Books for Keeps #162 (UK) | 01 January 2007 | CB
Before today, I had managed to avoid reading any Darren Shan, which means I had missed all 12 of his series of vampire novels (The Saga of Darren Shan'), and I have connected with this publishing phenomenon only at Book 3 of 'The Demonata', his new series. Shan's name is given more prominence on the cover than the title, though both retreat into insignificance before a fluorescent green demon with yellowing fangs against a flaming orange background. This is teen horror for collectors, and Shan has his own website for aficionados. In this kind of enterprise the requirements are to keep the titles coming, to build in connections from one book to another, and to balance the expected thrills with some new variations. From the preamble to this story, I suspect that the new variations may have appeared in the first two books, which involved playing chess with a demon for a werewolf's soul, and I arrived at a point where inspiration was temporarily suspended. Much of the action was predictable: real demons appearing in a movie about demons. But I suspect that Shan's secret and his skill is in building the series framework - the characters and preoccupations that develop from book to book - that keeps his readers hooked.
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