[...] slightly younger brothers and sisters might be drawn to Cirque Du Freak. It is a fevered tale of circus freaks, killer spiders and vampires, the author's name being that of the narrator, and the book supposedly "A True Story". But few readers will be fooled, mostly because it reads so much like pulp fiction. For three-quarters of the book, the characters are flat and unconvincing, the dialogue contrived and artificial. But the last quarter -- when young Darren makes a Faustian pact with an interestingly different vampire, and leaves home and family forever -- kicks into life. A friend's 14-year-old daughter loved it, and is waiting impatiently for the sequel.