Thursday, December 23, 2010

Cirque du Freak Series

Cirque du Freak: A Living NightmareA Living Nightmare by Darren Shan 
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2002
ISBN: 9780316605106
266 pages
4 out of 5

Cirque Du Freak is the frightening saga of a young boy whose visit to a mysterious freak show leads him on a journey into the dark world of vampires.  Filled with grotesque creatures, murderous vampires, and a petrifying ending, Cirque Du Freak will chill, thrill, and leave readers begging for more.  (Description from Shelfari)

The Vampire's Assistant (Cirque du Freak, Book 2)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2002
256 pages
ISBN: 9780316606844
4 out of 5

As a vampire's assistant, Darren struggles to resist the one temptation that sickens him -- the one thing that can keep him alive.  But destiny is calling -- the wolf-man is waiting. (teaser description at the end of book 1).

Cirque Du Freak #3: Tunnels of Blood: Book 3 in the Saga of Darren Shan (Cirque Du Freak: the Saga of Darren Shan)Cirque Du Freak: Tunnels of Blood
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, 2003
240 pages
ISBN: 9780316606080

Darren Shan, the vampire's assistant, gets a taste of the city when he leaves the Cirque Du Freak with Evra the snake-boy and Mr. Crepsley.  When corpses are discovered drained of blood, Darren and Evra are compelled to confront a foul creature of the night who may prove to be the end of them all. (Description from Amazon)

The above titles are just the first three of twelve books in the Cirque du Freak series.*  I quickly fell in love with these.  They are a lot of fun and though the writing occasionally gives me a giggle (the interestingly placed exclamation points get me every time!), I have trouble putting them down.  This series makes me nostalgic for the days of borrowing Fear Street Saga novels from the library fifteen at a time. 

The majority of chapters end with some type of cliffhanger that encourages continued reading and I've fallen for it a number of times.  When I started Book 3, my plan was to read just a few chapters before bed, but I ended up reading half the book. 

One way I think of this series is as a step up from Goosebumps.  The writing style is similar, it's a nice long series that kids can stick with for a while, and the horrific events are intriguing more than terrifying. The way a young adult horror novel ought to be.

* See all titles and descriptions of the entire series here

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