Today’s book was recommended to me by my good friend Drew. He couldn’t saw enough about this YA series and I finally found a copy of issue 1 and 2 at one of my favorite 2nd hand bookstores, The Book Barn in Niantic CT.
Cirque Du Freak – A Living Nightmare
Written by: Darren Shan
Genre: YA Horror, Vampire, Freak Show
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
1 Sentence Synopsis
Two boys, who are best friends, visit an illegal freak-show, where an encounter with a vampire and a deadly spider forces them to make life-changing choices.
This book is such a fun read.
Circuses and freak-shows are (yet another) deep seeded obsession of mine, so this book already had me hooked on that count. But beyond that, reading this felt like rediscovering R.L. Stine.
It’s a story about bad decisions wrapped in a horror package.
This story is presented as a true story from the life of the author, Darren Shan. Where he grasped fate in his hand and ended up sneaking into an illegal freak-show with his best friend, Steve.
Having the main character as the narrator, adds a very personable touch to the story and helps you empathize more with what’s happening with Darren.
The pacing of this first book is slow, and methodical, allowing the world and mystery to grow as the story progresses. And as someone (unfortunately) coming to this book after watching the film adaptation I was surprised at how small of a chunk of plot this book was compared to the film.
Although, now knowing just how much was skimmed over in the adaptation, I’m even more excited to experience the extra details in the books.
The use of gothic imagery seen in the decayed theater and the elements of macabre detail experienced through the freak-show itself build a great atmosphere in the book. It’s addicting. By the time I finished reading this book I was instantly stretching my hand out towards book 2. What happens next?!
4 out of 5 blood spattered stars. I’d recommend this book to fans of R.L. Stine and those who enjoy a more youthful approach to the macabre (such as Zombillenium or The Nightmare Before Christmas).
Find a Copy
About the Author
He has a fascinating (and detailed) story which he shares over on his about page.