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4.7 out of 5 stars
4.7 out of 5 stars
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on June 5, 2004
this is the best book! i love darren shan books and when i done one i always have to wait for like three mounths.i own the whole series and well the last book i got, i treid to savour but it didnt work the book is soo intresting you just go through it like that i mean it sooo good. so wail i wait for the next book in september 2004 i have decied to read the whole series and wail, i read it slower now that ive already read it but it still exciting i mean just the excitment of darrens life is so kool it keeps me up past midnight. so now that im reading the series again by the time i get to september ill be ready to read the next book and ill remember what just happened and ill have somthing to read in between. so if your like me and you have that problem mabye you should do the same. kk:)
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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 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 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 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 and purchased books 1 through 4 for him! I also posted my review on 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 June 8, 2004
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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on May 31, 2004
I thought the first book was amazing, after I read this I was SPEECHLESS. JK Rowling probally learned all of her outstanding writing from the half vampire, the talented writer, Darren Shan. Well 5 stars to me isnt enough to give this book. All the readers will die for the next book, Tunnels of Blood, possibly better than the seccond.
In this book Darren learns how it is to be a Vampire's Assistant; He joins the cirque and makes friends. More action with the Wolf Man, Mr. Tall, and many others. Lots of action with Darren regreting of trading his life for a vampire and thretening to kill Mr.Crepsely, not only Darren fights off the creatures is friends do to. Does Mr. Crepsley trust Darren with his life, there are many times that Darren could kill him, but does he want too, does he need Mr. Crepsely to teach him the ways of being a vampire, you will find out in the Vampire's assistant.
Ps. This book is amazing better than Harry Potter and those other books that dont stand one damn chance against, THE VAMPIRE'S ASSISTANT.
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on May 17, 2004
All the vampires knew that this day was coming. The mysterious Desmond Tiny, who is as hated by the vampires as he is revered, made a prophecy regarding the Vampaneze Lord and a great war. The Vampaneze Lord, leader of the enemies of the vampires, is alive and traveling the world. Now, it's up to Darren Shan, his mentor Larten Crepsley and a Vampire Prince named Vancha March to find the Vampaneze Lord and kill him before he brings about the destruction of all vampires.
Mr. Tiny tells them that they have five chances to rid themselves of the Vampaneze Lord. One passed when the vampires executed one of their Princes, Kurdha Smahlt, for being a traitor. While Mr. Tiny refuses to tell Darren and Mr. Crepsley what the four remaining chances are, he does tell them to "follow their hearts." Following their hearts takes them to the Cirque du Freak by way of the dwelling of sorceress Lady Evanna, who makes a very disturbing prophecy about Darren himself!
While Shan never skimps on adventure or suspense, Darren's voice is stronger and more mature here than it has been in the past. Darren, now an experienced fighter and thinker, handles his responsibilities as a newly initiated vampire prince with thought and care. Shan leaves us in the end with many questions about Darren's future and the war between the vampires and vampaneze, promising an intriguing eighth book.
--- Reviewed by Carlie Webber
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on May 9, 2004
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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