07 January 2011

A Living Nightmare.

Author: Darren Shan
Genre: YA, Fantasy-Horror.
Source: Library Book.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Book 1 of 12 in Cirque Du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan.

In A Living Nightmare, one of Darren Shans best friends, Alan, steals a flyer from his older brother for the freak show: Cirque Du Freak. Which they think sounds like the coolest thing ever, none of them knowing it will change Darren's life forever. When they find out they can only purchase two tickets, but there are four friends, it comes down to Steve Leonard, and a ticket toss up between the other three. As if by fate, Darren gets the other ticket. The freak show is the only thing he and Steve can think about, until they actually go. Once Darren sees Larten Crepsley and his amazing spider Madam Octa, having a lifelong love of spiders, Darren has to have her.

Much like Darren and Steve and the freak show, this book was all I could think about after I picked it up from the library and began to read it. I had a slow start to it because I was a little put off by the spider-story introduction, but once I got past that silliness and got more into this story, I had a hard time putting it down. I positively loved this book, even though initially I didn't think I would. But that had nothing to do with the author's work at all. It was the movie adaptation I had previously watched; The Vampire's Assistant (which I really enjoyed, but should have known by the titles that it wouldn't be quite the same thing). I kind of thought the book would be like that, but it wasn't - and I was so glad for that. I don't know how many times I have watched a movie adaptation and then decided to go ahead with the books...but the books are never what I expected and I am always (usually) pleasantly surprised with what I find. And, this was no exception.
First, the story telling; simply put: it was comfortable. Especially for such bad things happening to the narrator. I'm trying my best not to put any spoilers here, but Darren is a very interesting, and well, nervy character to be brave enough to steal from a vampire. It felt as if he just came over to hang out and ended up telling me how he got to a certain point in his life. In the beginning, you know you're dealing with a young person, but by the end of the book, while there's still some growing up to do, you know Darren has changed in more than one obvious way.
Secondly, the story itself. I have to admit, I was a little worried about the number of books in this when I found out how many more there were. But now that I've read this, I look forward to them. I cannot wait to see what happens next, not just to Darren, but to Steve and to see where Mr. Tiny (who, in the movie reminded me of a rapper named Necro, for some strange reason..) comes in, as he was one of my favorite characters from the movie. Another thing I was worried about once I read on and realized, is that it is only about a few major events really. I thought it might actually grow boring, but it didn't. I think the author did a fantastic job with keeping the story a little minimal, and staying focused on the current events, while keeping things going on at a good pace.
A Living Nightmare may have had a somewhat simple plot, but it was thrilling and intriguing, with characters you may or may not, want to meet.

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