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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