myshelf.com | 01 September 2001 | Beverly J Rowe
The Vampire's Assistant is the frightening sequel to "Cirque Du Freak - The Saga of Darren Shan."Darren is learning to cope with his new identity as a half vampire. He is lonely and misses his family and friends now that he must accompany his vampire mentor, Mr. Crepsley. Darren has a conscience... he hates having to drink blood, and steadfastly refuses to partake of human blood, even though Mr. Crepsley tells him he will die unless he does.They decide to search for the Cirque Du Freak, that was originally responsible for Darren's present state, and to join them where Darren will be accepted regardless of what he has become, and he can make friends.The Circus has some strange members; vivid, interesting characters like the Snake Boy, Evra, who becomes Darren's friend, his poison python (real ones do not have fangs, and are not poison... but hey, this is a fantasy!) and the wolf man who must be kept caged. There are the small, silent people in the dark blue capes, and Hans Hands and the ever-helpful Truska. Darren makes friends with Sam, a boy from the local countryside and starts a chain of events that lead to a fast paced gruesome finale.Will Darren hold to his principals and NOT drink human blood... and die???Shan writes compelling, scary stories for kids, but while they do have blood and gore in them, they also address some moral issues, and show the importance of friendship and sticking to your moral and ethical standards. Older teens would enjoy this series and it's just in time for fun Halloween reading.
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