This next book by Darren Shan, Birth of a Killer, is not only the beginning of a series, it’s the beginning of the beginning; the first book of the new Cirque du Freak prequel series.
Let me begin by saying how much I enjoyed the Cirque du Freak series. For the longest time, while living in Japan, I noticed so many of my students (particularly the guys) reading these books, and I had never heard of them, so I decided to check them out. They offer a great new take on the vampire mythology that is so much more fun than the goofy and girly Twilight series (though to be fair, I’ve never read the Twilight books). Not only do they offer an interesting take on vampires, they also delve into the world of the traveling freak show and are generally really well written. Can’t recommend them enough if you like vampires and children’s literature (well, more young adult, these are a bit violent for children).
Anyway, this book, Birth of a Killer is the first book in the new Saga of Larten Crepsley series. Flashing back hundreds of years prior, this follows the childhood of Larten Crepsley, Darren Shan’s (the character, not the author. Yes, he named him after himself…) vampire master in the original series. Long story short, same great universe, same easy to read writing style, but this time rather than being set in the modern world is set before the days of the industrial revolution. Definitely worth a read, though I recommend reading the Cirque du Freak books first, and I would imagine if you like them, you’d read this even without my suggestion.