Tuesday, November 14, 2006
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan
Shan, Darren. 2001. Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant, book 2. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.
The second book in the Cirque du Freak series, Darren returns to the freak show - Cirque du Freak - after traveling with Mr. Creapsley, the vampire that turned him into a half-vampire. The sequel deals with Darren's issues of not being able to make 'normal' friends, which is why they return to the freak show. Mr. Creapsley thinks that being around others that are in a similar situation will help Darren to cope. Darren learns more about being a vampire in this book and fights his need to drink human blood, thinking it will make him evil if he does.
I'm still not loving this series, maybe because the books seem so simplistic (I checked it out today and finished it this evening) and the forshadowing is everywhere, making it easy to second guess what will happen - at least as an adult. I've come to the conclusion that this would be a great creepy series for reluctant readers and can even go a little younger than the 'young adult' age range - say maybe 4th grade level. As the series develops, I would like to see Darren develop more as a character, so far the narration from him seems superficial and without much depth. There are some moments that are jarring emotionally for him and it would be nice to see some character development from them, as it is, Shan leaves the ending hanging just enough so that you'll want to go check out the 3rd one just to see what will happen to Darren, Mr. Creapsley, and the Cirque du Freak next.