Cirque du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan

By Amanda Weidner

Since an early age, Darren Shan has been fascinated by spiders. His best friend, Steve Leonard, has grown up on horror comics and the stories of werewolves and vampires. When Steve wants to go to a mysterious circus called the Cirque du Freak, Darren has no choice but to follow.

Darren and Steve are mesmerized by the fantastic and disturbing show, especially by the act of the mysterious Mr. Crepsley and his giant, deathly poisonous spider, Madam Octa. After the show, Steve goes back to talk to Mr. Cresley about turning him into a vampire. After Mr. Crepsley denies the request Steve storms away, and Darren, who watched the encounter, became confused by his friend.

Even so, in the day following, Darren decides that he wants to own Madam Octa. He steals the spider, and Steve comes over so that they can play with it. When Darren’s sister enters the room, he loses control of the spider, and it bites Steve, who has to be rushed to the hospital. Darren, left with no other choice, returns to Mr. Crepsley to ask for an antidote. Mr. Crepsley agrees to give him the antidote under the condition that he becomes his assistant. Darren agrees, and so begins his life as Darren Shan, The Vampire’s assistant.

The book series is an interesting spin on your typical vampire story. Darren starts out as your average high school boy who gets wrapped up into the unknown and the unimaginable. His life gets turned around in a single night.

The series is an enjoyable read for anyone looking for a good vampire story. The author introduces an array of different characters like Evra Von, the snake boy, and Sam, a runaway who befriends Darren. Another element introduced in the series is Darren’s struggle as he tries to exist in a world that he no longer belongs to. I highly recommend this series to anyone who is looking for a good vampire story or just a good book.