Inis Magazine | 13 November 2011 | Barry Hutchison

Let’s be quite clear here – as a horror author, part of me wanted to hate this. Darren Shan has been considered the master of children’s and young adult horror for over a decade now, and it’s high time one of us new guys got a chance at the title. But Shan doesn’t seem to see things that way, and he’s only gone and written something great once again. How selfish can you get?

 

Palace of the Damned is the third in the Saga of Larten Crepsley series. A prequel of sorts to Shan’s original vampire saga, this series tells the origin of Crepsley, one of the main vampire characters from those books.

 

This book sees Larten stranded in the Arctic and carrying a baby that he is determined to save. It has all all the usual scares you’d expect from a Darren Shan book, but this book feels more substantial than some of his others. This is largely down to the characterisation of Crepsley, and his growing relationship with this child in his care.

 

It’s interesting to watch the Crepsley character develop, but I suspect those who haven’t read Cirque Du Freak and the other titles in that series will be less interested. There are enough hints and recaps to get new readers up to speed, but I’d definitely recommend reading this as part of the series, rather than as a standalone novel.

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