Darren Shan is your average boy (I imagine around 11 or 12, it never says) who likes being with his friends, playing soccer, and messing with creepy animals like big furry spiders. His life is a relatively normal one until one of his friends steals a flier from his older brother for "Cirque Du Freak" (Circus of Freaks), an (in-secret) traveling freak show. The boys are fascinated, and Darren and his best friend Steve end up going to the freak show. They find it intriguing, there's a bearded lady, a snake boy, the world's fattest man, many more, and most intriguingly for Darren, a man and his giant spider. He controls the spider with his thoughts and flute, and Darren loves spiders, so he loves this act. His friend figures something out about the man who controls the spider, and Darren continues to be infatuated with the spider- and his life changes forever.
I loved this book! I'm already reading the second book. I found it very fast-paced and exciting. The ending was pretty surprising... and I thought it was written so that it felt very real, and if vampires and all that existed it feels like that could definitely happen. I just really liked it, the only thing I think I could possibly complain about is it seemed like there was just a lot of punctuation; rather short sentences. Part of this contributed to it being a quick read but it also seemed a little weird at times like in the more serious of moments. Anyway though, excellent, five stars!!!! *****