Thursday, March 7, 2013


Freaks by Kieran Larwood

This makes number three. Unreadable.

Alright first, when it has the claim of 'weirdest crime fighters ever', I immediately think of many, many strange superheroes in the DC universe, Marvel Universe, Astro City Comics, and even Dark Horse universe (those were all comic book universes. SO NERDY AM I). So I got pretty stoked about it, especially with the cover and the description. Here's what I'm talking about with the description.

Amazon summary, "Weirdest. Crime Fighters. Ever.

Sheba, the fur-faced Wolfgirl, can sniff out a threat from miles away. Monkeyboy clambers up buildings in the blink of an eye -- then drops deadly stink bombs of his own making (yes, THAT kind)! Sister Moon sees in the dark, and moves at the speed of light. Born with weird abnormalities that make them misfits, these FREAKS spend their nights on public display, trapped in a traveling Victorian sideshow. But during the day, they put their strange talents to use: They solve the most sinister crimes. And in a dank, desperate world of crooks and child-snatchers, they're determined to defend London's most innocent victims: the street urchins disappearing from the city's streets." AMAZON LINK OF LIESSSSS


I made it to page 82 out of 223.

This book had a weird style of writing. By weird, I mean it's clearly intended for children (young adults? It seems like children from the tone) to read, and yet it actually reads like it's for an adult that likes to read children's fiction. There's a difference. I'll elaborate.

In the beginning of the book, Sheba (the Wolfgirl) is introduced to London. So she's telling us everything she's seeing. Alright, that's fine. But what is this? "Soon there were clusters of houses, then small hamlets with their own inns and churches, followed by the junk mountains," (Larwood, page 21, Freaks). They also use 'paupers', 'mudlarks', and other like terms to describe the different type of folk of the city. I don't think that hamlet, pauper, or mudlark are terms that are commonly known to younger adults (or children, damn book). I could be wrong, but even I was a little thrown off by hamlets. I wondered if it was a Shakespeare reference before looking it up and going, "Oooohhh, why not just say villages?" Perhaps it's a period thing. If it is, I would suggest making the voice more like the period.

A lot of the characters in this story seem to be unaffected by the period in which they interact. There's not a lot of racism, prejudice, etc etc in their voices that would reflect the period. They kind of amble around and go like, "Man, I hope we solve this mystery" and nothing happens. (Twenty points if you got that reference.)

Let me begin about Sheba. First of all, she's got amnesia (I am so sick of amnesia characters. OH MAN, I DON'T KNOW MY PAST BEFORE THE BOOK STARTED, I BET THAT WILL COME INTO PLAY WITH THE STORY. HUR DUR HUR). Second of all, she's a Wolfgirl. Let me refer back to my nerdy self knowledge; Wolverine from the Marvel universe. Wolverine has amnesia of sorts depending on where in the timeline you read Marvel universe comics, and he's 'WOLVERINE'. Wolverine has supreme animal-like senses, a wicked healing ability, and enhanced physical capabilities. He's also got wicked claws and had adamantium bonded to his skeleton (and claw things). WOLVERINE WIKI, EDUMACATION STARTS WITH WIKI AND LEADS ELSEWHERE
Anyways, let me draw some more similarities between Sheba and Wolverine. Sheba has nails that look a little more like claws, small sharp teeth, and when she's frightened/angry/excited, her nose puckers into a snout (which I really question where she gets the extra flesh/muscles/skin etc to make a snout), her eyes flash, her skin bristles, and she growls. Wolverine has claws, has fangs, and definitely snarls/growls etc when he's angry.
So when I was reading this I got really annoyed. I found myself muttering, "She's the female Wolverine; she's a child, has been tweaked slightly to suit the authors needs and probably to avoid copyright infringement, but she's a female Wolverine." I didn't get far enough into the book to find out if her amnesia gets cured, or if she has healing factors, or blah blah blah.

Moving on.

So the book introduces us to other freaks and I'm sure they're fascinating as all get out as well, but they're 'shrouded in mystery' *wiggly fingers*. There's a point of suspense, and there's a point of annoyance. This is annoying. Yes, the book does deliver the physical description of the characters to a point, but it doesn't reveal their past lives much and seems to want to work into a 'appearances aren't everything, it's the personality that counts' but, it wandered around this idea a lot. I'm not entirely convinced that they're anywhere near as important as Sheba, hence me ignoring them.

So Sheba is part of a Freak show and is bought by another Freak show (nothing says victimizing characters like slavery!) and taken to London with all the other Freaks. There she begins to 'act' in the Freak show when a little girl named Til comes in, isn't scared of her but more in awe, gives her a marble and runs (as she snuck into the show). The perspective follows Til for a chapter to discover that she was a mudlark and as she was picking through the mud, some large red tentacle pulled her down into the mud. THUS THE MYSTERY BEGINS.

And my interest was done.

It went all scooby doo (Scooby Doo I would say is represented by the two-headed lamb), and seeing as I was already over a third of the way through the book and they weren't fighting crime yet, I'm done.

There just wasn't a whole lot happening to hold my interest, and yes they did kind of lead bits and pieces of clues here and there (like Sheba being very curious about an exhibit) that would probably lead to a big reveal, but alas, I find myself uncaring.

Unreadable number three.

Happy reading.

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