Amanda Hocking, the cover sold me immediately. It's a beautiful cover. I thought there has to be an intriguing story within those pages.
Roaming from town to town, Mara has never had the chance to be a normal teenager. Her family isn't "normal" by society's standards. Mara's family is a traveling carnival, complete with a strongman, a woman who can create fire, a man with incredible healing powers, and a psychic -- who just happens to be Mara's mother. Gideon, the carnival leader, can read minds. Just about everyone at the carnival has special or supernatural abilities. Everyone except Mara. Or perhaps she hasn't reached her potential yet?
At age 18, Mara is on the cusp of adulthood, and all she wants is a life that doesn't revolve around the carnival. She longs for simple things. She longs for things most people take for granted, like sleeping in a home that doesn't have wheels. Maybe even having friends. Maybe having a boyfriend. She gets a chance at all of that when the carnival stops in the small town of Caudry. Mara is never in a town long enough to put down roots, so a one-week stay in Caudry won't change that. Or will it?
While everyone else at the carnival is settling in at camp, Mara takes the time to explore the town. She meets a handsome local boy named Gabe. There's an instant connection, which I wasn't a big fan of. Mara certainly deserves a chance at normalcy and happiness. I like parts of their relationship, but it moved a little too quickly for my tastes. But what came through really well was Mara's sense of trepidation. She wants to open up to Gabe about her life at the carnival but is fearful of rejection. Most people perceive carnival people or carnies as freaks. What if Gabe is no different?
Mara doesn't have a lot of time to worry about Gabe. Why? Something or someone is stalking the carnival. Something dark and scary is after them. It comes out at night. It doesn't have a face. It moves quickly. It attacks quickly. People are disappearing. People are getting seriously injured. The local police are no help. Mara and her family have no choice but to help themselves. No one is allowed to walk alone at night. Everyone has to look out for each other.
The mystery surrounding the attacks is definitely intriguing. There's not a lot of clues as to what is going on. For me, that made for a compulsive read. At first, I thought perhaps a human force was behind everything. But as I got deeper and deeper into the book, it was clear something supernatural was at work. Overall, I like the writing and plot but I felt the ending was a little rushed. About 30-40 pages from the end, I was wondering where the resolution was. What was going to happen? I think this is supposed to be a standalone book, but I think this book deserves a sequel. There was more story to tell. Fingers crossed!
Rating: Give it a try
Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (St. Martin's Griffin) in exchange for an honest review.