The Book Keep | 03 May 2011 | Chris D

WARNING! IF YOU HAVE NOT YET READ 'BIRTH OF A KILLER' THEN DO NOT READ THIS REVIEW!

 

At the end of the last book, Larten and Wester were left behind by Seba so that they could have fun living in the human world with fellow young vampires called Cubs. The book starts off with Larten having a ball of a time, and when he leaves behind the Cubs he and Wester join a war pack: they observe humans fighting and then feast on the bloody corpses. It's one of these 'feasts' that provides the book's second most gruesome scenes, but the top scene for giving you nightmares is... Well, I'll talk about that later.

 

The fun and games can't last forever, though, and Larten and Wester are soon back at Vampire Mountain. Wester knows what he wants to do with his life, but Larten is not sure, and so the majority of this book sees Larten trying to find his path in life. More characters from 'The Saga of Darren Shan' are re-visited in this book, including Evanna, Arra Sails and Vancha, and whilst it is good to learn more about these characters, it also can make this book at times feel like just a re-telling of 'The Saga of Darren Shan' rather than a brand new book. But that's only at times; mostly this book feels fresh and original.

 

I mentioned before that there is a scene that will give you nightmares and that blood-drenched scene comes right at the end of the book. Don't worry, I won't spoil it for you!

 

My only main critism of this book is that, like 'Birth of a Killer', there are very few strong, original female characters. Most of the women are either: stupid and pretty humans for the Cubs to woo or a house-wife waiting for her husband to come home so she can cook the tea for him. There are some strong women, these being Lady Evanna and Malora, but even these have their sexist labels: Evanna is only liked by men when she looks gorgeous and beautiful, and Malora spends most of her time cooking and cleaning for Larten.

 

That's only one flaw, though, and does not stop this book being utterly fantastic, and the ending will have you shivering. Dark, brutal and clever, but I do hope Shan gets some more original ideas and better female characters in his future books. 5/5.

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