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Crystal Jayme’s first volume of Freakshow is not for the feint hearted. Violence and gore are commonplace in this traveling show of misfits. At first the violence seems to come out of nowhere and this unexpected event is what will either inspire readers to continue eagerly flipping pages to get to the bottom of the mystery or will turn them away in disgust.
Jayme wastes no time in introducing characters and putting them smack dab in the middle of the spree of murders. Numerous questions are raised as each chapter comes to an end and the mystery deepens. Even when readers are told of the history behind the start of the killings, how the bodies are disposed of and why the killings continue, they have only been given one step towards the conclusion of an extremely long journey.
The first thing that comes to mind when seeing the seemingly random killings and the disposal of the bodies is Sweeney Todd but Jayme’s Freakshow is not a ripoff of this demon barber’s tale. It does, however, have a few slight similarities such as human disposal coupled with profit and the overall horrific and dangerous aura that surrounds Christophe, the man who started the murders.
The characters of Freakshow are complex and as soon as readers think they know how they will react in certain circumstances, they are forced to review their first judgements.
Remember that this is a freak show and the individuals in it must put on a performance for their audience. They may appear to look like a freak on the outside, but their personality may prove to be completely unrelated to their appearance. Readers may be able to predict that someone is going to be killed, but they will enjoy the thrill of the unexpected turns characters take them on through their emotions and reactions to dealing with the violence the freak show has taken on.
The individuals were not always so repulsive in their behavior, however Christophe, who is also a knife-thrower, is no one to be messed with. Even the leader of the freak show cannot handle him and has the other knife-thrower, Adolphe be put in charge of babysitting him.
The scars Adolphe wears are proof of his arguments with Christophe about the murders and although he disagrees with them, he too does not know how to stop them. As new individuals are introduced into the show they must be introduced to the notorious workings behind the acts they put on for the audience. It can only be guessed what will happen to them if they cannot become accustomed to the violence.
Overall, this first installment was horrifying and intriguing. So many mysteries have been raised, aside from the main plot of the murders, that readers will be waiting eagerly to gobble up the next volume. Jayme is also the artist behind Freakshow and she does an amazing job of presenting characters’ complexity in their looks and creating the uneasy aura surrounding the story in her choice of background.
Overall rating: 4.5/5