Rating: 5/5 stars.
Initial Thoughts: I've never been able to get into the Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan, but I LOVED the Demonata series. The books were fast, dark, and entirely addictive. I think I read the first three in about a day and a half. I saw Hell's Horizon on NetGalley and was ecstatic. An adult novel where Shan didn't have to limit his evil, terrifying characters to what was acceptable for a MG audience was a very exciting prospect. I requested it and realized that it was book two, so I went out looking for the first. The review for book two should be up soon.
Review: In case you don't want to read the full, very fangirl-esque review, I'll sum it up real quick. I adored this novel, I adore Darren Shan and his twisted worlds, and I can not say enough about how much more amazing his adult novels are (as compared to his YA/MG series).
Capac Raimi (what a name!) is such a fantastic character. He is not a good guy, his life's aspiration is to be a gangster, for crying out loud. He doesn't do much in this book to make you sympathize with him, but I ended up loving him anyway. He is merely a pawn in The Cardinal's convoluted, evil plans. He comes to the city with a plan; he wants to rule The City. However, his plans are quickly overturned and his life is taken over by TC. Their relationship is one of the most intriguing I've ever read about. Are they allies? Master and Servant? King and Usurper? Their encounters are full of hidden meaning, vague challenges and, eventually, vicious fights. You never know exactly where they stand with each other or what TC has planned, not until the very last chapter when all is revealed.
The mythology behind POtD was entirely original. I loved reading about the Incans (what little was revealed). I'd love to know if these ideas were taken from real legends or made up entirely by the author (I'm hoping for real-makes the book much spookier). I'd love to see more focus on the Blind Men is the next two novels, or at least some more in-depth answers about what they're up to. The world that POtD takes place in is full of mysteries, we barely scrape the surface of The City in this first book of the series. Our view is limited to what Capac learns about The City, so we only know about the spere that The Cardinal and his men inhabit. There are so many different microcosms within The City that I would love to learn about. In a city of crime ruled by an evil, psychotic old man, there are so many interesting characters and lifestyles to explore. We are told early on that the different quarters of the city are different worlds, almost entirely independent from one another, all ruled over by The Cardinal. What would it be like to live in the area where the black people have taken complete control? The area where the wealthy, both criminal and clean, live? The are where the honest, hardworking poor live? I'm hoping to explore more of these areas in the next book, in spite of its main character also being someone that works for The Cardinal.
Quick Review: This was an riveting, dark novel about a man without many redeeming qualities that I somehow couldn't help but love. It's definitely meant for older YA of adults, containing some language, violence, and a little sex (thought not graphic). I would recommend this to fans of Urban Fantasy, Horror, Gangster novels, and Bad Boys in general. Go out and read it! It's great!
The sequel, Hell's Horizon, came out on January 5th, 2011.