A deliberate hit

Posted by Marie on Friday, March 20, 2009 in , , , ,
Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare (Book 1) – Darren Shan
Fiction, Horror, Children; ISBN 0-316-90571-2; Little Brown, 2000.

Most boys of any age like the icky the bloody, and the gross – and Darren Shan would know that all too well, or he wouldn’t had wrote this long novel of 13 parts.

Now you might think that I didn’t like the book; I did. The book was fun and simple (too simple in the first few chapters that it almost had that talking-down tone that many children’s book fall on all too often). Despite the easy wording, the action was fast-paced, the characterizations are satisfying, and the macabre (but not too much) details are mesmerizing. The protagonist, Darren Shan is a boy that any kid of the same age can very well relate to and sympathize with.

This is just the prep of the long “Saga of Darren Shan”, and it shows. I have nothing against multi-book serials; just as long as each part is satisfying by itself – needless to say, this one failed me. The bare story should had been fleshed out, or better yet, the first three books should had been combined (of course, the publishers won’t do that; any savvy book marketer would be horrified to waste profit).

I did hear that the saga gets better along the way. I don’t doubt that – I’m sure I’m going to enjoy books 2 to 13 too. But everything had the aura of being too calculated, like anything less than fun is going to be harmful to the revenues. This is, after all, a budding franchise which, by the looks of the things – including the upcoming movie and the increasing number of fans, both young and old – wouldn’t be waning any time soon.

3 out of 5 stars



Agree on the marketing - if you buy the books at bookstore price, it's a small fortune. That's why it took me five years to complete the series (all bought at bargain prices), because I refused to buy at bookstore price :D

And because of the upcoming movie, I predict the lessing probability of finding one in the book sales or bargain bins. ;-P

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