagonist, she suffered a bit with cliches and tropes but it’s not like I hated being in her head. The romance between her and the love interest, Gabe, wasn’t really something I, personally, connected with. It wasn’t really instalove, but it all happened so quickly and within a week they were like ready to spend their lives together. I know this can happen in real life so that’s why it’s more of a personal thing. I get that romances in standalones have to happen a lot quicker than series, but it just didn’t come across for me. Gabe is kinda your stereotypical Bad Boy But Not Really With a Dark Secret love interest. He was decent enough though and like with Mara I didn’t hate him.

Darkness engulfed me…There was no ground below me, no sky above. Only the black, and the cold.

One of the main reasons I was worried about Freeks is because I’m not a fan of people with disabilities or deformities being used as props or as public spectacles. Freak Shows have never sat right with me because real people have been treated awfully by them. However, with Freeks no one is being used. They’re just a group of people owning their differences, supporting each other, and using their abilities how they want to. The leader of group, the psychic Gideon (who I may or may not have a crush on 👀👀👀) always makes sure everyone knows that they’re free to leave whenever they want. People are here because they want to be, not because they’re being forced. Another thing I LOVED was that “Gypsy” was never used to describe Mara or her mother. There were also a lot of characters of color. Mara was a POC. There was also a gay side couple.

Whilst I did get through Freeks insanely fast I can’t ignore all the tropes, cliches and eyerolling moments within it.  One of the things that bothered me the most was how against everyone was by the idea that something supernatural was what was terrorising the carnival. Like, you’re literally a bunch of people with supernatural abilities but the idea of a monster being real is unbelievable? Then later on it was revealed that werewolves and vampires are a part of this world so that made me even more confused. Certain things also just felt WAY too convenient.

Overall, Freeks was an insanely fast and fun read. You really got the atmospheric vibe of the small town and travelling carnival. It was slightly creepy and the mystery kept me reading. There was just a few too many tropes used for me to feel comfortable giving this anything over 3 stars. It just didn’t feel polished enough. I do however think it would make a really cool TV show!

“The sun had begun its descent toward the horizon, and the sounds of the carnival played like a familiar song behind me.”




Have you read Freeks or is it on your TBR?

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

I hope you’re all having a fantastic day.

P.S. Feel free leave me a question for my 1 year Blogiversary Q&A!! 

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36 thoughts on “Review: Freeks by Amanda Hocking

  1. I’m so glad you liked this! I’m also reeeeally relieved to hear that the book doesn’t use people with disabilities as a prop or objectify them because I was really nervous about that and it’s probably the main reason I’ve put off reading this for so long. I won a giveaway of this book awhile back, so I might have to bump it up on my TBR. Great review, Lauren!


    1. Yeah, I was definitely super worried about the same thing. I was almost hesitant to agree to the tour because I was worried it would be extremely problematic, but then I thought if it was at least I could warn people about it. Fortunately, that wasn’t the case. It’s definitely not perfect, but it’s a great book if you’re in a slump or in between more serious books because it’s honestly so fun and impossible to put down haha. Thanks so much, Kourtni! I hope you enjoy it 😊!

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, same! It was so good. The short chapters made it impossible to put down too. I could tell you which pages or go into more detail if you want about the triggers? Neither affect the flow of the story so you could skip over them if you want. Either way, I completely understand and it’s why I always try to include trigger warnings in my reviews. There’s nothing worse than being caught off guard.


  2. Great review Lauren! glad that the characters with disabilities weren’t objectified & that they were there by choice. I legit LOL’d when I read “One of the things that bothered me the most was how against everyone was by the idea that something supernatural was what was terrorising the carnival. Like, you’re literally a bunch of people with supernatural abilities but the idea of a monster being real is unbelievable?” smh we see this on tv too & it gets me EVERY time! LOL! I actually was asked to join the blog tour but already had enough on my plate to be tempted with this one smh. I’m glad you enjoyed it as a fast & fun read 😉


