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Freaks [Kindle Edition]

Kieran Larwood
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

Digital List Price: $6.99 What's this?
Print List Price: $16.99
Kindle Price: $5.38
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Book Description

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.


Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 5-8-Larwood takes readers to gritty parts of Victorian London in this novel about performers in a freak show. There's actually little performance involved in their nightly exhibitions. It's more a matter of letting people gawk at their physical anomalies or unusual proclivities. Sheba the Wolfgirl is covered in fur; Mama Rat has a troupe of trained rodents; Gigantus is (as you might surmise) a giant; Sister Moon is a ninja; and Monkeyboy has a tail. When they learn that young children have been disappearing from the riverbanks, the misfits use their strangeness to their advantage, solving the mysterious kidnappings and thwarting evildoers. Much is attempted in this book, but the development of plot, characters, and setting is superficial and unconvincing. Larwood resorts far too frequently to the scatological humor of Monkeyboy, who delights in fouling the air with gaseous emissions and any available surface or receptacle with his fecal matter, which pales rather quickly. The combination of the improbable and the impossible sits uneasily beside Larwood's efforts to depict the grim realities of underclass life in 19th-century England.-Miriam Lang Budin, Chappaqua Library, NYα(c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Winner of the London Times Children’s Fiction Competition, this highly readable, energetic first outing pits steampunk, peculiarly talented tweens against dastardly villains that would give Lemony Snicket’s baddies a run for their money. Sheba, a wolf girl covered with a pelt of fine hair (and in moments of stress, the possessor of clawed hands and fanged teeth), has little memory of her past, but when she becomes part of a London freak show in early Victorian England, she finds a family of sorts among the other “peculiars”: a giant, a rat trainer, a ninja, and a boy who resembles a monkey. A missing local waif attracts the gang’s attention to a mystery involving a river-trolling apparatus that snatches children from the Thames’ mudflats. Plans to foil the plot take them across the Dickensian cityscape all the way to the Crystal Palace, a historical exhibition of wonders. There’s enough bashing, slicing, and close shaves to excite action fans, and just enough loose ends to presume a sequel is the offing. Grades 5-8. --Karen Cruze

Product Details

  • File Size: 2005 KB
  • Print Length: 261 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0545474248
  • Publisher: The Chicken House; Reprint edition (March 1, 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00B9FX5Q6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #404,902 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved this book! February 25, 2013
Format:Hardcover
With brilliant and unusual characters and the way the author describes Victorian London, I was really reluctant to put this book down. The detailed descriptions of the London sights and smells takes you right back in time. It is a great story for children, filled with mystery, child thieves and even monsters. It certainly kept me gripped right up to the exciting end.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent February 25, 2013
Format:Hardcover
My kids read this in one sitting awesome. Highly recommended for kids of all ages and any adults that are young at heart.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Way Better Than Expected April 22, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Between a blurb that promised a cross between "X-Men" and "Oliver Twist" and the dismissive review from School Library Journal, (does anyone else notice how snotty the SLJ reviews can be?), I didn't expect a lot from this effort. I was wrong.

Sure the premise is a stretch. Sideshow "freaks" with weird talents run around Victorian London foiling bad guys. What you don't expect is the good writing, gentle humor and air of grim hopefulness that underlies the action.

We start with little Sheba, a fur covered "wolf girl" with the heightened senses of that creature. She is an orphan trapped in a dreary tiny freak show on the end of a pier in a nowhere village. She is spirited, bright and heart breakingly lonely. Her "owner" sells her to the proprietor of a larger travelling show, and the adventure begins. She is excited, frightened and on full alert as she is introduced to the world beyond. Her excitement turns to terror when she is tossed into a caravan with the other freaks.

But wait. There is kindness among these sad souls, and a sort of tortured camaraderie and a healthy dose of gallows humor. At this point you think - hey, this has real potential. "Monkey Boy" is an over the top character whose role is to nail down the fart/potty humor readers, but the rest of the characters have a certain bedraggled dignity. Together they travel through and survive their surreal, grimy world.

The three main protagonists - Sheba, Monkey Boy, and Asian fighting wonder Moon Girl - are soon on the trail of the villains who are kidnapping the poorest and most destitute of London's homeless children. There is action and suspense and close calls, and more action, and devious and sinister plots galore. This is a satisfying middle grade actioner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent February 25, 2013
By Annie
Format:Hardcover
Any book that inspires my 13 and 11 year old to read is amazing in my opinion. They loved the main characters and really like the concept which is incredibly fashionable right now. The writer understands how to keep the plot entertaining to the end which is a must with kids! Great read!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Not what I expected October 5, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Decided to read this book for a graduate school project and ended up being really pleased with it. Unexpectedly, it has a bit of steam punk and a whole lot of mystery. I found myself really curious about some of the unknown--to a point where I was asking those around me to guess what the outcome would be. A great read. The notes at the end provide excellent information and reference for those unfamiliar with the Victorian era.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Even freaks have a role to play. March 10, 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
The fun infusion of steampunk for kids with a non-glamorous look at Victorian London was great. Plus the fun extra sections at the back about the characters and author notes about Victorian London, gave it a little depth. Mr. Larwood starts feeding out info at a very comfortable pace and creates an entertaining story. I liked the main character, Sheba, from the beginning, but the book was a bit too in your face about her past. As for the other characters while each was unique in background, temperament and interest, I found a lot of holes in Monkey Boy’s back story. But for the age group this was intended for I doubt they will see any flaws.

For the full review and others visit whymsylikesbooks dot blogspot dot com
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More About the Author

Kieran Larwood, author of FREAKS, was the winner of the London Times Children's Fiction Competition 2011.

Kieran is one of only two male kindergarten class teachers on the Isle of Wight. His days mainly consist of singing nursery rhymes, tying shoelaces, trying to locate who has had an 'accident' by sense of smell alone, and vast, endless mountains of paperwork.

Kieran graduated from Southampton University with a degree in English, and also did a foundation year at Falmouth College of Art. Ever since he first read The Hobbit at age six, he has been passionate about stories and storytelling.

For more information, please visit Kieran's website: www.kmlarwood.com or follow on Twitter: @kmlarwood

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