if you want to read the "Cirque Du Freak" books, please start with number 1. if you don't, it is unlikely that you will understand much. these books have a devoted fan base, and you can visit the authors website, ([...]) and look at the beautiful fan art that some kids have drawn. I have read every book in this series up to Trials of Death, and I am trying to get my hands on "the vampire prince". these books really make you want to keep reading, and most of the books end with you wondering what will happen next. and don't let reading level fool you- I am in the eigth grade, 13 years old, and I love these books. these books are written WONDERFULLY, they are full of emotion, action, violence, and gore. some parts are also very very sad, and I almost cried a few times, which is something I am not at all likely to do. but be warned, these books aren't for kids who are scared easily. there is an awful lot of death and graphic violence, which I think is great, but might upset the faint of heart. if you like books about vampires, fantasy, or just want something great to read, buy the first book in this series today! and these books aren't about dracula-style vampires- the creatures in these books are VERY believable. don't expect them to grow fangs or change into bats. from this series, my favorite characters were Evra Von, Darren Shan, and Kurda Smahlt (although he did something... well, read and find out). overall, this entire series is GREAT. please please please read them! each book seems better than the last one! and on a sad note, the author has sold the movie rights. you might think that is great, but I have a horrible feeling that the movie will be rated PG and the characters will be messed up. oh well. READ THESE BOOKS!