Author: Amanda Hocking
Genre: YA Urban Fantasy
Released: 9 February 2017
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.
I was kindly sent a copy of this book from Pan Macmillan Australia in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
An urban fantasy set during the 1980s that'll make you want to run away with the next carnival that comes to town - but not every town is safe for these freeks...
It's March 1982, and Gideon leads his traveling sideshow to the small Louisiana town of Cauldry. The town gives off bad vibes to those in the troop, but they need the paycheck in order to move onto Houston. They just need to open the carnival for the next ten days and then they'll never see the town again. To an outsider, life as a Carnie may seem weird, but to Mara, it's her home. And although she doesn't possess the same powers that many at the carnival do, she wouldn't change her life. That's until she meets townie Gabe, who makes her wonder if she'll ever have a normal life and connection with real people. As the sparks fly between the two, a creature of darkness begins stalking the camp at night, attacking members of the carnival. Just as the carnival is ready to pack up and Mara's about to say goodbye to Gabe, secrets are revealed, ones that threaten to destroy Mara's heart and world.
Amanda Hocking is great at writing urban fantasies and romance, and she continued to excel in this book. I loved Mara and Gabe's scenes and the romance that unfolded between them.
The story was really intriguing. I was excited to read it before I even opened the book and it certainly lived up to my expectations. I really enjoyed the setting and time period, and the characters were all really interesting. However, most of the action unfold within the last 50 pages, and while it was certainly shocking and intriguing, it also felt a little rushed. I would have loved to have seen the book be a little longer, or even, somehow, made into a duology. While it worked as a standalone, I was left wanting more. I wanted to see more of the other characters in the story, more of their backstories, more of the supernatural side of things, more in-depth explanations, and more Mara and Gabe.
In saying that, I loved the ending and twists we get. This story takes place over a ten day period, so it's to be expected that things will be a little rushed in order for the story to play out. And although it felt rushed, everything still came together in the end, and I liked where the story went.
If you are a fan of Amanda's work, you'll really enjoy this book. It has everything that makes her books great. If you love a bit of urban fantasy and romance, this is definitely a book I think you'll like. It's cute and mysterious with a touch of paranormal thrown in.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book. While there were some aspects that I felt were lacking, the story as a whole was great and one that I'd definitely read again. This book could make you wish there was a carnival coming to town, and you may just want to join it!