50 Books in a Year Challenge | 10 February 2013 | Scott Place

In my last review, I looked at Darren Shan's "Birth of a Killer". This was a surprisingly enjoyable read which left the characters of Larten Crepsley and Wester in a group of rebellious cubs, in order to enjoy luxuries of the human world before they fully enter that of the vampires. At the beginning of the sequel "Ocean of Blood", Larten and Wester are spending their years drinking gambling and womanising with the war packs. This is until they have a fateful encounter with a lone vampaneze which causes rebel leader Tanish Eul's excommunication and the cubs to return to their masters. It is here that the story really kicks off as Larten and Wester observe the American Civil War and meet the familiar characters of Vancha March, Arra Sails and Evanna. However, Larten still does not feel that he fits in with the clan and he leaves Vampire Mountain, seeking solitude in the wilderness. It is in his loneliness that we discover much about Larten's past, dark side and various bites of information about the world such as how he got his infamous scar...

 

The second Larten Crepsley book is a very enjoyable read, containing an excellent blend of horror, comedy and tragedy as we follow the lonely vampire through some of his darkest years. One of the scenes in the novel is incredibly gruesome and will shock a new reader to Shan's novels, however it serves a great purpose to the development of the Crepsley character and sets up finely for the next book. Not to my surprise, Shan uses this chapter of the saga to introduce many more interesting characters to the story, including (finally) some strong females in the form of Evanna and Malora. The plot is much more focused in Ocean of Blood than the previous novel and the reader does not suffer significant time jumps (my main criticism of the last book) which I felt distorted the story. Also the writing is easy to read with an blend of humour and suspense which makes the novel varied and fun to read, allowing the reader to finish it in one sitting without any difficulty. Finally the character of Larten Crepsley becomes much more interesting as we look at one of his lowest points as a young vampire and how he developed from a reckless cub to an entirely different being...

 

In conclusion the second instalment in the Saga of Larten Crepsley is fun and interesting as Darren Shan gives us even more backstory to one of the best characters in the original vampire saga. While introducing us to younger, more familiar vampires and setting Larten on a dark and mysterious path hooking the reader for the next book.

 

4/5 Stars.

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