Sunday, March 8, 2009

Cirque du Freak - Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan

First published in 2000.

Darren was just an ordinary schoolboy -- until his visit to the Cirque Du Freak. Now Darren, the vampire's assistant, gets a taste of the city when he leaves the Cirque Du Freak with Evra and Mr. Crepsley -- but so, it seems, does something else. When corpses are discovered -- corpses drained of blood -- Darren and Evra are compelled to confront a foul creature of the night, who may prove to be the end of them all. Beneath the streets, evil stalks Darren and his friends. Can they escape, or are they doomed to perish in the tunnels of blood? (

If you haven’t figured out by now, I’m loving this series. Shan has an amazing ability to keep emotions and actions in his young characters real and true to life.

In the third book in the series, Darren’s been a half vampire for over a year and we’ve seen him grow, figuratively speaking, over the course of these books. While he still can be a petulant child (mainly because he still kind of is one), he’s grown into his vampire assistant role and matured beyond what anyone his age would simply because, a lot of the times, he’s on his own. Not many children live with a band of traveling freaks nor have to force themselves through the unpleasantness of having to drink human blood in order to survive. He spent nearly all of the first two books fighting it. Now he’s at peace with it and does it out of want more so than need.

The ending threw me for a major loop and I was very afraid that Darren was going to take a departure from his personality and character for the sake of the plot. Boy was I wrong and boy is Shan sneaky! He utilized an excellent first person device that worked wholly to his advantage and shows just how much Darren has matured. Two books ago, to be perfectly frank, Darren wouldn’t have had the balls. Now he’s a faster thinker and knows what he needs to do in order to stay alive. And does it and Shan isn’t afraid to show that.

The book ends at a very pivotal moment and at the ‘to be continued’ point, we don’t know if everything works out in the end. The major points turned out ok but the matter of person is left hanging in the balance. Of course it’s an amazing way to propel the reader into the next book to find out what happens next. If my TBR pile weren’t up to my knees (it’d probably be up to my chest if it were all one pile) and I wasn't desperately trying to pay my credit cards off (must be debt free), I’d go buy the next few books in the series. I want them that badly.

This is an excellent work with reality in a world of fantasy in a world of reality. The character of Darren Shan is written superbly and amazingly believable and Shan has an excellent knack of writing from one chapter to the next, and dragging you along by the hair to follow the plot. If you haven’t started reading this series yet, do it now. If you appreciate an awesome story and good writing, you’ll be as hooked as I am.


Anonymous said...

Jimmy, my middle son, is too. He'd been waiting on the rest of the books from this series and it's been torture.

Donna (Bites) said...

I can imagine! I so feel his pain.

Anonymous said...

Oh, wow, this takes me back! The Saga of Darren Shan. Definately one of the best YA vampire series. Great review! xx

Donna (Bites) said...

Thanks, Marie!

DeSeRt RoSe said...

It is s very great series and I've finished this book sometime this month, still didn't start the forth but will be soon.. I'm loving it and encouraging my daughter to read it too :)

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