THE SAGA OF DARREN SHAN
Cirque Du Freak
Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan (Scholastic Canada, 2000) is the first book in the Darran Shan saga. The main character, Darren, is a normal boy until he steals a spider after seeing it perform at a freak show. Two weeks later, there is an accident and Darren’s best friend Steve Leonard is bit by the performing spider and put into a coma which he is sure will never pass. There is only one way that Darren can save his friend: Darren has to give up his humanity and becoming a half-vampire. This is an extremely good book which I urge everyone to try. (Jake in grade eight)
Lots of students like the Darren Shan novels. Luke, in grade seven, enjoyed the first one, Cirque du Freak. “It’s about these two boys that go and buy these tickets to go to a circus of freaks, and they really enjoy the show. One of the boys knows one of the freaks, who is a vampire, and after the show, stays and asks to become a vampire, too. The vampire says ‘no’ because the boy is evil. The other boy overhears this exchange and runs home. If you want to know what happens next, read the novel!”
The book I read is called Cirque Du Freak (Scholastic, 2000). It was written by Darren Shan and it seemed to be a popular series and I was interested in finding out why for myself.
The main characters in this novel are Darren, Steve, Mr. Crepsely – and oh, you can’t forget Madam Octa, the very hairy, scary, villainous spider. The setting is not clearly defined; all I know is that it takes place in a city somewhere in Canada.
One of the important events in the middle of the books is that Darren’s friend Steve is bitten by Madam Octa. He is destined for death. But there is still hope, but the price is extremely high.
The chain of events start when the boys attend a special circus devoted to people with unique talents. It is at this circus that Mr. Crepsely and Madam Octa are introduced. The moment Darren sees Madam Octa, he feels a certain urge almost like he can’t live without that spider. At that realization, Darren immediately starts to plan a way to get possession of that amazing arachnid.
To me, this book is an excellent example of a writer that includes lots of details and supporting sentences. If I had to rate this book out of ten, I would definitely rate it a fifteen. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who likes twists in their stories. (Jason in gr. 6)
The Vampire’s Assistant
The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan (Scholastic, 2000) is the second book of the Darren Shan Saga and a very good novel. Darren is staying with the Cirque Du Freak and he is having trouble adjusting to being a vampire. The most trouble he has is trying to drink human blood. He finally ends up drinking his dying friend’s blood in order to save part of his memories and his experiences inside of himself. This is an amazing novel. (Jake in grade eight)
The Vampire’s Assistant, by Darren Shan (Time Warner, 2000), is a most intriguing and amazing novel. I couldn’t put it down from start to finish. This perfect sequel to Cirque De Freak is so descriptive that it was almost as if I was standing there next to the characters. Darren, the main character, has to leave his family when he is turned into a half-vampire. He heads off with Mr. Crespley, his full-vampire teacher, and embarks on an amazing journey, one which he will never forget. He meets many people along the way, some of whom are not so good. He and Mr. Crespley return to the cirque, and it seems like everything is going to turn out well. But a few weeks later, just when Darren starts getting used to the busy schedule, something goes wrong. It is the night of a show and the vicious blood-thirsty wolf man has escaped! Darren goes to find him. He discovers the wolf man is after his new friend, Sam Grest! Frightened, Darren starts fighting with the wolf man. He gets knocked out. When he awakes, he is horrified to see the wolf man hunched over someone. Not just anyone, but Sam! The Vampire’s Assistant was, by far, one of the best books I have ever read and I am sure it will become one of your favourites, too. (Jeremy in grade 7)
Tunnels of Blood
Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan (Scholastic, 2000) is a great novel. Darren, a teenage half vampire,and his friend Evra Von, a snake boy from the Cirque Du Freak, are in the city for the first time in years and Darren’s mentor, Mr, Crepsley, is acting very strangely. When Evra and Darren see on the news that six humans have been murdered and drained of blood, their mission is to find out who, or what, is ravaging the city. They follow Mr. Crepsley all night and don’t find anything wrong, until one night he moves in for the kill. Darren stops him and finds out that Mr. Crepsley hasn’t been the one killing people but instead has been trying to stop a crazy vampaneze, a group of vampires that broke away seven centuries ago. The vampaneze have taken Evra as hostage and now Darren and Evra have to try and get him back while avoiding a war. (Jake in grade eight)
Trials of Death
The Vampire Prince
Hunters of the Dusk
Allies of the Night
Killers of the Dawn
The Lake of Souls
Lord of the Shadows
Sons of Destiny
If you are looking for an exciting, scared-to-turn-off-your-light-at-night experience, read Lord Loss by Darren Shan (HarperCollins, 2005), the first of ten gory novels in the Demonata series. Grubbs Grady enjoys a simple life with his parents and siblings when, all of a sudden, his entire life gets turned upside down. A curse is placed on his family which threatens to turn them all into werewolves. Their only hope is to fight an epic battle against Lord Loss, a demon master who controls a world of evil, vicious demons. If the Gradys succeed, they have a chance to survive as human beings. If they lose, Lord Loss gets to brutally murder them.
