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on January 27, 2010
I thought this one was just as good as the first one. It was a quick fast paced read and well written. I liked the descriptions of the "Little People" which reminded me of a real ugly twisted version of munchkins. What was also interesting was the relationship between Mr Crepsley and Darren. Although they dislike each other, they also both realize that they have to work together as well and it's those times when I think their relationship is great to see. Sometimes when I see them fighting, Darren just acts like as spoiled brat I'm surprise Mr Crepsley puts up with him upto now.

Whether Darren has developed, I'm not sure. There are moments when he still acts like a child (which he is) and then there are times when he has moments of maturity I didn't like him very much in this novel because of his behavior it seemed almost quick and changeable in temperment. At times I liked him for his humor and ability to have fun despite his circumstances, and other times he just acted like a spoiled selfish brat who needed a good scolding. You don't really read much about the characters around him, as the book focused a lot more on Darren and his relationships with other characters. I wish I could have read more on Mr Tiny and his little people. They sounded really creepy and I wonder if they return anytime soon in the next novel.

Also missing is Steve. He was such a central figure in the first one, yet not even mentioned in this book. Perhaps he'll be coming soon in the next few books? I hope so! their next meeting would really prove to be interesting. There were many unanswered questions for me but I realize this is a book with less than 200 pages and you can only fit as much information as you. Besides, it makes you want to carry onto the next book in the series. I will definitely be continuing onto reading this one. The ending wasn't much of a cliffhanger as it was in the first book, but it was a good one, to close one part of the story in Darren's life.

Overall a good quick read and a great sequel to Cirque du Freak. I will be reading the next one as soon as I can get my hands on it.
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on November 25, 2009
I liked this book. It was short and simple and sweet. It made me cringe though, as Darren has a fondness for spiders as I love my cats and spiders aren't exactly my favorite insect in the world. There's a nice underlying creepiness throughout the book which I enjoyed as it kept me focused and my attention did not wander off. It was extremely fast paced and the book was far from boring. There were a few revelations and some parts where I thought sounded so predictable, actually surprised me as it didn't go the way I thought it would. Although I rather figured Steve would go the way he would, but if he didn't, the book wouldn't have ended as it has and it wouldn't have been as exciting.

I like Steve though, he's fearless and he's got a reckless streak that you can immediately identify as him being the one bringing all the trouble (not on purpose) but it's him that keeps the plot flowing and making it exciting. Although Darren is the main character, if it weren't for Steve in many aspects of the story, the plot would have stayed flat. I like Darren for his loyalty, although it didn't do much good anyway.

There's a great cliffhanger ending, and now I'm left wanting to read some more. It's certainly a great start to the series and will keep readers interested and engrossed as to what will happen next to these two boys. The only thing I thought was a little odd was sometimes the boys talked like adults so at times it just didn't sound so real, although I'm willing to let it go. The book was good enough that you can just ignore that little error.

Overall, a wonderful start to an interesting series. It gives freak shows a whole new meaning of creepiness and with a cliffhanger ending, you're bound to swallow this series up like candy.
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on October 28, 2009
I use the Cirque Du Freak series in my 8th grade classroom to get my students (mainly boys) who just "hate reading" into books. I have watched refusing readers start the series, and within the first few chapters, they're hooked. They now come to me every few days to borrow the next book in the series!
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on July 10, 2009
Relive the first novel in the most action-packed, fast-paced thriller of a series ever to rule the human and vampire world with this newly published CIRQUE DU FREAK manga.

The story surrounds Darren Shan, the infamous spider lover. On his way home one night he is given a flyer to a circus. Not just any other regular circus, however - this is the circus of freaks. Accompanied by his friend, Steve, Darren witnesses the most peculiar and amazing acts that no other circus has to offer.

Among these acts are Larten Crepsley and his spider, Madam Octa. It was like love at first sight for Darren as the hypnotic and magnificent spider did her act. Little did Darren know that Madam Octa and the brash decisions Darren himself would be making shortly would change his life forever.

Darren's world goes from circus of freaks to the underworld of vampires in a flash.

Takahiro Arai's art is extremely mesmerizing and helps the reader picture what the characters look like, or how they should look in the upcoming Cirque du Freak movie. Each manga will mirror each novel, and the manga is read in a true right-to-left fashion and even incorporates some Japanese, such as gokuku = gulp or hena = flop.

The story itself may be old, but seeing it in this new light is refreshing and brings back memories of when I first read it in 7th grade.

Open up your wallet, because once you read the manga, you are going to want to read the novel itself!

Reviewed by: Randstostipher "tallnlankyrn" Nguyen
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on April 14, 2007
I have never read a vampire novel in my life. I have never even seen a vampire movie. I was hesitant to read these books; scared I'd be bored, or scared spitless.

I began reading and realized a few things immediately; the book was a very easy read, and the language used had very little depth to it. I was not enveloped in the storyline, but not bored. The books seemed, as a whole, very juvenile and contrived. I felt that all of the situations were far too convenient; it wasn't horrifying, as I had imagined a vampire story to be. That being said: I would recommend this book to pre-teens, ages 10 and up. The story isn't terribly gruesome but has enough to keep the kids excited about it. It won't give them nightmares, but it's suspenseful. Adults may be bored by the "soft" storyline, especially if they are used to typically graphic vampire stories, although it is a nice easy read for a lazy evening.
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on April 6, 2007
I had to luck to read an advanced copy of both Trial of Death (book 5) and Vampire Prince (book 6). The two concerns I had when I started to read were: First, that I would be lost since I had not read the first four. Second, that I would get the awkward and strange vampire names all mixed up. Both concerns were baseless. Each book is a complete story unto it's self; I never felt that I had missed a vital fact by skipping the first four books. As far as the names go... the characters were very well written, I had a clear image of Darren (the hero) and each vampire, wolf, vampaneeze etc... A sign of a good book for me is to actually care about each character, and these books succeeded in doing that. After I had read book 5, I was very thankful that I had book 6 because it was a HUGE cliffhanger!

