“We don’t need to waste any more time with these freaks.”
Minus the rude insult at the end, this is essentially how I felt about my entire experience with Freeks written by Amanda Hocking. It was a superb waste of time where the vast majority of its appeal was locked away in its cover-porn.
This books is tale about a young girl, named Mara, who is a part of a travelling circus. The circus has people with special or supernatural abilities and unique physical deformities. As such, the crew of this carnival on wheels gets a lot of offensive treatment from the people that they encounter on the road. Those people are assholes, to say the least. Then they receive an offer to perform in the city of Caudry, Louisiana where all sorts of supernatural happenings are occurring. One night, they become the victim of vandalism and one of the members is brutally attacked. A mystery ensues.
This novel is painfully boring.
When I read the premise, I will admit that I was extremely intrigued. I had never read a book about carnivals, or books that spoke of circus-life (mostly due to my horrible fear of clowns, fuck those bastards), but with the word “supernatural” popping up, I just couldn’t help myself. Yet, no matter how hard I tried, I simply could not connect with this book whatsoever.
I read the words. I visualized the settings, the faces and emotions, the scenery—all of it—but there was a distinct element that lacked throughout the entire piece: atmosphere. There’s very little to no atmosphere at all. Even when the grisly attacks began occurring, the mysterious supernatural aspects started stirring, the romance was ridiculously blooming—none of these were enough to make me feel anything more than indifferent. I read about someone having their guts hanging out and I felt so apathetic. It was all described with the same monotonous tone that you’d receive while reading a textbook, or instruction manual.
One of the elements that I did think was a plus at first was how descriptive everything was. I had no issues with picturing the trailers that these folks called home, the odd talents (or physical abnormalities) that they had, or the terrible affect that being ostracized had on them. Nonetheless, they just weren’t anything beyond the image; they had no essence or quality that allowed me to relate with them in any shape of form. Freeks severely lacked any sense of tension, or anxiety, that would befit a supernatural mystery thriller involving murder and monsters.
The romance between Mara and Gabe was also inherently lacklustre. Minutes after meeting him, they’re both mouth-digging with tongue. There was this insta-chemistry that immediately hooked her interest into him, which I found annoying and unnecessary. While I do know what it’s like to see that one person who just gets you hot and horny (and all you want to do is jump their bones), I wouldn’t be so taken with trusting them in a life or death situation instantaneously, especially when I get such strong vibes from them that’s practically shouting at me to run the hell away. Their entire relationship—from the formation of it unto the latter parts—felt forced and unnatural.
Another aspect, while minor in reference, that bothered me was the female protagonist’s middle name of, Varali. Per the book, it translates to “moon” in Hindi. This in fact quite incorrect. Firstly, the language is not Hindi at all, but Marathi. Marathi is a very different language than Hindi (such as Punjabi, Urdu, Arabic, or English). “Varali” described to mean “moon” isn’t quite correct either. I know this because I am a natural born Hindi speaker, and I have family members who speak both Marathi and Hindi with equal fluency. Secondly, I suggest that a much neater job of research in regards to ethnic and cultural languages be utilized next time to avoid this type of minor appropriation. It can be offensive and very misleading. Tossing an ethnic female protagonist into a book simply for story decoration and eye-candy for the boy is a huge TURN-OFF and I don’t tolerate it.
Maybe this book simply wasn’t my cup of tea. I did not enjoy it. I also do not recommend any books that have any level of misinformation in regards to diverse cultures, or languages.
1 1/2tigers out of 5.