Grubbs is only fourteen years old, but he discovers that he has a special ability to tap into his own magical skills. This infuriates Lord Loss. Will Grubbs use his power to fight the biggest battle of his life and save his brother from turning into a werewolf? Or will he run and hide?
Lord Loss is the first seriously scary book I’ve ever read, and I loved it. Darren Shan’s writing is so suspenseful that it felt like demons might be lurking outside my bedroom door. I suggest you prepare yourself before reading! (Brandon in gr. 6)
I really enjoyed reading The Demon Thief, an exciting and adventure-filled book by Darren Shan (Harper Collins, 2005). The main character, Kernel Fleck, is dealing with his brother being stolen by demons. In his search, he must go to the Demonata universe which is full of demons and in no way similar to ours. The book starts off with Kernel telling his story of how his whole life he could see shapes of lights just floating and how in school when he told people, they thought he was crazy. So now he never mentions it. One night while he is trying to go to sleep, all the lights turn into one colour and started moving together near the end of his bed. A portal appears and a demon comes out, stares at him, then disappears. However, the portal does not disappear. Kernel goes through it and wakes up in a swamp that looks like it goes on forever. The trees sound like they are howling in pain. Eventually, he comes to land and meets people who call themselves disciples and tell him how they hunt demons down. Suddenly Kernel wakes up and he is on the floor with his brother. His parents come rushing in and ask him where he was; they say he was gone for two years and Kernel gets confused. He thought he was only gone for a couple of hours. Soon after, a witch comes through the portal and Kernel is caught up, again, in a strange world. Read this novel to find out why he decides to stay with the disciples on their quest to stop the demons. (Jake in grade eight)
Welcome back to the Darren Shan demonata universe! In Slawter by Darren Shan (Harper Collins 2006), Dervish is slowly going insane after the battle with Lord Loss, a demon master. Grubbs is taking care of him. A horror movie director, Davida Haym, asks for Dervish’s help on a new demon movie she’s making. Dervish accepts, thinking it’ll ease his mind but a relaxing trip is the last thing he’ll get because the town of Slawter is infested with demons. But no one wants to believe it! The demons start killing people, but what did you expect? The demons to be nice? That’s silly. In the end, Dervish and and a few others escape, but just barely. If you want to read a story with suspense, try this one! (Jake in grade eight)
Bec starts off with the main character, Bec, describing how she remembers her birth and how she is a priestess. The book doesn’t explain how she became a priestess; apparently, some people are born to the position and some aren’t. The story then takes you through her life growing up in the 15th century with the master priestess Banaba. But everything goes wrong when demons attack her village and violently kill many of her tribe’s people. After seeing the carnage of the demons, she sets off on a quest with five others: Goll, a one eyed warrior who is like a father to her; Larcon and Racon, fierce warrior twins; and finally Corallan, the future king. While they are on their quest, they find three people: Bran, a child who does not speak but possesses a magical aura that lets him move very quickly and tame any animal; Drust, a very powerful Druid; and Fiancha, a strong female warrior. Eventually, Drust tells them that he is on a quest to stop the demons of Ireland. He needs them, so they work together to find and close the hole that the demons are coming through. But it is at a huge cost: everyone dies except Bran. This is a great book and I will definitely be reading the next book in the series! (Jake in grade eight)
Have you ever wondered how the world might end? Has it ever kept you up at night? If so, and if you like to be scared, you might want to read Demon Apocalypse by Darren Shan. This is the sixth book in a series of nine of the most terrifying stories I have ever read.
In this book, our main character – Grubbs Grady, a fourteen-year-old boy with the bad luck of always running into demons and strange situations – goes exploring in a cave with his brother, Bill-E, and a friend named Loch. Unfortunately, Loch falls off a cliff inside the cave and falls to a grisly death. To make the situation even worse, this death counts as a potential sacrifice to pen a tunnel from the demon world to the human world.
This event gives the evil leader Lord Loss – who is the Demon Master – an opportunity to take over the world with his army of demons. Grubbs and his Uncle Dervish, who has magical abilities, join forces with the Disciples: a group of magical humans who are already on earth to guard and protect humans against Lord Loss and his evil army . And for the first time we are introduced to Beranabus, the leader of the Disciples. What happens next is a huge, epic battle, between the humans with the help of the Disciples and Lord Loss with his ugly, blood-thirsty demons.
I like this series because in each book you meet new characters, and it adds to the layers of the story as you go through the series. That is why I would recommend reading the Darren Shan series in order.
I really liked this sixth book. It was the scariest yet. It kept me reading way past my thirty minutes. But I won’t tell you how it ends because there is a surprise and I don’t want to ruin it for you. Happy reading, and don’t forget that night-light! (Brandon in gr. 6)