The Saga of Darren Shan 4-6

The Saga of Darren Shan 4-6

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my review of these novels [here].

The Saga of Darren Shan was written by Darren Shan and ran for twelve novels. It is a horror series aimed at middle grade and young teen readers that focuses on the adventures of half-vampire Darren Shan. The novels have been collected into four trilogies: Vampire Blood (2000 – collecting Cirque du Freak, The Vampire’s Assistant and Tunnels of Blood), Vampire Rites (2001-2002 – collecting Vampire Mountain, Trials of Death and The Vampire Prince), Vampire War (2002-2003 – collecting Hunters of the Dusk, Allies of the Night and Killers of the Dawn) and Vampire Destiny (2003-2004 – collecting The Lake of Souls, Lord of the Shadows and Sons of Destiny). For the purpose of this review, I’ll be looking at the Vampire Rites Trilogy only.

It is time for the Vampire Council and Darren and Mr Crepsley must leave the safety of the Cirque du Freak to embark on a dangerous pilgrimage. Their goal is Vampire Mountain, the remote stronghold of their clan, where they will present Darren before the Vampire Princes and celebrate the Festival of the Undead with the rest of their kind.

On the way there, they discover undeniable evidence that the vampaneze are also heading towards the mountain. Afraid of what their sworn rivals are planning, Mr Crepsley hurries to make the Princes aware and Darren learns of an ancient prophecy which speaks of the vampaneze eventually wiping out the vampires. Many of those gathered at the council are fearful that those days are close at hand.

However, Darren has more pressing concerns. It is unheard of for vampires to blood someone as young as he is and the Vampire Princes are not happy. To save Mr Crepsley’s honour, Darren agrees to undergo five trials to prove his worth as a vampire. It sounds simple enough but the Trials of Death can easily prove fatal for a true vampire. With the disadvantage of his human blood, Darren must work twice as hard, especially when failure carries an automatic death sentence…  More

The Saga of Darren Shan 1-3

The Saga of Darren Shan 1-3

I reviewed the first two novels of Darren Shan’s The Demonata a couple of months back but this series was not his first foray into the genre of horror. To this day, he is probably best known for his debut young adult series, The Saga of Darren Shan.

The series spans twelve novels, further divided into four trilogies – Vampire Blood (2000 – collecting Cirque du Freak, The Vampire’s Assistant and Tunnels of Blood), Vampire Rites (2001-2002 – collecting Vampire Mountain, Trials of Death and The Vampire Prince), Vampire War (2002-2003 – collecting Hunters of the Dusk, Allies of the Night and Killers of the Dawn) and Vampire Destiny (2003-2004 – collecting The Lake of Souls, Lord of the Shadows and Sons of Destiny). Since publishing, it has been translated into 30 different languages and is still in print worldwide. For the purpose of this review, I will be looking at the Vampire Blood Trilogy only.

In Cirque du Freak we are introduced to a school boy called Darren Shan who enjoys nothing more than playing football with his best friend, Steve “Leopard” Leonard. The two boys’ lives change drastically when they receive tickets to a secret freak show. They both find themselves drawn to one performer in particular – the mysterious Larten Crepsley. Steve is fascinated by the man himself, realising immediately that he is a vampire, while Darren only has eyes for Madame Octa, the deadly spider that Mr Crepsley uses in his act.

Desperate to become a vampire himself, Steve begs Mr Crepsley to turn him but the performer refuses as he believes the school boy to have bad blood. Darren, however, is far more successful in his endeavours and manages to steal Madame Octa. At first, he seems to have gotten away with his crime but during a tragic accident Steve is bitten and the spider’s venom leaves him in a critical condition. Knowing that he needs to save his friend, Darren approaches Mr Crepsley for the antidote and is offered a terrible choice. Mr Crepsley will only save Steve if Darren agrees to become his half-vampire apprentice…

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