Friday, October 23, 2009 | |

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant is a novel written several years ago by Darren Shan. It first caught my attention when I saw the commercials for the soon-to-be-released movie. The movie seemed a little hokey, but it was nice to see something about vampires where they didn’t sparkle, so I decided to give the book a shot. It was actually the second book in the series, but it seemed like a quick read, and the first page was a synopsis of the first book, so I wasn’t lost for long.

The book revolves around Darren Shan, a young boy of about 15 or so, newly created half vampire and apprentice to Mr. Crepsley. They work together in a circus with all sorts of strange freaks. Darren befriends a boy who works with a giant snake, but things start to spiral out of control when a boy from town makes friends with Darren and gets too close to the circus and its dangerous creatures.

The plot was simple, straightforward, and very quick. The book read much more like a middle grade book than a young adult book. I sped through this almost as fast as Odd and the Frost Giants though it was over twice the size. To be honest, I wasn’t terribly impressed with this book. It was a page turner, but for an adult of 25 years the plot was terribly easy to figure out, right down to the last detail. Having read enough young adult in my life to spot an easy plot, I can reasonably assume that an intelligent 13 year old could figure out the ending to this book about 2/3 of the way through. I can see the potential in a movie, especially with this series being 12 books long, but I have to imagine that due to the small size of each book they’ll be combining at least the first two or three books into a single movie.

Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant (7/10) is a quick read, and enjoyable, but there are meatier tales out there for fans of vampire novels, and more well-written horror. It’ll almost certainly be better than the movie, but that’s probably not saying much, judging from the previews.


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