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Cirque du Freak: Hunters of the Dusk by Darren Shan

on September 21, 2012

  Cirque du Freak: Hunters of the Dusk by Darren Shan

Cirque du Freak: Hunters of the Dusk is the seventh book in the twelve book Cirque du Freak series, and is also the first book in the Vampire War Trilogy.

The last book ended with Darren Shan getting crowned a Vampire Prince in a scene that totally wasn’t a forced Dues ex Machina that was so out of place that it ruined the series for some people.  Ergo, this book begins with him doing Vampire Prince things, like hear updates from Vampire Generals on the war with the vampaneze (the rival vampire clan).  Oh, and I should mention that the conflict between the vampires and the vampaneze have turned into an all out war.

By the way, Harkat Mulds, the Little Person that Darren is friend’s with, is having nightmares about dragons and such that will probably be very important later in the series, but right now, this plot point is simply in the foreshadowing stages.

Has anyone ever read a passage describing a character, and all you can think after reading it is “Oh… you’re going to die sometime soon, aren’t you?” Well, there was this one passage in Hunters of the Dusk where I totally got that feeling.

Get this:

There was a special bond between Mr. Crepesley and me, like between a father and son. He could say things to me that no other vampire would dare. I’d be lost without him.

Yeah… good luck with surviving the next story arc, Crepsley.

Anyway, Mr. Tiny comes to Vampire Mountain to tell the vampires the way they can win the war.

1. The Vampaneze Lord (whose supposed to lead the vampaneze to victory) is only still half-vampaneze, so there’s still time to take him out.

2. The vampires have 5 chances to kill the Vampaneze Lord, but one of their chances has already passed when they decided to execute Kurda Smahlt instead of going through with his plan of bringing the two clans together)

3. There are three vampires who are destined to confront the Vampaneze Lord. Two of them are Darren Shan and Mr. Crepsley (Of course they are. Why would it be anyone else?). They will meet the other hunter on their journey.

4. If the hunters don’t kill the Vampire Lord by their third chance, two of the hunters will die.

5. If the hunters kill the Vampire Lord by encounter four, the vampires will win the war. If they have to go through with the 5th encounter, the war could go either way.

Whew. Ok, got all that? Great. Moving on…

And so, Mr. Crespsley, Darren Shan, and Harkat Mulds (who decided to go with them) ventured off to confront the Vampaneze Lord.

The first thing they do is go to the home of Lady Evanna the sorceress. Along the way, they are attacked by a vampire hunter. They are rescued by Vancha March, one of the Vampire Princes who was away on business during the vampaneze invasion of Vampire Mountain.  He had been on his way to Lady Evanna’s also, which leads Darren and Mr. Crepsley to believe that Vancha is the third hunter.

About Vancha: he’s described as the “wildest and most traditional of all the Princes”. The Vampires live a very militaristic lifestyle and Vancha is the uber of that idea.  He eats all of his food raw, only wars the clothes made from the pelts of the animals he killed, and has this crazy idea that if he spends a certain time out in the sun each day, he will eventually become immune to his ways (which I will admit makes a lot of sense in a really weird way). But what’s interesting is that it was Vancha was the person who nominated Kurda Smahlt, who was supposed to represent a new way of life for the vampires through putting more value in his intelligence instead of how many vampires he can take out at one time.

And Vancha still stands by his decision that Kurda, if things turned out differently, he would have been a great Vampire Prince. And the book then brings forth the idea that Kurda’s treatment was unfair, in that there was no rational explanation for what he did and his name should never be spoken again in the Hall of Princes.

I like this. A lot of books in this genre would have kept the whole thing black and white, but this inclusion of the gray area gives the books some depth.

If this were a Facebook status, I would like it.

So, they eventually make it to Lady Evanna’s… cave… home,,, thing. Yep, she lives in a cave with a whole bunch frogs. Also, she’s a shape shifter. Cool.

So, this is another book in the series in which I felt was just build up for a big confrontation in another book. Granted, it’s not nearly as bad as how Vampire Mountain was, considering this one had an actual three-act structure and some form of conflict, but, hey, I thought that more story could have been put in.

By the way, I’m calling it now: Steve Leopard is the Vampaneze Lord.

Rating: 7 out of 10.


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