Author: Amanda Hocking
Release Date: February 2017
Publisher: Pan Macmillan
Overall Rating: 7.5/10
Genre: Romance, Adventure, Fantasy, Supernatural
“Despite all that, I couldn’t shake the chill inside my chest, like my heart had been incased in ice”
– Freeks ARC, Amanda Hocking
I haven’t read an Amanda Hocking novel in ages and this book definitely did not disappoint. Before I read this book, I judged a book by its cover and frankly, I was unsure about the novel. The cover doesn’t do it justice and nor those the little blurb on the back of the book. However, diving into the world of Mara and Gideon was definitely thrilling and is one of the best books I’ve read in a while.
The storyline was the perfect recipe of romance and adventure. It had the perfect balance of both. Since the beginning, I was already shipping both Gabe and Mara. Their relationship wasn’t too rushed, I loved the development and chemistry between the two. Their romance tugged at my heart and Gabe was definitely the cutest. The main characters both Mara and Gabe were also developed really well. Both had their issues and struggles which they somewhat managed to overcome. I loved following Mara’s story. Finding out about her history and the spiritual ancestry was something I do not read about often. I really enjoyed reading about who she was and I definitely found myself relating to this teenage girl. In addition, Gabe was your cliche mysteriously boy from town but did I mention, I love a good cliche. Gabe was definitely lovable, he had the perfect vibe and was the perfect boyfriend. What wasn’t there to love? I knew he was somehow linked to do with the murders in the carnival but I did not see the whole werewolf thing coming.
I was constantly turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. I wanted to know where Blossom went. I wanted to know who was behind the murders on the campsite and I wanted to know Gabe’s secret. I love books that just leave you on the edge with every chapter and Freeks definitely does that. When a chapter ends, it ends on a cliffhanger that makes you want to keep reading.
However, Freeks isn’t some AMAZING novel. Don’t get me wrong it’s a really good read but the story isn’t one that stands out of the crowd. There is nothing major to fangirl about and at times I did find myself confused with the many characters in the book. I think that because there were so many characters, I found it hard to recognize who was who. That’s why I didn’t give it a high 8 or a 9 but it is still a really enjoyable read that you should definitely read when given the chance.
Overall, I definitely enjoyed myself whilst reading the book and I read it within three days, which highlights the fact that I loved it. I love Gabe and following the thrilling plotline definitely left me page turning for more!
Today, I have a special blog post and it is an interview with the one and only; Amanda Hocking! Amanda has written many young-adult book series, many of which you may have heard of- Trylle, Switched and Kanin.
Renowned for her fantasy and adventure novels, Amanda Hocking recently released the final book in her much loved, Kanin Series. It is called, Crystal Kingdom and if you have been on my blog, a lot, you may have noticed my new developed love for this awesome series! I am not even joking- you really need to pick-up this series right now and clear some time because you are not going to be able to put it down!
Here is my interview with Amanda Hocking:
1) Out of all the series you have written- Kanin, Watersong and Trylle, which one did you, have the most fun writing? Which series did connect and relate the most to? I enjoyed writing each of them for different reasons. I think that I probably had the most fun writing Switched, the first book in the Trylle, but I did also really have a lot of fun writing the last two books in the Kanin Chronicles, and the final book in Watersong.
2) Which character out of all the books you have read, do you relate most to? That’s hard to say. I feel like I really relate to Courtney Summers’ main characters, particularly Parker Fadley, although I’ve never been a popular girl or part of a cool clique or brave enough to say how I really feel. But I guess I relate to her inner monologue.
3) When in your life did you decide you were going to become an author and how did you react when you discovered your novels were huge successes? I decided I was going to be an author as soon as I found that it was an option. Even when I was very young, like two or three, I was constantly telling stories and making my mom or grandma transcribe them for me. As soon I learned how to write for myself, I was writing stories with the intention of someday being published.
4) Other than writing, what are some other things do you love doing in your spare time? I read a lot, in all different kinds of genres. I’m a huge movie buff, particularly 80s movies. I play video games. I spend time hanging out my friends, family, and pets. Not very exciting stuff. I’m a homebody.
5) Writing and publishing a book must be one thrilling ride, what was your most exciting and weirdest experience or memory?
