03 March 2011

The Vampire's Assistant.

Author: Darren Shan
Genre: YA, Fantasy-Horror.
Source: Library Book.
Rating: 5 out of 5.
Book 2 of 12 in Cirque Du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan.

Half-vampire Darren Shan is struggling with many things in his new erhm...undead life - like dealing with Mr. Larten Crepsley for one thing, the vampire who made him his assistant in exchange for saving his best friend Steve's life after Darren stole his amazing performing spider, not having any friends, and one more very important thing. Drinking human blood, which he needs to live - because animal blood just won't keep him alive for much longer.
After explaining his unhappiness to Mr. Crepsley, Larten decides to return to the Cirque with Darren, where he meets more of the freaks and gets to know them better. And, more importantly, he makes a friend in the Cirque: the snake-boy Evra Von. He also makes a curious new friend in Sam Grest; a boy who comes upon the freak show one night - none of them knowing it would have been best for him to stay away all together.

As with the first book, this was a very enjoyable read, sort of like visiting an old friend. Comfortably hearing what's been going on in their life, and sometimes feeling like you'd never left them before you decided to return. While reading this, I had a bit of a gross-foreboding feeling. I knew somewhere the story would get ugly and I would inevitably be grossed out by some thing or another. But I never thought I would feel that bittersweet sadness. I hoped, and thought, that somehow the events that were pointing to a tragedy would twist at the last possible moment in the book, but they did not. Leaving me heartbroken for Darren and Sam, but somehow relieved that Darren finally listened to Mr. Crepsley. Not only so he would live, but to preserve his friend's spirit.
I remember realizing by the end of the first book, there was a change in Darren; he had mostly accepted that his life was forever changed and his new path was now to be with Larten, learning what he would need to know to survive as a half-vampire. By the end of this book that feeling was back, and I hope I will continue to see Darren with that same acceptance of change in his life in the next books in the series as I read them. I also love the fact, that the change in him came with him doing what it took to save a friend. I find that to be such an admirable thing for a young person, slowly growing up.
Mr. Crepsley surprised me in this book. He felt he'd made a mistake by making Darren his assistant. I guess I felt that way because I never questioned it in the first book. I don't really like to question the author's hard work with the plot - especially in a series, but I did a little after this book. Why did Mr. Crepsley make a young person like Darren (I'm not sure how old Darren is actually, but I'm thinking around twelve or so..) his assistant? Why didn't he take another route and possibly wait until Darren was older...? I don't think I'll ever know, because I don't even think Mr. Crepsley knows. I'm not even sure I want to know, because I am really loving these books just the way they are. I think Darren's age is adding to the satisfaction. I don't remember ever coming across such a young, new (half) vampire. But I like that, because it's a new experience for both Darren and I. Seeing the world of freaks and vampires from a refreshing new and innocent perspective.

1 comment:

Mishel (P.S. I Love Books) said...

I have the omnibus edition of Shan's first three books in the series but haven't had a chance to open it. I saw the movie a while ago and really liked it but I think its because of John C. Reilly playing Creplsey. But overall I thought the movie was good and it made me really want to read the books.

I won an ARC of Shan's opening prequel to the Cirque Du Freak series. Its about Crepsley and how he came to be. I just started it last night and its really good. I didn't plan on reading this one first but I can't wait to get the original series. Glad you're liking it so far!!