Darren Shan has been one of my favorite authors since I, a day in the autumn or winter of 2003, laid my hands on the Norwegian edition of Cirque du freak, the first book in the Saga of Darren Shan. Since then I’ve been hooked.
Therefore I got quite happy when I came a cross his two newest creations at Stansted Airport UK. One of them was “The Thin executioner.”
The thing that always attract me with Darren Shan’s books is the really serious matter hidden inside the book. In “The Thin executioner” we meet young Jebel Rum, he is the youngest child of the towns executioner in a world and society that seems to be far from ours but we soon realize that is closer to ours than first anticipated.
The society in this book is run by tyrans and savages, and it’s filled with violence, people don’t care for one another. It’s a world where colored people has taken control it’s weird to be white, and many, many people are slaves. You can’t trust strangers because they are most likely to betray you, and your honour is the most important in life.
We meet young Jebel Rum at the moment when he’s humiliated by his father and this makes him see red, which make him into do a quest to Tubaygat to petition the God of fire, Sabbah Eid, to become invincible. With him on his journey to quest the God he has a Slave, Tel Hesani, which will be sacrificed to the God when they get to the mountain called Tubaygat. It’s a long way and a lot can happen.
I enjoyed this book very much, as I always does when I read any of Darren Shan’s books. He has a way of telling a story which makes everything so clear and he always leave small hints for you (you usually finds them the second time you read the given book). There’s always a red tread through the story, the characters develop.
In “The Thin Executioner*” we meet Jebel as a young, arrogant boy, he doesn’t think much about others, he does things that suits himself and not to help others. He got a gut full of pride and hopes to marry the Debbat Alg, the high lords daughter and he wants to become the next executioner. When he experience a country where slavery is forbidden and executions are rare he can’t understand how that country can restrain their criminals, he doesn’t approve of Jails and he think of slaves as animals, even Tel Hesani which saves his back several times.
During the book Jebel experience what it is like to be a slave, he experience what it’s like to freeze, be poor and starving, being forced into doing things he doesn’t want to do and bit by bit he evolves into a more humble person and he learns the value of life.
Earlier in this post I stated that I believe this is a society not far from ours and by that I mean that we, these days, get’s more and more soaked up in ourself and things that matter to ourselves, and in that way we stop caring about other people. There are wars going on in the world approximately 16 wars at all time, and then the newspaper keep stating that Paris Hilton didn’t wear panties. Why do we care about these small things when big bad things are happening in the far corners of the world?
We have grown into a people who doesn’t care about others as long as the bad suff don’t happen to us. If a man is shoot dead, we rather hear about how the L.A. celebrities partied in the weekend because we didn’t know him. We are careless and we don’t care about it. And then we have religious wars, they are going on in the world right now. The wars going in the middle east right now, it’s about religion (I’m not saying it’s the only reason).
The Thin Executioner touches parts of our world that we don’t want to see ourselves, we rather read it in a fictional book, because it’s fictional. I do not know it the author, Darren Shan, was aware of this and did it intentionally or not, but this is my personal interpretation of the book’s theme and message.
Another thing that are appealing about Shan’s books is the lack of romance, I’m so tired of all these teen books overfilled with fake romance dreamt of in the world of fantasies. Shan’s books are about real issues.