After his hit vampire series, (Though not quite good enough to compete with other young adult novels of its nature) Cirque Du Freak, Darren Shan went on to write dozens of novels, all of them apparently intriguing enough to pass with critics and consumers alike. They all have the same gothic tone, and have gruesome, grisly, bloody action on each page- enough to keep teenage boys who are reluctant readers hooked. That’s why I was interested when I got The Thin Executioner. I really enjoy the books that Little, Brown publish, so I thought that if they felt that this Darren Shan novel was worth publishing, than hey, I might enjoy reading it.
And it did certainly have an interesting subject of matter. An executioner’s son who just wants to be like his old man, but just can’t compete with his older brothers? I, like many other readers who have tired from an endless clot of paranormal romances, rejoiced. It helped that I enjoy quirky novels, since most of them have a knack for taking its subject of matter and joking around with it. The Thin Executioner, to be fair, is an easy enough read. The sly humor and smooth dialogue makes it easy to get lost in, which I give marks to any book for. However, it had some annoying quirks and clichés that came just too often for my taste. It’s length, for one thing, is too long. It stretches the story with it, and so, in the end, the plot was too slow. It’s like adding clip art to something on Microsoft word. You enlarge a 2 by 5 picture to 18 by 45, and it looks grainy and unintelligible. I mean, I like a good long novel, but you need enough twists and plot developments to hold the reader’s attention.
The characters were unsympathetic. I don’t mean to say that I like a happy ending, but the characters don’t learn anything from their mistakes and are frustrating to read about. But when you’ve got bloody, gruesome deaths on every other page, there really isn’t anything happy about the novel. Nothing to hold up the macabre elements, like Farenheit 451 or Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief.
Overall, it wasn’t a bad novel. Fans of Cirque Du Freak and other teenage fan boys of that nature will devour this book right up. But for those who prefer something just a notch more tasteful, it’s merely passable.
2 and ¾ out of 5 Stars