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The chilling Saga of Darren Shan, the ordinary schoolboy plunged into the vampire world. Darren goes to a banned freak show with his best mate Steve. It's the wonderfully gothic Cirque Du Freak where weird, frightening half human/half animals appear who interact terrifyingly with the audience. Darren - a spider freak - 'falls in love' with Madam Octa - an enormous tarantala owned by Mr Crepsley. Darren determines to steal the spider so that he can train it to perform amazing deeds. But his daring theft goes horribly wrong and Darren finds himself having to make a bargain with a creature of the night. Something out of the ordinary is set against the background of children's normal lives to chilling effect. Atmospheric, funny, realistic, moving and...terrifying.

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Book Details

ISBN: 9780006754169
ISBN-10: 0006754163
Format: Paperback
(197mm x 130mm x 12mm)
Pages: 192
Imprint: HarperCollins Children's Books
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publish Date: 4-Jan-2000
Country of Publication: United Kingdom

Reviews

UK Kirkus Review » Shan's 'true story of his bizarre life begins in this first title in a series of what promise to be chilling reads. Darren and friend Steve sneak off to an illegal freak show in the middle of the night and encounter such delights as Rhamus Twobellies and a savage wolfman. This is captivating insider stuff for pre-teens, and tension mounts as Darren steals Madame Octa, the deadly performing spider belonging to vampire Mr Crepsley. Things spiral out of control for Darren as Madame Octa attacks Steve, leaving him paralysed. Mr Crepsley makes Darren a terrifying offer: he will save Steve's life, but only if Darren agrees to leave everything behind and become an assistant vampire. Cirque Du Freak is a truly twisted tale, a strange mix of hammy gothic horror and emotional realism, and the feeling of being let in on the dark truth about a secret world keeps you turning the pages. It is a stylish book that deserves to be devoured. The children I tested it out on were better than scared: they were fascinated, and listened with rapt attention. (Kirkus UK)

US Kirkus Review » The sequel to Shan's successful horror debut (not reviewed) is another guilty pleasure. Shan, the author/narrator of this putative true account, is now a "half-vampire" and the assistant to the well-meaning vampire Mr. Crepsley. Since he refuses to drink human blood, Darren is slowly dying. After exiling himself from his family and friends, he is also lonely; so he and Mr. Crepsley return to the freak show where they met. There he bonds with Evra, the reptilian snake-handler, and Sam, a precocious human boy. Unfortunately, he also gets involved with R.V., a stereotypical unwashed hippie eco-warrior, who decides to make his next cause freeing the show's animal acts. Shan won't win any literary awards for this one-Darren's voice is stilted and unconvincing, suspense is created by contrived cliffhangers, ominous foreshadowing keeps falling from the sky like anvils, and the plot is gutted by elementary scientific blunders (such as repeated references to the python's "poison"). Once Darren becomes a freak-show insider, the eerie creepiness is not so easily maintained; but Shan more than makes up for that by ladling out great glops of macabre grotesquerie: a snake-boy who can "lick the inside of his own nose! "Mute misshapen dwarfs who "feast on human flesh! "The circus performer who "saws off his own limbs! "Gross-out horror fans will devour it and clamor for the next in the series. "(Fiction. 10-14)" (Kirkus Reviews)


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Author Biography - Darren Shan

Darren Shan is the number-one best-selling author of the series THE SAGA OF DARREN SHAN, the DEMONATA and more recently the SAGA OF LARTEN CREPSLEY and ZOM-B. His books have been read by millions of people around the world and translated into more than 25 languages. Darren lives in seclusion in the depths of Ireland. He is a big film buff, and also loves theatre, comics and books, and collecting art. He loves dreaming up new ways to terrify his readers, but never drinks blood. Or so he claims.

Books By Author Darren Shan

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