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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing New Series
Fourteen-year-old Darren Shan has always had an infatuation with spiders. He dreams about them, saves them, owns them, etc. So when he attends a showing of the Cirque Du Freak with his best friend Steve "Leopard" Leonard, and is introduced to an amazing spider named Madam Octa, Darren knows that he absolutely must have her, so he comes up with a plan to steal the spider,...
Published on June 8 2004 by Erika Sorocco

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3.0 out of 5 stars Not a Cross-Over
Occasionally a children's book makes a magical leap into the hearts of the grownups as well as its targeted audience. "Cirque du Freak" is not one of them.
Pre-teen Darren is our narrator and the nom de plume of the author. The story takes place in Anytown. It sounds like the U.S.A, but was originally published in the UK. The book has an uneven pace mixing...
Published on May 28 2001 by sweetmolly


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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing New Series, June 8 2004
By 
Erika Sorocco (Southern California, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Fourteen-year-old Darren Shan has always had an infatuation with spiders. He dreams about them, saves them, owns them, etc. So when he attends a showing of the Cirque Du Freak with his best friend Steve "Leopard" Leonard, and is introduced to an amazing spider named Madam Octa, Darren knows that he absolutely must have her, so he comes up with a plan to steal the spider, and blackmail her owner, Mr. Crepsley. What he doesn't realize is just how dangerous the spider is, and that the world Madam Octa is from, is filled with vampires, and things that go bump in the night, and, if he actually goes through with this crime, he'll end up as a major player in the game of the underworld.
Darren Shan has created an amazing new series in CIRQUE DU FREAK, that is sure to capture the attention of vampire fans the world over. His descriptions of the Cirque Du Freak show are so vivid, that you actually feel as if you are right there in the audience with Steve and Darren, watching it live. His hilarious commentary about Darren's crazy obsession with spiders, as well as his descriptions of Steve's wild antics will keep readers laughing out loud until the very last page is read. A must-read for all fans of Lemony Snicket's A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS, or the wonderful BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER book/TV series, as readers will find similarities between the two.
Erika Sorocco
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4.0 out of 5 stars Cirque Du Freak: Aliving Nightmare, May 9 2004
By 
Benjamin Ho (Bak Middle School of the Arts, West Palm Beach, Florida) - See all my reviews
A horror book that'll blow your mind. In the amazingly well written book Cirque Du Freak: A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan an ordinary school boy named, Darren Shan visits a strange and mysterious freak show with one of his best friends. His life slowly gets increasingly horrific as terrifying events cause his life to slowly go downhill eventually bringing him to the most nerve wracking choice friendship or the disparity of his own life.
This book brings horror and emotions to a new level. With an exciting storyline and lots of cliffhangers it's a book you can't put down. Many horror books have predictable plot lines and repeated storylines that you see in almost every horror story. Yet this book is different it has a constantly changing storyline, which makes the story unpredictable. Moreover it brings a unique sense of mystery that is vastly different than any other book you'll ever read.
The scenes and settings created by Darren Shan are described with massive details to form an image of what's happening in the book. Its like you're actually in the book experiencing the events. For example when Darren and his friend visited the freak show and the wolf man bit the ladies arm. You could feel the pulsing heart throbbing fear of that moment. The crowds awe, fear, and the confusion of the moment. Moreover the settings are illustrated and depicted so skillfully with words that there is no need for pictures in the novel. For instance when Darren and his friend go to the old theater. The aged look and the creepiness of the theater popped out vividly in my mind.
The characters aren't developed all that proficiently. They seem to be uncompleted and you don't ever seem to learn more about them. For example the author just said the kids names and that they were Darren's friends. You also learn brief details about them but not much more. I guess it isn't all that important but it would have improved the novel if the characters were more developed. For instance if the readers could learn more background info in order to gain a clear picture and a complete understanding of the novel. Even if the characters background info wasn't all that great. The author did do an excellent job of describing their appearance. Like you could picture the long imbedded scar on Mr.Creepsley's face. The long pause and chill you experience when you see the grotesque face of the snake boy. This really helped improve the novel. With the author's combination of descriptive settings and the characters appearance he created a topnotch novel.
The only thing disappointing about this novel is it's the length of the book. It ends to abruptly with a lousy conclusion of to be continued. Of course since it's a series it has to leave a cliffhanger. But since it's a hard to put down book, it shouldn't end that quickly. The author should have developed the book more to prevent the abruptness of its ending.
Overall this book was excellent. A horror thriller that you just can't put down. Its superb descriptions and first-rate storyline make this book the greatest horror book you'll ever read. I give it four stars for all the great qualities in this book but the lousy conclusion almost ruins the whole novel. I definitely recommend reading this book and all the other books in its series to get the complete and full excellency of the storyline.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Great fast paced start to a series!, Nov. 25 2009
By 
Karoline (Richmond BC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A must read series for reluctant readers., Oct. 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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5.0 out of 5 stars best book to read!!!!!!!!!, March 12 2004
By A Customer
This review is from: Cirque du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan Book 1 (Paperback)
I started the saga of darren shan when I was in grade 5, then they were only availible in Europe. I am now in grade 8 and I'm still hooked to the books. If you read this book you have to read the rest, and you will want to. I am ordering the books from europe and waiting for book 12.
READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cirque du Freak, June 4 2002
By A Customer
Cirque Du Freak was and is the best book I read in forth grade. This book is very exiting and has some cool people like the Bearded Lady, Snake Boy, and the Werewolf. How could I forget, Mr.Crepsley with Madam Acta (she's a trantula) who does tricks when he plays the flute and when he stops well, let's just say it's bad. I thought this book was and still is great because of the description. It was so good I felt like I was there. I rate this book five stars because it was exiting and very descriptive. I enjoyed this book very much and I bet you will to.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Good...mistakes, however..., May 29 2002
By A Customer
I was just looking at this book a while ago. All my memories are coming back- this is a perfect story to the beginning of the series Cirque Du Freak. However, I found that the story itself moved too fast for my taste, and the characters did seem a tiny bit flat, but all in all, it's okay for a horror story that actually makes more sense than most, it doesn't have as gross scenes as I've read in other books, and it does give you a taste of reality. ...
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5.0 out of 5 stars cirque du freak, May 23 2002
By A Customer
cirque du freak is about a boy named Darren Shan that has a friend named steve and later Darren steals a vampires spider and steve gets bitten by it so if you want to know what happens read Cirque du freak living nightmare. i like the book because it has alot of action and i always want to know what happens next in the book. what i learned from the book is that you should never steal from someone or else something will come to you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cirque du Freak, May 23 2002
By A Customer
Cirque du freak is a book about vampiers.The main chacter is a kid named Daren Shah. He turend into a half vampire by a vampire.The best part of the the book was wen he facked his death. It was scarey because there was so much blood in the story. When my teacher read the book out loud i was attched to the book. I learend that vampiers cant really turn into bats. The message was that you can sackerfise your life.
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5.0 out of 5 stars cirque du freak, May 23 2002
By A Customer
Cirque du freak is about a kid named Darren Shan that took a spider from a vampire. Darren Shan becomes a half vampire
I think the part when Darren Shan took the spider from Mr. Ceipsly and left a note that was really funny. When our teacher Mr. Nitz was reading it I didnï¿t want Mr. Nitz to stop reading. I was so interested.
I learned that steeling leads to bad things that could be very dangers some cases
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Cirque du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan Book 1
Cirque du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan Book 1 by Darren Shan (Paperback - Aug. 1 2002)
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