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Born in London in 1972, Darren O'Shaughnessy [writing as Darren Shan] moved to Limerick with his parents and younger brother. Returned to London to study Sociology and English then worked for a TV cable company. His first adult novel Ayuamarca has been published by Orion and his writing has been likened to Clive Barker and Iain Banks. He is now a full-time writer of TV scripts and novels. Cirque du Freak is his first title for children.
Gr 5-8-After a breezy two-page introduction that gives the major plot points of Cirque du Freak, readers are plunged back into the world of a young, newly minted half-vampire (a concept that is never fully explained). With his mentor, the creepy full vampire Mr. Crepsley, Darren is learning the ropes of the undead. Readers quickly get a rundown of the facts, the most important one being that vampires, even half ones, must have human blood to survive, and Darren can't bring himself to drink. There is not much plot here. He and Mr. Crepsley return to the Cirque du Freak. Darren and Evra, a snake-boy, make what is ultimately a tragic friendship with a local boy named Sam and a self-proclaimed "ecowarrior" named R.V. It is R.V. who precipitates the real action as he becomes suspicious of animals disappearing from nearby farms. The first-person narration seems superficial, and there is little depth to Darren's character. That said, Shan creates heart-pounding, page-turning action that will keep kids reading. He certainly knows his horror, and this book cranks up the gore factor a notch or two. Readers will get more information about the genuinely weird denizens of the Cirque du Freak. There are some genuinely horrific, almost painful moments, particularly at the book's tragic climax. Readers will be turning from the page, sickened, and then come back to find out what happens next. The question remains, where can Shan take his readers from here? Just how far will he go?-Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Cirque Du Freak "!fast-paced and compelling book!full of satisfyingly macabre touches!which leaves the reader hungry for more." JK Rowling 'Brilliant, macabre tale.' Guardian "I read Cirque Du Freak last week. I loved it. I love the way you manage to juggle the funny with the unpleasant, the affection with the hurt. It's great story-telling." Roddy Doyle The Vampire's Assistant "The Vampire's Assistant blazes a thrilling, gruesome trail through a fascinating plot." The Good Book Guide Vampire Mountain "Get your teeth into it!" Funday Times
In The Vampire's Assistant, the second installment of the series begun with Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan, the hero returns to the old-fashioned freak show where, thanks to Mr. Crespley, he became a "half-vampire." Darren once again struggles against the urge to feed upon the human blood his health requires. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.