      1. Baha it is hard to believe smh! RL threw some real life blessings my way but that meant I wasn’t able to blog much. Now I’m trying my best to come out of hibernation with a review here & there since one thing has remained the same…i haven’t stopped reading 😉


  3. I was thinking about picking this up but I read Amanda Hockings Crystal Kingdom series and hated it :/ so I thought I’d give this a pass XD It’s sounds good but I don’t think me and the Author get along bahahaha great review 🙂


    1. Haha, that’s understandable ♥♥ I’ve heard the author is kinda one people love or just can’t get into. I think if I wasn’t in such a slump I may have struggled a bit more but it was perfect for that. Like it was the kinda thing you know is lowkey not that great, but you just can’t stop reading it 😂 Thank you!!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Such an awesome post Lauren! And no I have not yet been able to read Freeks but I am really excited to because it seems awesome and after reading Caraval I’ve been craving more circus themed books! Plus that cover is so creepily gorgeous!


  5. I’m glad you enjoyed the book! There seems to be a lot of circus/carnival themed books floating around at the moment and I noticed freeks had a very mixed bag of reviews so I didn’t add it to my tbr, and if it features the dreaded “bad boy but not really” then I’m glad I didn’t 😆


    1. Thank you! It definitely helped my slump-y position because it was so ridiculously light and fun. I didn’t have to concentrate, but haha, yeah, it’s definitely not as strong as some of the others. I think if I had have read it at any other time I might have done a lot more eyerolling.


  6. Great review for this book Lauren, also I’m not sure if I ever mentioned this but I love how you put aesthetics for the books in your reviews as well. 🙂
    I added Freeks onto my to-read list when I saw it was about a circus (we need more circus books in YA in my opinion, just in general actually) so I was pleased to see you enjoyed it. It’s a shame about all the tropes though. Sometimes a book can make them original and turn them on their head. I’m guessing that just wasn’t the case with Freeks.


    1. Aw, thank you so much Beth ♥ I’d never read a circus theme book until Caraval which I LOVED and I’m really excited to read The Night Circus! It definitely seems like an underrated setting. Yeah, sometimes tropes work and sometimes they don’t. It wasn’t as bad as Stealing Snow, but it definitely wasn’t a Caraval either, haha. It was a really fun and quick read though. Perfect if you’re in between more serious books!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That’s all right! 😀 ❤ Oh Caraval is just amazing isn't it? And if you enjoyed that I reckon you'll love The Night Circus, I have it on my to-read list for this month as well.
        Have you read a book that's been as bad as Stealing Snow in terms of tropes then? Please let me know if you have so I can avoid it. Oh I think Caraval is going to be a book that's hard to live up to anyways. 🙂
        Well I am in between some serious books at the moment so maybe I'll give it a go sooner than planned! 😀


  7. I keep seeing this book everywhere and it was super cheap at Big W the other day so I almost caved but already had theee books in my basket and it was starting to hurt my arm! Thanks for your review, it sounds interesting enough to give it a go 😊

    I’m also a 1990 baby! We have a very y close relationship to both the 80s and 90s 😉👌


    1. Ahh, I miss Big W for books haha. There’s only a Target where I live, but every time I go to Perth I try to stock up 😂 If you decide to pick this one up I hope you enjoy it! I feel like it’s a good book if you’re in a slump or don’t want something serious or that you need to concentrate too hard on.

      Haha, YAY 🙌🏻 The best year.


  8. I’ve been seeing this book around, but had no idea what it was about… but it actually sounds very good? A pity it’s a bit tropey, but maybe it’ll still be a fun quick read when I’m in the mood for an atmospheric, slightly creepy read 🙂


    1. I think it’s a great book for when you’re in a slump or if you’re in between more serious books? You kinda don’t need to concentrate. I feel like it’s the equivalent to those kinda TV shows that you know aren’t that great, but you can’t stop watching 😂


  9. Oooh this sounds like a really cool premise and for some reason it makes me think of the Mara Dyer series? I’m not sure I’d be able to overlook the tropes though – the ones you’ve mentioned are among my least fave of all time xD


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