The whole thing was surreal. I wanted to be an author for so long, and I kept getting nowhere with it. I think this weirdest and most exciting part was just when I was first getting started, and I was getting reviews and emails from people saying that really loved my books. Just knowing that people were reading my books and enjoying them, after so long of waiting for it. It felt like it was never really going to happen, and then it was happening. Would you rather read only five books a year and remember everything or read 100 books a year but forget everything? Read five books – it’s the memory that makes it worth reading. Would you rather read your top ten books over and over again or always read new books that you haven’t read before? New books, but it would be tough not being able to reread my favourites. Would you rather be trapped in a bookstore for your whole life or spend your whole life reading non-stop? Trapped in a bookstore. I could still read a lot, but I’d be able to do things like sleep and eat too 😉
Amanda Hocking’s final instalment of the Kanin Series, Crystal Kingdom was definitely a mind-blower. I absolutely loved this book and I think it was by far my favorite. I devoured this book up, despite my previous intentions to savour it. There are just so many unique little elements, plot devices and complications, that have hooked me into this one-of-a-kind magical world. Throughout the novel my mind was buzzing with questions and I just wanted to keep reading and reading. Some novels make you feel distance and detached from the world and its characters but this book was the complete opposite; I just wanted to jump right into the action.
Crystal Kingdom picked up right where the second book, Ice Kissed, left off and we seriously jumped right in on the action. There was no stopping the amount of action, secrets and twists this book contained. Bryn, given her choices, has to ally with Konstantin to help her avenge her kingdom from a new-found enemy. Bryn, with her selfless heart, will do anything to save her friends and her kingdom but the only thing stopping her is the authority of the kingdom. We follow her throughout the story as we discover piece by piece that the whole society is not as simple as it seems and that a price will pay to save the right people in need.
You definitely don’t want to miss out on the fun of this amazing series! It is one nail-biting, stomach churning and excitement-bringing books. So, do not forget to purchase this book, if you love a high-fantasy adventure novel that has everything from a heart-clutching romance to a strong heroine! Also don’t forget to check out my Q&A with the awesome author of this series: here! Thank you so much to PanMacmillan for sending me this series and giving me the opportunity to join this blog tour!
*WARNING: SPOILERS FOR CRYSTAL KINGDOM AHEAD*
Crystal Kingdom, was a strong ending to a powerful series. We jump straight back into the action, from where the second book left off. Konstantin is asking Bryn for her acceptance and throughout this scene I was just screaming, “No!” because my intuition was telling me that he was going to backstab her. However, he surprisingly doesn’t and he left me stressed throughout the novel for no reason. Konstantin was one conflicting, yet profound character, that I ended up really liking. Formerly, he really got on my nerves because of how much he had hurt Bryn and threatened the kingdom but as he continued to help and show compassion towards Bryn, I started to understand that he was a real person not some run of the mill villain.
I loved the depth to Konstantin’s character: his history, motifs and emotions. Amanda Hocking really played it well by unveiling the true Konstantin in the last book and because of her beautiful writing skills it didn’t feel rushed and unfinished. We really get a full scope on Konstantin. I was so surprised when I discovered that he had fell in love with the queen. I had to stop and take a moment to just take in the fact that he was blinded by love. When I read that short story, I finally understood why Konstantin acted so cold and cut off. Everything began to make sense. The only problem was the relationship between him and Bryn.
Bryn’s main love interest throughout the book was Ridley and I expected it to be Ridley throughout the series, considering there was forbidden love and they had been through much. I was really hopping that Ridley would be back by a third through the book but… no such thing happened and she developed a new love interest, KONSTANTIN. Okay, I understand that she had a crush on him but I was not expecting her to be in love with him. This is what was the big problem, for me, I never saw the love between them and I didn’t get any hints, so, when Konstantin kissed her unexpectedly right before he died; I was stunned. Originally, I was really glad that there never ended up being a love triangle because they sometimes just over-complicate the situation but for some reason, I never knew that Konstantin loved her and I was completely shocked, especially since she was dating Ridley. After that encounter, Bryn never seemed to address the situation again. I really wished that never happened because it was practically useless to the storyline but I was so glad that Bryn and Ridley got back together again by the end of the book.
Bryn’s character development really blossomed in the book and as a reader, you could really see how much she had grew since the first book. By the end of the book, she was someone I could really respect and idolise. At the start of the series, she really made some reckless mistakes but by the end she made it through and her sense of choice and authority really shone through. I love her courageousness and how she would do anything to save the kingdom, which was a topic that was reiterated throughout the novel. It really took her character to the next level and made her relatable.
The world was developed, as well, throughout the novel and I absolutely loved the fact that every kingdom was explored in a lot of detail. It painted a more vivid picture of the world in my head and I really felt like I was a part of this world but the ending was astounding. It wasn’t your average “happily-ever after”. I couldn’t believe that Ember had died and then not long after Konstantin died. I knew Ember was going to die because there was a lot of foreshadowing but the fact that Konstantine died was a huge shock. I love the epic battle at the end because it gave this sense of familiarity, as many books end with that typical major battle. I love how we get an “epilogue-like” chapter because we really get to find out the aftermath of what happened to the kingdom and how Bryn dealt with her losses.
Overall, the book was really a page-turning novel that gripped me right through the end. It was fantastic and heart-seizing novel that I will definitely recommend to anyone who asks for a fantasy. I will really miss these characters and will definitely start the previous series, Trylle!