I was excited about this book, based on the cover and the back blurb which seemed to promise a different take on the sideshow story we normally see. But... eh, what we got was an unchallenging and needlessly easy book which left me feeling like the actual story had never really started.
Abel Dandy (yes really) is the normal person working in a sideshow of people with unusual features or abilities. Feeling left out and having weird dreams of a beautiful woman who makes him feel horny and wants only him, Abel sets out. When another member of the group he grew up with tags along, he starts trying to figure out how to continue his journey while getting the tagalong home. But when they fall in with a freak show with a dark side, he finds that its less a journey and more a weird, mystical breadcrumb trail.
Abel is a really selfish main character, to the point I was really wishing for another viewpoint character at times. He wants his friend to return to his abusive dad because he's an inconvenience, and then gets jealous when people seem to like the kid. He has the commendable opinion that freaks are just as normal as anyone else. But being inside his head, these thoughts come off at times as a smug superiority instead of the more palateable (and conflict-useful) disbelief that people would see them as inhuman or deficient.
I will give the book the credit it deserves for that part - it presents the "freaks" as regular, well-rounded people who sometimes have specific concerns related to whatever makes them a freak. I did like a lot of these characters, especially in the final freak show they joined.
This book has its moments. There's some pathos, if not as deeply felt as it might have been. All in all, it was not a bad read. It was just sort of disappointingly easy. Deus ex freak show, I guess.