A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan

Posted June 2, 2016 in Book Review / 0 Comments

A Living Nightmare by Darren ShanA Living Nightmare by Darren Shan
Series: Cirque du Freak #1
Also in this series: The Vampire's Assistant, Tunnels of Blood, Vampire Mountain, Trials of Death, The Vampire Prince, Hunters of the Dusk, Allies of the Night, Killers of the Dawn, The Lake of Souls, Lord of the Shadows, Sons of Destiny
Published by Brown Books for Young Readers on June 1st 2002
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
Source: Owned
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Darren Shan and his best friend, Steve, get tickets to the Cirque Du Freak, a wonderfully gothic freak show featuring weird, frightening half human/half animals who interact terrifyingly with the audience. In the midst of the excitement, true terror raises its head when Steve recognizes that one of the performers-- Mr. Crepsley-- is a vampire! Steve remains after the show finishes to confront the vampire-- but his motives are surprising! In the shadows of a crumbling theater, a horrified Darren eavesdrops on his friend and the vampire, and is witness to a monstrous, disturbing plea. As if by destiny, Darren is pulled to Mr. Crepsley and what follows is his horrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires. This is Darren's story.

Main points

This book is pretty good, but I can really only consider it the beginning of a long adventure. I think the first time I started the series I got maybe a few books in. The second time I got eight books in. Now I’m starting again with the intention of reading all twelve in a row.

The story of this book seems incredibly short in comparison to the story that follows. It’s the beginning, but there was no giant quest or enemy to defeat. I couldn’t possibly be scared of Mr. Crepsley. He was just cool.

In fact, a lot of elements of the story were cool. I love how dark it could get. But it still read like a middle grade. The writing was for a young audience. Like we’re all Steve—young but still with an incredible fascination with horror. (I’m not as young as they are, but I have been obsessed with horror for many years.) But it does not really disappoint. (It gets even better later in the series.) The freak show itself is pretty awesome. (Some acts better than others.) I would want to see more of that. The performing spider, Madam Octa, is neat. The world of vampires, or what little we see of it in this book, is intriguing. At times the book gets sad, though. It’s not all fun and games. (In fact, I don’t think any of it is.)

I mean, it’s not a fantastic book, but only because it’s so short and nothing real happens. Ok, yes, he enters the world of vampires. But we don’t even know what that really entails. No adventures past that yet. That’s all in the rest of the series. On to book 2!

 reaction upon finishing

All right, cool. What’s next.

this book in one word


About Darren Shan

Darren Shan (born July 2, 1972 in London, England) is the pen name of the Irish author Darren O’Shaughnessy, as well as the name of the protagonist of his book series The Saga of Darren Shan, also known as The Cirque Du Freak Series in the United States. He is the author of The Demonata series, as well as some stand-alone books, and a series of books for adults under the alternative name of D.B. Shan.

Overall: four-stars


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