THIS IS A REVIEW OF THE MANGA
Cirque du Freak volume 2 by Darren Shan and Takahiro Arai. As volume 2 opens, Darren is starting to realize the true cost of becoming a “half-vampire.” He blames and hates his mentor in the (half) undead life Mr. Crepsley, in spite of the fact Crepsley seems to genuinely care for his young charge. Darren refuses to drink human blood, no matter how many times Crepsley explains that just because you drink does not mean you have to kill. He can’t seem to untangle the associations he has with drinking human blood and being evil.
Still, Darren can no longer deny he is unable maintain normal human relationships after he brutally hurts a boy trying to play soccer like he did in the good old days, not knowing his own strength. Very kindly, Crepsley takes Darren back to the Cirque du Freak, where Darren can make friends of people who will accept him for who he really is…even if he refuses to accept himself. Darren’s journey to self-acceptance — i.e. the act of finally drinking human blood — is no less than heart-breaking, while Crepsley continues to watch over Darren like a true father, something Darren refuses to acknowledge or understand.
Cirque du Freak nicely blends creepy characters, supernatural circumstances, and very human and understandable emotions — even when Darren “half” vamps-out, he is pushed and pulled by recognizable feelings, such as fear, anger, pain and sadness.