Larten Crepsley is a major character in Shan’s “Cirque Du Freak” series and this book, first in a proposed 4-book series, tells his life story starting briefly with his pre-vampire childhood and continuing on through the years until he becomes a fully blooded vampire and leaves his master to go out in the world by himself.
Since this book happens before the “Cirque Du Freak” series it is not necessary to have read it to understand this book but the joy of meeting familiar faces and learning their past history will be missed if this book is read cold turkey. Larten is an interesting character from the first page and quickly develops the personality traits we are used to seeing in him but now we know where his silent, hardness comes from and the roots of his greatness. Somehow reading the story when you know how the whole story of his life ends in the distant future leaves out some of the tension as we already know the ultimate fate of many characters, including Larten . But there are many questions about Larten’s past that need explaining and his connection with the Cirque Du Freak and Mr. Tall is covered in this volume as is his whole apprenticeship, half-blooding, full blooding and his first trip to the Council to participate in the games as a fresh blood. Lots of excitement, with much action and the introduction of Larten’s role-models shape the beginning of his life and the ending leaves us with a quick glance at the introduction of an old enemy from “Cirque Du Freak” making me eager to pick up Book Two, which will be out in May of this year (2011).