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Cirque du Freak: The Lake of Souls by Darren Shan

Cirque du Freak: The Lake of Souls by Darren Shan

Cirque du Freak: The Lake of Souls is the tenth book in the twelve book long Cirque du Freak series. It is also the first book in the Vampire Destiny series.

The story begins where Killers of the Dawn left off: Steve Leopard is revealed to be the Vampaneze Lord…

… and Mr. Crepsley is dead.

 

…why?

 

Mr. Crepsley’s death leaves Darren Shan in Heroic Blue Screen Of Death, and for those of you who aren’t familiar with the trope, he’s basically gone in this stage of numbness over the shock of Mr. Crepsley’s death.

Darren decides to go to the Cirque du Freak to grieve, and, /of course, Harkat Mulds, Darren’s friend that is a Little Person, goes with him. Vancha goes to Vampire Mountain to lead the vampires against the vampaneze.

While Darren is there, he’s keeps withdrawing more and more into himself, which I’m actually glad for. And by that I don’t mean I’m glad that he’s depressed, I mean I’m glad that he’s having an actual realistic reaction. Before this, pretty much every grieving scene in this series has had the character howling to the heavens on the terrible tragedy that has befallen them. This quiet form of grieving is very natural; Darren lost the most important person in his life, and would take him a while to get over Mr. Crepsley’s death.

Then this moment happens: Truska, the Bearded Lady from the first two books, has Darren looks into a mirror and sees how depressed he has become. It is this that causes Darren to finally deal with Mr. Crepsley’s death and this is one of the more powerful moments in the series.

So Darren gets better! Yay!

Also, Debbie Hemlock and the Chief Inspector decide, after the events of the last book, to go to Vampire Mountain to help the vampires against the vampaneze. They plan to recruit humans to fight the vampets (which are the human servants to the vampaneze) Woohoo!

So, now that Darren is ready to fight the Vampaneze Lord, they decide to go to Vampire Mountain to convince the vampires to allow humans to help them. Sounds like a plan, right?

And that’s when Mr. Tiny shows up.

Mr. Tiny, who if you remember, only shows up to give really bad news in the worst way possible and generally to be evil and creepy and stuff. He comes in and tells Harkat that he knows how to stop Harkat’s terrible nightmares, but! he can only stop them now.

Yes, now. Not later, or, you know, after the giant WAR THAT’S BEEN BUILDING UP FOREVER IS OVER.

 

I like to think that this is Mr. Tiny’s default expression.

I like to think that this is Mr. Tiny’s default expression.

Harkat has to go with Mr. Tiny. Has to. No. other. options. And much to Harkat’s dismay, Darren decides to go with him.

Ummm… not that I don’t think Darren should support his friend and all, but doesn’t he have bigger things to worry about. Like, the whole hunting down the Vampaneze Lord, so the world doesn’t fall into darkness in the final battle that the past few books were building up to? No? Ok.

Anyway, Darren and Harkat go through this weird door Mr. Tiny conjured up, which leads them into this super creepy, empty world in which everything, and I mean EVERYTHING tries to kill them.

After they go into the creepy world of death and awfulness, the story basically turns into a typical hero’s journey, invoking the Rule of Three. For those of you who don’t know, The Rule of Three is a common trope in which three important things happen to the main protagonist, or he meets three people, or any number of ways to include the number three in the work. For example, the Three Little Pigs, Dorothy meet three other people with problems in The Wizard of Oz, and in this case, Darren and Harkat have to fight three monsters.

Mr. Tiny doesn’t actually tell them what they’re supposed to do to end Harkat’s nightmares and figure out who Harkat was in his former life. He just says that eventually they’ll be able to fish Harkat’s soul thingy.

 

This book was fantastic.

This one went in a different direction than the other books did, with it being more of a fantasy adventure instead of a horror-mystery like the other ones. Granted, maybe I liked it more because I usually read fantasyish stories, but still, I feel like it’s one of the best ones in the series.

 

Rating: 8 out of 10.

 

(SPOILERS)

Ok. I consider this a fairly big spoiler because this character doesn’t appear until a good third of the book is over, but I feel that this needs to be said.

So, eventually Darren and Harkat meet a marooned pirate named Spits Abrams. Spits was the ship’s cook. Another job of his was to fish out bodies from the ocean and dispose of them. Take a wild guess why he was marooned. Just guess.

If you guessed it was because he cooked the bodies, then congradulations, you are smarter than our protagonists. Have a cookie.

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Cirque du Freak: Killers of the Dawn by Darren Shan

Cirque du Freak: Killers of the Dawn by Darren Shan

Cirque du Freak: Killers of the Dawn by Darren Shan is the ninth book in the twelve book long series by Darren Shan. It is also the third book in the Vampire War series.

The last book ended with Steve leading our heroes into a trap and him revealing that he is a half-vampaneze. Surprising, right?

Anyway, the Vampaneze Lord, RV (who was the hook-handed vampaneze), and the other vampaneze are holding Debbie Hemlock hostage. They demanded that Darren and the other hunters to leave, or they’ll kill her. In response, Darren and the hunters take Steve and a vampet…

No. That’s a vamplet.

Oh, yeah, the vampets are basically human servants of the vampaneze. The vampaneze can’t use guns and other modern weaponry (because of tradition, blah blah blah), but the vampets totally can, which gives the vampaneze an edge over the vampires.

Anyway, Darren and the hunters take Steve and a vampet hostage and escape into the sewers, chased after by the hordes of vampaneze that had invaded the city. Eventually, they get to a safe haven and we find out how crazy Steve is.

This is called sublety.

Answer: Pretty crazy.

While our heroes were trying to regroup, a full squadron of police men arrive at the hotel they were staying at, demanding they come out with their hands up and all that. Apparently, some vampet had called the police and framed the hunters for the murders that had been happening in the city (They were caused by the vampaneze, and were the reason the hunters had come back to the city in the first place).

So at this point, not only do our heroes have a legion of vampaneze after them, they also have the city’s police force. All of this, by Chapter Three.

Wow.

 

The thing about this book is that it’s kind of a slow burn. The beginning is pretty slow, but when it got going, it got going really fast.

The final battle scene is very intense. To be honest, so far it was one of the few times in the series in which I felt honest-to-God afraid for the safety for the characters. Essentially, it was the climax that the past two books has been building to, and it was pretty epic.

If there was anything part of the book that I didn’t like, it was the portrayal of the police force. When I was reading the scene where Darren and the hunters were cornered by the police, all I could think was that they should not act the way they did. Granted, pretty much all I know about how hostage situations are handled come from me watching the hundreds of cop shows on TV, but still, I just feel that there should be some hostage negotiation going on, not COME OUT WITH YOUR HANDS UP OR WE WILL SHOOT YOU IN THE FACE, YOU MURDERING SCUM. I’m paraphrasing there, but that’s what it sounded like.

All in all, it was a pretty solid, and dare I say… pretty good book.

Rating: 8 out of 10.

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