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Cirque du Freak: Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan

on July 19, 2012

In which Darren gets a girlfriend.      Cirque du Freak: Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan

The is the third book in the Cirque du Freak series by Darren Shan.  It is the final book it the Vampire Blood trilogy (which also includes the other two books I’ve already reviewed, A Living Nightmare and The Vampire’s Assistant).  It is also the book when Darren gets a girlfriend.

So the book opens with Darren watching Mr. Crepsley stalking some guy with the intent to kill him.  Ok.

Well, that was the prologue.  See, what had happened was, an old friend of Mr. Crepsley named Gavner Purl comes to the Cirque du Freak to basically tell Crepsley that his home town is being attacked.

This also introduces this Vampire Hierarchy, as Gavner is a “Vampire General”. They seem to be the vampire police force, making sure that vampires don’t go rogue and murder everyone they meet.  The interesting is that when Gavner shows up Crepsley automatically assumes that Gavner’s there to reprimand him about turning Darren into a vampire.  It was kind of hinted in the last book that a half-vampire as young as Darren was pretty rare, but based on Gavner’s reaction it’s not so much rare as flat out illegal.  Am I interested in how this effects the characters later on in the series? Why, yes. Yes I am.

Anyway, Gavner tells Crepsley that his home town is in danger, so Crepsley decides that he and Darren need to go and fix it.  However, he won’t tell Darren why they’re going or where they’re going.  Why? Because Crepsley likes secrets.

So, Darren complains about having to  leave the circus, which leads Crepsley to let Evra come with them.  This does not bode well for anyone later.  And so, they all go to the nameless city.

For a while, the book just shows Darren and Evra chilling in the big city.  They watch tv, they play in the snow (it’s Christmas time, by the way) and are just generally enjoying their vacation as Crespley does his nighttime business.  Things get interesting when Darren meets a local girl, Debbie Hemlock, while shopping for Christmas gifts.

Darren and Debbie hit it off really fast. And that’s fine and all, but something that had put me off was the way Debbie and her parents are described. They’re a little… perfect. Debbie gets along great with her parents, her parents like their daughter’s new boyfriend immediately… it’s just a little too great. It wasn’t super distracting, and it by no means ruined the book for me, but at the same time, I found it a little strange.

Things take a turn for the worst when Evra sees a story on the news about in which some bodies were found completely devoid of blood.  They think it’s Mr. Crepsley, so they decide to confront him before he takes out his next victim, thus leading up the scene in the prologue.

They track him to a warehouse empty except for the guy they believe Crepsley is trying to kill, and Darren goes in to confront him while Evra stays behind (WHY. WHY DID YOU DO THIS EVRA.)  And it turns out, it wasn’t Crepsley that was killing all of those people.  It was a crazy, bloodthirsty monster of a “vampaneze” named Murlough who Mr. Crepsley was trying to keep from killing warehouse guy.

Oh, and after Murlough escaped Crepsley, he kidnapped Evra.

OH NOES.

So, vampaneze.

The vampaneze are the evil counterparts of the vampires.  Wheras the vampires only drink enough blood to survive, the vampaneze completely drain their victims.  They also are very ritualistic (they mark who they are going to kill three days in advance, they have to sprinkle this weird powder around their victims before they drink from them, and some other stuff.)

When an author has characters who would otherwise be monsters, it is pretty common to introduce “bad” versions of those monsters as a counterpart to the “good” guys. An example of this is in The Twilight Saga, with the “good” Cullen family vampires and the “bad” Volturi vampires. (And Darren Shan, if you ever come across this, which I doubt you will, I’m really, really, sorry for comparing your books to Twilight.)

The vampaneze are a pretty cool concept and make awesome villians… except for one thing.  Apparently, since the vampaneze drink so much blood, it alters their appearance.  Their eyes turn red (a popular vampire myth is that they have inhuman red eyes, sure, I’ll believe it), their nails red (ok, sure I’ll buy it), their hair red (… that’s kind of a stretch…), and their skin purple.

I freaking love this picture.

That’s just. . . I don’t even know what to say about it.

All in all, it was a pretty good addition to the series.  If I had to rank the first three books in order of how much I liked them, it would be 1. The Vampire’s Assistant 2. Tunnels of Blood, and 3. A Living Nightmare.

Which reminds me, the ending of A Living Nightmare had Steve declaring that he would never rest until he had found and killed Darren and Mr. Crepsley and we haven’t seen hide nor hair of him since.  Hmmm… next book maybe?

Rating: 7 out of 10.

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2 responses to “Cirque du Freak: Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan

  1. Duke says:

    Darren really got the short end of the stick there.

    Crepsley continually seems like one of the most inept vampire masters ever. Maybe that’s just how it seems in these recaps where he can’t stop children from stealing his pet spiders, and we get the whole “Oh yeah, it was totally illegal to turn you into a half-vampire. My bad.”

    • emilygeek94 says:

      I agree, especially when Darren has to do the trial things to fix Crepsley’s mistake. That drove me crazy

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