Children's Literature (USA) | 27 April 2010 | Christopher Moning
An enthusiastic blurb from J.K. Rowling should give this book, the sixth in Darren Shan's "Saga of Darren Shan" series, a big boost at the bookstores. Frankly, it needs all the help it can get. The half-vampire, Darren Shan, finds himself in another fight for his life, this time against the vampeneze, purple-skinned vampires who kill their victims. Betrayed to the vampaneze by his friend, Kurda, Darren spends the opening chapters recovering from injuries with the help of some friendly wolves. Returning to Vampire Mountain, Darren warns the "good" vampires of the evil plans of the vampeneze. A bloody battle ensues, and Darren feels an attack of conscience when he kills a couple of vampaneze. These are the best moments of this series gone stale-the moments where Darren recollects his humanness, and the crises of conscience unique to human beings. Shan has rewritten the book on the vampire genre. Very few of the horror cliches hold water in this series. No silver bullets, no garlic protection, very little sucking of blood. The original premise of a conflicted young man-who shares a name with the author-yearning for his human family and his lost way of life, has been overlooked along the way. Let's hope Shan gets back on track with book seven.
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