Series: Cirque du Freak #2
Also in this series: A Living Nightmare, 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 October 1st 2002
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal, Middle Grade, Young Adult
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My Name is Darren Shan. I'm a half-vampire.
I wasn't born that way. I used to be ordinary.
My days as a human were over. My nights as a vampire's assistant had begun.
Darren joins the powerful vampire Mr. Crepsley as his assistant, and they return to the mysterious freak show. There, Darren makes friends with the snake-boy, Evra Von. As he struggles with his new life as a vampire's assistant, Darren tries desperately to resist the temptation that sickens him...the one thing that can keep him alive.
But destiny is calling...
The wolf-man is waiting.
This book introduced a lot of happy things and a lot of sad things. It was pretty good. Now that I think about it, it had the same sort of minor plot that the first one did, but it introduced a lot of new things that could (and do) create bigger plots in the future. Anyway, yes, I think this book was better than the first.
I loved returning to Cirque du Freak. I love that life. So many cool interesting people/creatures. I knew it couldn’t be a setting for 12 books, but it was really neat for this one. And we get to know more about certain characters in the show that will be important later. Additionally, we’re introduced to Mr. Tiny, Mr. Tall’s horrific counterpart, and his Little People, which are fascinating.
And of course Darren actually meets some friends to lessen his depressing existence as a half-vampire, incapable of making normal human friends. This was great. I could see Darren was truly suffering. He needed this. Well—he met one non-human friend, anyway, and several acquaintances. Evra was the main one, Evra the snake-boy. He’s awesome. He and Darren get along really well. I found myself wishing that nothing would happen to that, but I think it does. We’ll see. It helps that I love snakes and want one as a pet.
Of course, Darren makes some human friends as well, even though he has to be extremely careful. (For some reason he’s not thirsting for human blood in this book as he was in the last, even though he’s dying without it.) The first friend he makes is Sam, a boy younger than him who is obsessed with the idea of joining the Cirque. He doesn’t know what Darren is. Ironically, it is he who saves Darren’s life, twice. And then the three of them meet ecowarrior R.V. The book hints at tragedy throughout, and it’s because of these two human friends. (Coincidence? I think not.) Anyway, it’s horrible, and sad, and horrible. Just further proves that you can’t make human friends when you’re a half-vampire traveling with a freak show. I can’t really blame anyone, though. It was just…a series of unfortunate events, to reference another fantastic equally-long series.
Then there was the moral decision Darren suffered with the whole time, about whether or not to drink human blood. I mean, obviously we know he has to eventually, because there are 12 books in the series and he would die without it. It’s just a matter of when. I think the whole moral dilemma is a bit ridiculous. I wouldn’t hesitate. But that’s just me. It’s not like he has to kill the people, for Zeus’ sake. People are just animals. It’s the same with them. But Darren’s young and concerned about being evil. I don’t believe in good or evil, so it wouldn’t concern me. Anyway, what happens is pretty appropriate, I think.
reaction upon finishing
this book in one word