I loved the Cirque Du Freak series. It was awesome. So to say I was excited for the story of Larten Crepsley is an understatement.
The story begins with a very young Larten living in a crowded house working a terrible job with an abusive supervisor, circa sometime in the late 1800's or early 1900's. One day his best friend/brother/cousin, Vur, is killed by said abusive supervisor. Larten calmly responds by stabbing the supervisor in the neck. Running from the law, with nowhere to go and a storm setting in, he hides out in a crypt where he meets Seba, an ancient but kind vampire who's willing to teach Larten the ways of the night!
Perhaps BIRTH OF A KILLER isn't on the scale of storytelling epicness of Shan's other series - sometimes it felt more like a biography than adventure - but I loved exploring Larten's past and experiences that made him who he was later. The story never stays in one place too long - a lot of skipping - he's a teenager, wait now it's been a few years, oh wait now he's a vampire, did we skip the half-vampire stage? I would have preferred to follow more chronologically and stayed longer in the different stages of his life.
Shan's gift for creating imaginative, fascinating characters continues in BIRTH OF A KILLER. I loved them! And the cameos from the Cirque Du Freak series was a blast. The only downside being that since the last CDF book (Sons of Destiny) came out in 2006, even I, Jake Kirk: Black Belt in Suave, Debonair Demeanor and Licensed Love Docter(Ph.D), had trouble remembering a lot of the characters. My good friend Wikipedia and I took several strolls down memory lane to jump-start my memory.
I didn't mind checking stuff out but be aware there's a heavy focus on nostalgia from the Cirque Du Freak series so I recommend reading that first.
BOTTOMLINE: I went in expecting more of an epic adventure on par with Shan's other tales but got more of a memoir. Disappointing? No, I just had to change my expectations. Lovers of the Cirque Du Freak series will relish this background tale of Larten Crepsley, one of the greatest series characters of all time. Fun, entertaining and a perfect read for Halloween!