50 Books In A Year Challenge | 16 February 2013 | Scott Place

The gruesome ending of the second book of the Larten Crepsley saga left the vampire stranded in Greenland with a human baby, with no will to live. However after a fateful encounter with destiny at the tomb of Peter Vin-Grahl he escapes the icy wasteland to raise the child in a human family in Paris. This decision finds Larten, once again, attempting to live a human life. However this time he falls in love with the child's surrogate mother. Here he lives happily until he is reacquainted with the vampire lowlife Tanish Eul which results in treachery of the highest order... dealings with a cruel vampaneze named Randel Chayne. This leads to Larten's flight from Paris to resume his training as a vampire general at their mountainous retreat. However once again a vampire's life is never peaceful and he is summoned back to Paris to find his son Gavner Purl.

 

Palace of the Damned is a vast improvement on the last book as it thoroughly explores the weaknesses of the newly initiated general. We also see the vampire's life through various world events such as the Great War, which is seen by the vampires as a heartless waste of life and an abomination, leading to my favourite chapter in the saga as Larten leads a group of troops stranded in no-mans land to their trenches in an attempt to atone for his sins. It is these sort of chapters that make the saga for me as they show the changing vampire in situations where he is not seeking revenge but he is showing the sort of characteristics that we would expect from the wise general in the original saga. Like the preceding novels "Palace of the Damned" experiences time jumps spanning years and often decades as Larten continues his training and his human friends age. This can lead to the story feeling condensed however the areas that Shan focusses on are well structured and paced, this easily draws the reader into the story and you begin to really care about Crepsley as he leaves his bloodthirsty self behind and begins to mature. Finally the story ends on an epic cliffhanger that will leave the reader thirsting for the final instalment.

 

The third book in the Larten Crepsley saga is a thrilling novel which sets up nicely for the final novel through Larten's character development and the introduction of characters such as Gavner Purl and an adult Arra Sails. The story is rich and engaging and chapters such as the war segment are enjoyable and a nice change from the typical vampire chapters. In conclusion, if you are interested in vampire/ horror series' then "Palace of the Damned" is an excellent reason to begin the Saga of Larten Crepsley as it finds a great balance of action and story which will draw you into Shan's world. 4/5 Stars

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