Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan


Rating: 2 Stars ★★☆☆☆

I’ve always been fascinated by spiders.


Darren Shan and his best friend, Steve, get tickets to the Cirque Du Freak, a wonderfully gothic freak show featuring weird, frightening half human/half animals who interact terrifyingly with the audience. In the midst of the excitement, true terror raises its head when Steve recognizes that one of the performers– Mr. Crepsley– is a vampire!
Steve remains after the show finishes to confront the vampire– but his motives are surprising! In the shadows of a crumbling theater, a horrified Darren eavesdrops on his friend and the vampire, and is witness to a monstrous, disturbing plea. As if by destiny, Darren is pulled to Mr. Crepsley and what follows is his horrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires.


The style of this book is really annoying. I like reading children’s books, what I don’t like is when the style is so very, very infantilizing.

He often said he wanted to be a mercenary soldier – one who fights for money – when he grew up. And he meant it!

And what on earth is with all these exclamation marks? The book is littered with them.

The story could have been great. I mean, we have a Circus full of supernatural freaks. However, it did not live up to this premise. My main problem was that there are just too many coincidences and everything is explained away with: it was destiny.

I didn’t even know what I’d do if the vampire wasn’t here, but somehow I sensed he would be. It was like the day Steve threw the scraps of paper up in the air with the winning ticket hidden amongst them, and I shut my eyes and reached out blindly. It was destiny.

Darren just happens to grab the right ticket because it is destiny, he goes back to steal a spider for no particular reason at all, except that… it was destiny.

And Darren – he’s supposed to be the hero but he’s a terrible, terrible person. He spies on his best friend and then avoids him just because some creepy vampire says he’s evi. After years of friendship he takes the word of a scary vampire over his experience with his friend.

And – and this is the worst part – Darren would rather let his friend die from poison than tell the doctors about the spider that poisoned him. Because he stole the spider and could get into trouble. Let’s recap this: trouble with his parents versus the life of his best friend. Not really hero material. If anyone’s evil in this book, it’s Darren.

I sat in the back, trying not to meet Annie’s eye, knowing I should tell the truth, but too afraid to. What made it even worse was, I knew if I was the one lying in a coma, Steven would own up immediately.

Also, not much happens in ths book. It’s really slow. They go to the circus, he steals a spider, his friend gets poisoned and all with a lot of destiny and little intrinsic motivation.


Too many coincidences and a terrible main character.


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