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 bodies 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.
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Author: Amanda Hocking
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
I love Amanda Hocking’s books. Haven’t read all of them and it’s been a couple of years, but the ones I did read were great. That’s why, when I saw that she was writing a circus paranormal, I was like-
Circus sideshows are getting more popular (thank you God), and if a favorite author decides to join in on the fun, how can you not love it? And I did! A few things knocked off a rating star for me but I still overall enjoyed it. Definitely enough to tell my friend to read it, though I don’t know if she’d enjoy the romance.
Let’s get down to business
While the plot and climaxes were great, a few things didn’t do it for me. The description, for one thing. It got a bit repetitive with a few chosen words, and though it wasn’t too big of a problem, it occurred enough times to get noticed. The plot itself was great, but on a personal note, the circus was what sold me the story, so when the book turned into a hunt for a mysterious creature that the MC didn’t really inquire until things had gotten out of hand, I got a little bummed. I wanted to be in the circus and enjoy the family ties she made with these people! I wanted to be awed and feel that freedom that the roadies and fellow freeks felt. I wanted that, and even if it wasn’t a main thing, I still wanted it.
And I didn’t get it.
I only really got to know Mara’s friends, but even then, the only people I really knew were her mom and Gideon. Everyone else’s existence felt a little thinner, less real. Another thing that felt mildly transparent was the romance. Now, if this book is more paranormal than romance-driven, then I can see the romance taking a backseat. I’d be fine with that. But I’m a hopeless romantic, so the romance aspect- however important -felt a little rushed and physical. The only times she and Gabe were together were when they were either making out, attempting to find out their secrets, or were discussing future dates. They didn’t have enough time to actually talk things out and get a sense of the other person. Mara only got that attraction, both bodily and otherly, with the sensation of danger but not being afraid. For Gabe, she was different. Special, in a small sea of a town. I think I just wasn’t sold on it, but if I had been into it, I would totally be digging this right now.
So if the romance, along with a few crucial scenes, had been lengthened and deepened (can I say that?) this would’ve been an instant present for my friends and my shelf. I really liked Mara’s chill but adventurous personality, the thought of a town trying to kill them, and the risky adventure itself with a hot guy that always seems to make your heart race.
A Little Darling