School LIbrary Journal (USA) | 26 April 2010 | John Sigwald
Darren Shan, the loquacious vampire's assistant, narrates another blood-and-guts tale. Having tracked a horror-movie-stereotype vampire in their previous adventure, Darren and his master, Larten Crepsley, take another hiatus from the bizarre circus of the series title to make a pilgrimage to the Halls of Vampire Mountain to meet with the generals and princes in charge. The peregrinators are accompanied by a pair of ugly, speechless Little People who carry an ominous message for the council from their "old as time itself" master, Mr. Tiny. The road is perilous, of course, and getting to their destination is only half of the problem. Darren's biggest challenge, following a run-in with a crazed grizzly bear and a foolhardy confrontation with a rare, Xena-like vampiress, comes in defending his maker, the one who inexplicably violated the proscription against blooding a child. While the previous trio of "Cirque du Freak" books could each relatively stand alone, this fourth entry marks a definite transition, a critical segue into adventures to come that will revolve around Mr. Tiny's foreboding and Darren's impending Trials of Initiation (book nine is already in the works in the U.K.). The book ends with a "to be continued" teaser along with an excerpt from the next book.
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