Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare

By Darren Shan

Darren's best friend, Steve, finds a flier for an illegal freak show, which they sneak out one night to attend. Among acts such as a wolf-man (who bites off the hand of a woman in the audience) and a snake-boy, they see the vampire Mr. Crepsley and his trained poisonous spider. Darren is smitten with the spider and returns to steal her. When Steve is bitten by her, only Mr. Crepsley has an antidote to her poison. But there's a price, and Darren becomes a half vampire, learning the vampire ways, sometimes following the Cirque, and other times joining Mr. Crepsley on secret errands.

I had heard of this series in high school, but was never inclined to read a book about circus freaks. It sounded rather sinister to me. I picked up this book for one reason only, that being, I saw the movie that was released a while back called The Vampire’s Assistant and loved it. It was so fun and interesting, so I thought, why not? I read this first book with the thought of, how strange that this author is writing to a younger audience but seeking to creep-out, gross-out and pretty much scare them to death. I’ve never gotten why people seek ways to scare themselves. I always thought it was rather self-destructive. I hate scary movies. The most scary movie I’ve seen is The Sixth Sense. Well, this first books follows Darren Shan as he goes to a freak show with his best friend, only to steal a poisonous spider from an infamous vampire. The spider ends up biting his friend and the only way the vampire will save him is if Darren becomes his assistant. It was interesting, but a little weird. It ended on a strange shifting ledge. You pretty much have to read the second one if you read the first. But…as I continue to review the second one, you will see why I don’t recommend these books to just anyone.

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