mouthshut.com | 29 November 2004 | Jink
I still remember back to two years ago. I had been wandering aimlessly in a bookstore, and suddenly saw the name ’JK Rowling’ written on a book. I examined it further, and found it to be a book named Cirque Du Freak, and JK Rowling supposedly liked the books.Being a diehard Potter fan, I bought the book as well as its sequel, The Vampire’s Assistant. They lay on my bookshelf for some days, but one day I decided to read them. I was hooked, and bought books 3-9. When the rest were released, I bought them too. Now that the series is over, I have to tell someone about them - apart from one friend of mine. The review focuses on all of the books, not each book one by one, because each story is bound together so tightly that they have to be written about together. Cirque Du Freak.The first book in the series, this one continues to be my favourite. The book is about Darren, who goes to a terrifying freak show with his best friend Steve Leopard. After the show, he sees his friend talking to a vampire! Moreover, he wants to be a vampire too. But the vampire, known as Larten Crepsley, rejects him, saying that he has evil blood and that vampires are not evil creatures. But Darren, too, has his own interests.When the spider he steals from Mr. Crepsley bites Steve, he has to make a deal with Mr. Crepsley that will change his life forever. The Vampire’s Assistant. Darren may be living with Mr. Crepsley at the Cirque du Freak, but he all but respects him. Darren is reluctant to drink human blood, even though the lack of it is nearly killing him. He has found a friend in Evra Von, the snake-boy, and Sam Grest. But one night he is finally forced to overcome all his fears...Tunnels of Blood. Mr Crepsley has some work to do in his home city, so he takes Darren and Evra along with him. New friends are made, and new revelations, and Darren soon finds that there is somebody - somebody who is killing people, and draining all their bodies of blood. And he has a suspicion as to who it is... Vampire Mountain.In this book, Darren travels to Vampire Mountain. There he finally discovers other vampires, and he learns of their ways, their customs, their people, and the vampaneze. In Trials of Death, Darren has to take five Trials of Initiation to see if he is a worthy vampire.And finally, in The Vampire Prince, Darren makes a narrow escape from death and manages to uncover the secret of a vampire in league with the vampaneze.In Hunters of the Dusk, Darren finally leaves Vampire Mountain after several years spent there. The reason is that the vampaneze, the vampire’s sworn enemies, have found their lord - a lord who will, according to a prophecy made by Desmond Tiny (a small, powerful, creepy man), go against the vampires in a war which will result in a clan being wiped out.Then follow Allies of the Night and Killers of the Dawn, which are both tales of deceit, malice, treachery, fights, escapes, interrogations and - school. The last three books, released within the last year, are amazing. Secrets are uncovered, wars are fought, murders happen, friends turn into enemies... And the ending of the twelfth book is a real shocker! That was my summary of the books. Now for my opinion. The books are written cleverly and swiftly. The way in which the author, Darren Shan, manages to write the tale, is gripping.Almost every book has a strange, surprising ending. You will never be able to guess the ending. The book is full of action, for lovers of it, but it also deals with topics like being bullied at school, friends, betrayal, love. This book is not for those weak at heart. Those who like to either read corny romance novels or watch Khushi and Kyun! Ho Gaya Na, will probably find them gruesome and horrible. That’s why I love them. You can re-read the books over and over again, without getting bored.The high-action scenes will also have some people gripping the book so tightly that their knuckles turn white. For some younger children, though, I might not recommend them - nightmares because of all the mentions of death and blood, and some children might believe in them, like some tend to do. The characters are all interesting. Some of the conversations include insults (changed for vampire uses) and people can also strike up a big insult match.There is also some dark humour in the books, and in all the books, Darren Shan has really written his character excellently - whether it is a preteen, a young teen, or a teenager - though, at heart, Darren’s age is much older, because he ages at one-fifth human rate.One character I loathe and despise is Desmond Tiny. No, no, he’s not the lord of the vampaneze. But he is a meddler. The world rules according to him. He changes time, rules, lives, and loves to eat children. Now that the series is over, I feel a bit bored because I used to love waiting in anticipation for the next book. But I know that the author did right in winding up the story quickly instead of stretching it longer than needed.Please don’t say that I am a baby or some offensive insult like that just because I like to read books about vampires. There are millions around the world who love these. Actually, I like them almost as good as - or maybe even better than - Harry Potter.The reason being that Harry always has a repeat of the last book - goes to Hogwarts, celebrates Christmas, then is captured by Voldemort and then escapes. I’m not saying that it’s boring - it’s just a bit predictable. But in Darren Shan, the books are all totally different.And Darren doesn’t always manage to escape...
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