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The Saga of Darren Shan: The Cirque Du Freak Series

Updated on September 12, 2012
The US First Edition Cirque Du Freak Collection
The US First Edition Cirque Du Freak Collection | Source

If you haven’t read The Saga of Darren Shan, then you don’t know what you’re missing. Yes, yes, we all know that the vampire thing is getting a little old now, but before Twilight and Abraham Vampire Hunter, Darren Shan set the bar pretty high with his first series of books, known in the US as Cirque Du Freak. What makes this story better than the rest of the vampire books on the market? Not only has Darren Shan created a successful series, but he has created an alternate world to our own in which freak show performers are really what they appear, and vampires aren’t the only blood sucking creatures of the night. Along with this, he has woven together an enticing plot that keeps you wanting more, and is full of surprises that you could have never imaged. You would have never thought that one little piece of paper floating in the air could have changed one boys life so drastically. So think again before you give up completely on the vampire stories.

Basic Overview of the Series

Cirque Du Freak:

Darren becomes a vampire after stealing a cirque du freak performers spider and making a deal with him to save his friends life.

The Vampire’s Assistant:

Darren Shan, after faking his death has been traveling with Larten Crepsley, his vampire mentor. They return to the Cirque Du Freak and Darren becomes his assistant. He makes new friends and learns more about the members of the circus as well as of the mysterious brother of the ring master.

Tunnels of Blood:

Darren and Evra Von return to Larten’s hometown where a vampaneze is on a killing spree.

Vampire Mountain:

Larten brings Darren to the home base of the vampires. Here he learns new information of Larten’s mysterious past and meets the Vampire Princes.

Trials of Death:

Darren must face a series of daunting tasks, the Trials of Initiation, in order to recognized by the clan as a true vampire.

The Vampire Prince:

Darren discovers that a close member of the clan is a traitor and when he tries to help out, he only makes things worse. But will he have to face death? Or will a loophole give him life?

Hunters of the Dusk:

After receiving disturbing news, Darren and Larten must depart from Vampire Mountain and the war between the Vampires and the Vampaneze begins.

Allies of the Night:

Will people that Darren left in his hometown be able to help him now?

Killers of the Dawn:

Darren and the Lord of the Vampaneze must meet again.

The Lake of Souls:

Darren’s best friend and companion, Harkat Mulds (a “little-person” created by Desmond Tiny) is on a mission to find out who he used to be. In order to do so, they must travel to the most peculiar land and face many dangers.

The Lord of Shadows:

Darren continues to war and learns more about the Lord of Shadows.

Sons of Destiny:

Darren and the Lord of the Vampaneze come face to face in the final battle.

This 12 book series has been a favorite of mine since it was introduced to me by a friend in middle school. After the series was completed, the books were split into four trilogies.

Trilogy I:

Vampire Blood (Cirque Du Freak, Vampire’s Assistant, Tunnels of Blood)

Trilogy II:

Vampire Rites (Vampire Mountain, Trials of Death, The Vampire Prince)

Trilogy III:

Vampire War (Hunters of the Dusk, Allies of the Night, Killers of the Dawn)

Trilogy IV:

Vampire Destiny (Lake of Souls, The Lord of Shadows, Sons of Destiny)

Why this series tops the rest…

This series is unlike any other vampire books out there. First you have the vampires, and then their evil counterparts the vampaneze. Then you have the Cirque Du Freak, the Tiny family, and all of the other magnificent and mysterious characters that you meet along the way. One of the most striking things about this series though is that the author, Darren Shan, does his best to give logical and scientific reasons for things like why you can’t see a vampire in a mirror or a photograph.

Other than these important factors, the vampires aren’t pictured are handsome and beautiful creatures. Nor are they ruthless blood suckers (at least not the vampires anyway). The characters are unique, a wholly developed person in their own. The vampires and the vampaneze aren’t glorified figures of beauty, but rather people who have fought their way through life and have the scars and disfigurations to prove it. And best of all, they don’t sparkle!

What should you know before reading the books?

Sorry, no plot details here! What you do need to know though are these books were written for middle school kids. Now, while they may make you wonder if they’re worth reading or not, I can promise you that they are. And you’ll see that while the series starts at a middle school level, the content and reading level has progressed with the audience. By the time you get to the last book, you wouldn’t believe that it was written for a middle schooler.

Movie Poster of The Vampire's Assistant
Movie Poster of The Vampire's Assistant | Source

What you won’t like about the series…

Now the bad part. There is one thing about this series that is just completely awful. Thankfully, it has nothing to do with the books, at not the way it was done. In 2009, a movie that was supposed to depict the first three books was released. After the long wait (and a horribly agonizing wait it was), the movie was a disaster. If you hadn’t read the books before hand, then maybe you could have called it ok. However, for a true of fan of this masterpiece series, you would never want to watch it again. Not only did the book mess up plot lines and leave out important characters while adding ones that never existed, it also left out huge portions from the first three books. In all honesty, the first three books should have never even been put into one movie. Apparently the director didn’t understand that though. As far as I can tell there hasn’t been any announcement for a second movie. Thankful as we all were to know they would no longer be butchering the series, it was still unfortunate that it had been done wrong in the first place.

So will you read it?

Now that you’ve heard about the series, and you’ve been given a good overview, what do you think? Are you going to read the series? Have you already? Did you see the movie?

If you haven’t read the series, then I strongly suggest that you do so. It really is a wonderful read, and completely worth the time. You won’t be sorry! Oh, and I also suggest that you don’t watch the movie. Just save yourself from the horrible mistake that was made.

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