epinions.com | 03 August 2005 | ???
The Face of Evil Has Been Seen ... But All Is Not What It Seems... Aug 03 '05 (Updated Sep 17 '05)Author's Product Rating Product Rating: 5.0Pros A nice continuation of the series, tons of litle things.Cons Felt a little empty ... like something was missing in the storyline.The Bottom Line Shan continues on with his saga; braving the threat of the unseen vampaneze Lord and coming into his own as a vampire prince. Full Review When I got done reading “The Vampire Prince” and it had such a dramatic ending I couldn’t wait to start reading “Hunters of The Dusk”. The teaser that was included in the previous book made no sense to me - usually Shan puts the first few pages of the next book at the end of the previous book then recaps events in the first few pages of the next. When I read the teaser for “Hunters of The Dusk” it really confused me - there was no real connection between where he left off. When I got this book and tore into it I realized that the teaser was from about 80 pages into the book - so what you are reading at the end of “The Vampire Prince” was probably a rough draft and he elected to add further information to fill in the gaps. Who knows, maybe he did it to throw people off - I’m just speculating. Maybe it was done intentionally to keep you guessing. What ever the case, this book holds a lot of hidden meaning to the saga of Darren Shan. When you read it and complete it, you sort of feel like it was ‘empty’, that were was no true conclusion to things but that’s when you have to stop and look at all the things you learned, were exposed to and the hints that were dropped.Cirque Du Freak: Hunters of The DuskIt’s been fourteen years since Darren Shan became a half vampire at the hands of Larten Crepsley. He’s traveled with the Cirque, witnessed the vampaneze in action, become a prince and now he is faced with another task; being chosen one of the three that would embark on the quest to find and kill the Lord of the vampaneze. The identity of this former human, you learn in this book that he has been half blooded, is still not disclosed but I am standing by my assumption that it has to be Darren Shan’s former best friend Steve Leopard. Steve vowed to track Darren down and kill him when he found out that Darren was to become a half vampire - after all it was Steve that discovered the true identity of Crepsley and he felt that he deserved to be made a vampire, even if it were as an assistant. This is where the earlier books come into play - you have to remember what Crepsley said when he tested Steve’s blood - he said he was evil. If the Lord turns out to be someone else I am going to fall off my chair.“Hunters of The Dusk” has a good mix of action and intensity but at the same time there are slow parts. As tempting as it may be to skip over sections, if you do so, you are going to miss out on the small things that Shan adds to the story. Things that might not be revealed for two or three books. That is one of the many reasons that I really enjoy reading his work and tear through them at a feverish pace. I managed to knock this one off in under two hours - but that seems to be my average for one of the Cirque books these days. There are many thing revealed in this book as well as the introduction, finally, of another of the princes, Vancha March. Since he was in the midst of battle he did not attend the council meeting. He knew of Shan and that he was made a prince and took great delight at watching him over the course of a few days while Crepsley, Harkat and Shan made their way to the cave of Lady Evanna. She plays a rather large part in the war between the vampires and vampaneze but even though she is in the thick of things, she remains neutral. That is a hard concept to comprehend but once you read the book, you will understand exactly what I mean.After Shan was made a prince and took on the duties expected of one, he remained inside Vampire Mountain until the unexpected arrival of Mr. Tiny, the keeper of the Little People, revealed that he was one third of the party that would have the chance to end the war between the creatures of the night. Lady Evanna is one of the stops that they make and this is when Darren is told that he has the power to help Harkat. The Little Person is having a terrible time; he had to make a choice between learning who he was before he died or accompanying Darren and Crepsley on their quest. By passing up the opportunity that Mr. Tiny gave him to know his past he condemned himself to grotesque nightmares and having to wait for his past to be revealed to him. When Lady Evanna told Darren that he had the power to ease his ills he was told some very dark things as well as being shown visions of what Harkat saw in his dreams. There is mention of The Lord of Destruction and The Master of Shadows. That sounds pretty ominous but when she continues to tell him that there are two paths the future holds, Shan learns that in one of them he is this harbinger of sorrow.Through all this Shan has entered what is called “the purge” when a half vampires blood starts to change into a full vampire. It is sort of like when a child hits a growth spurt. He is stronger, faster and his sense are sharpened but he is still able to move around in the daylight. After he accepted his appointment as a prince and was blooded before the Stone of Blood the purge came quicker than expected but it would be some time before it would completely overtake him and he would be a complete vampire. This is one of the things that I really enjoy about Shan’s writings - even though they are about far fetched topics, he keeps things as realistic as possible so you are sucked into the story. Sometimes writers tend to romanticize the life of a vampire. Shan embraces it but never fails to mention the darker side of things that come with ‘immortality’. I like to think of this book as a stepping stone in the series, it has some very critical information in it that you have to read to understand things that have happened and things that will happen - but there’s no real conclusion to the events that take place in the book. In others you have some kind of closure to the story - even if it is only a part of it that is tied up - with this you are left hanging and wondering how long this quest to find the Lord will last.The Cirque Du Freak SeriesSo far I haven’t been disappointed with the Cirque Du Freak series and I highly recommend it to anyone that is interested in vampires, reads dark comics or is into horror flicks. Even though these are geared towards teens and can be found in the teen fiction section of bookstores and libraries, they are a compelling read for adults as well. If you are into the Buffy or Angel books or comics then this is something that you should definately check out. Shan really fooled me - I started out thinking that there were six books in the series then discovered that there were ten - but I was wrong. There are a total of twelve books and since I haven’t gotten my hands on the last two yet I can’t say whether or not it’s the end of the series or if there will be more.The Bottom LineI really can’t stress this enough; if you start reading one of the books and it gets a little dull - you have to give it time. Things are often calmest before the storm and these slow parts are filled with small things that eventually grow into huge plot twists. When I got done with this book something didn’t sit right with me - it just didn’t feel complete to me, like part of the story was missing or it wasn’t as adventurous as the others. While this doesn’t have nearly as much violence or bloodshed in it as some of the others, there are a lot of facts presented that are too mammoth in size to ignore. If you are going to embark on reading the series then you have to read the whole thing - every page, every line - and trust me when I say this - even the things that seem insignificant or trivial are not always what they seem. As I said, I have not been disappointed with the series yet and I recommend this to all my friends that are into darker reads. Even though there is no real closure to the story in this installment, it is shaping up to be one hell of a battle between the vampire and the vampaneze!
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