Book 5 (Trials of Death) was about the trials (vampire tests of skill) that Darren Shan endured in his quest to be accepted in the vampire colony. The down side is that if he doesn't pass his tests, he will be put to death. The choosing, training, executing of the trials moved quickly, I liked that I never felt the story line was dragging. There was a festival/feast at which vampires played the so called "vampire games". I found that to be my favorite part, as it made the vampires seem very human like - they like to play, laugh, feast and have a good time. In this book, all is not what it seems. By the end, my idea of who was good and who was evil had been turned upside down.

Book 6 (Vampire Prince) is the continuation Darren's story. He has to expose a former friend as a traitor, turn him into the Vampires, and hope that they believe (and not kill him). This book was different from book 5, in that I felt maturity in Darren that had not been there in book 5. Book 6 was more about his path to becoming who he was meant to be - a man. He has to face his own beliefs and faults. It was still action packed and had plenty of fighting scenes and suspense. It also had an amazing ending.

I had requested books 5 and 6 of the Cirque Du Freak books so that I could decide weather or not theses books would be appropriate for my 13-year-old son. After reading both of them, I got onto amazon.ca and purchased books 1 through 4 for him! I also posted my review on amazon.ca. Theses books are perfect for the so called "tweens". I would highly recommend any Darren Shan book to any and all of my friends who have boys 10 years old and above. However... I gotta say - I will be reading all of these books myself.
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on March 12, 2007
Cirque Du Freak

By Darren Shan

What would you think vampires are like? The typical answer would be, they bite your neck with their sharp pointy fangs and make you bleed to death. But that's not the real story. First of all, vampires don't have fangs, they use their sharp nails to penetrate your skin. Another thing is that they don't kill you, they just leave a nasty scar on your neck, and when you wake up in the morning, you think that aliens have attacked! I mean, who made up the story of UFO's? Of course, the vampires did!

What happens in Cirque Du Freak is that the main character, Darren and his friends find out that there is a freak show in an old play theatre, but they can't decide who should go since they only have two tickets. The four friends had a draw and surprisingly, Darren got the ticket while his eyes were closed! When they get to the freak show, they see all these mysterious creatures that look really scary. One even bit off a women's hand! The main thing at the freak show was Madame Octa. Madame Octa is a spider that listens to your thoughts and obeys your commands unless you are not focused. Then Darren gets into trouble and Steve gets bitten by the poisonous Madame Octa and is paralyzed and is dying by the second! Darren has to risk one of his most important things to save his best friend's life.

Darren has a very realistic personality which makes him easy to relate to. He is very courageous, he takes risks, and never gives up. Surprisingly, Darren is also very caring to his siblings (not like some other brothers). Darren's best friend Steve wants to be vampire after seeing Mr. Crepsley at a freak show. He is willing to do anything to be a vampire...even giving up his family. He's crazy!

The settings in Cirque Du Freak are great because they give you lots of suspense and make you want to read more to find out. Also, the setting in this book sets the mood which is creepy and gloomy. Cirque Du Freak takes place mainly in the neighborhood of Darren's family. But some parts of the story take place in an old, abandoned theatre on the other side of town, and that is where Steve gets the idea of being a vampire.

One of the most important themes to remember is that things can't always go right for you if it means something going right for someone else. Like when Darren had to turn into a half-vampire just to save his best friend's life. Another thing to remember is that you shouldn't always trust someone that you don't know very well. When Darren stole Madame Octa (an enormous spider who can do incredible tricks) he wasn't able to control it properly so then Madame Octa bit right into Steve's neck! Another important lesson is that sometimes you have to risk your favourite things just to save someone else. Like when Steve was bitten by Madame Octa and was paralyzed.

To make this book better, I would make the book longer since it is too short. That would mean putting in more events and taking even more time to explain the major events so that the reader will have to keep on reading to find out the good parts. Also, I would add more characters that can make the book more interesting and have more than one event going on at a time.

Cirque Du Freak is a great book because it is very tense and events just suddenly pop up. I would recommend this book to people age 10-14 and like freaky stories. I hope you enjoy the book!
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on July 6, 2004
Darren Shan does it agian. Yet another awsome addition to the series. For my this tied as my top favorite book in the series. Its packed with action and suprizes. Hardly ever a dull moment. I guess the only complaint I have is having to wait for these books to come out. They are all ready up to book 11 in the UK! If you want my advice, definatly by this book. I will probably read it over and over. A must have if you are a fan of the series.
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on June 30, 2004
Theis was an excellent example of creative wirting. The complexity of the plot has allowed the author to write seven books without a single miswriten one. This is a book i would recomend for anyone who enjoys a good book.
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on June 25, 2004
I have loved this series from the start until I got to book four, "Vampire Mountian." I was strongly disapointed in that one and decided I wasnt going to read the fifth for a while. Finally, I decided to read it and I wasnt even slightly disapointed. It was truely amazing. In my oppinion, far better and the other four. It is full of twists and unpreictably turns. I have yet to read the fifth and sixth, but I am afraid that my expections are now so high I might be disapointed agian. BUY THIS BOOK. It definatly rocks!
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