kidsreads.com | 27 April 2010 | Carlie Webber
Darren Shan's life both began and ended on the day he reached into the air and caught a ticket to an underground freak show, the Cirque du Freak. Because of that show --- and because he couldn't resist the lure of Madam Octa, the performing spider --- he gave up his mortal life to save his best friend Steve Leonard from a deadly poison. In his new life as a half-vampire, Darren travels to extraordinary places like Vampire Mountain and the Lake of Souls. Most importantly, he has seen how every event of the past, no matter how small, can have a profound effect on the future. With his fellow Vampire Prince Vancha March and Larten Crepsley, Darren was sent on a mission. Vancha, Larten and Darren were named as the only three vampires who could kill the Vampaneze Lord and prevent the murdering vampaneze from destroying the vampires. Darren met up with his old friend, Steve Leonard, now the Vampaneze Lord, and the two know that they must fulfill another prophecy: Whoever kills the other will live to become the Lord of the Shadows. While Steve believes that killing Darren will lead to a great future, Darren worries that if he's the one who survives the battle, he could cause the world to become a desolate, horrible place where no vampires, vampaneze, or people can survive. As Darren predicted, he must face Steve alone in their final battle. Steve injures Darren badly, but Darren is able to deal a fatal stab. As Steve dies, Darren learns that Mr. Desmond Tiny has manipulated most of his life. Steve and Darren have been controlled in many small ways by Mr. Tiny since their births, and Darren is determined that he will not be manipulated again, even if it means his own death! The way Darren sees it, the only way to avoid a lifetime of being controlled by Mr. Tiny is to take his destiny into his own hands…but he's going to need Steve's help to do it. When Darren emerges from the battle, he's in the last place he ever wanted to be: the Lake of Souls. Memories of the past plague him, and he almost resigns himself to an eternity of insanity when he is pulled from the lake. Given one more turn at life, albeit a very different life than the one he's known, Darren is determined not to waste his chance to ensure the safety of humanity. He travels back in time to a moment when he can change the future, but will he have the courage to do what he has to do? Hold your breath and draw your sword for the last bloody journey into Darren Shan's world of battling vampires. Here there be dragons --- and vampaneze and circus freaks and humans and witches and Little People and a really icky lake. All your questions about Darren's past, present and future will be answered here, as well as some curiosities you may have about a certain Desmond Tiny. In the end, as always, the story is Darren's, but does he have any hope for a future? Only time will tell.
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