The Saga of Darren Shan
This is a series of books that I enjoyed for the first time when I was 12 years old. Very recently, (now 22), I decided to re-read the series, and in doing so, I rekindled my love for these books :). I hope you enjoy this series review!
The Saga of Darren Shan is a collection of 12 books written for a YA audience. Darren Shan is a schoolboy whose life changes when he gets tickets to see ‘the cirque du freak’ with his best friend Steve. A number of strange events following this show lead to Darren being made into a half vampire and becoming the assistant of Mr Larten Crepsley. The 12 books in the series follow Darren as he leaves his comfortable home life behind to learn the ways of the vampires, and fight the battle of good versus evil.
The genre of this series is a mix of horror, paranormal and action. I wouldn’t say that the books are scary (and I didn’t find this on my first read-through when I was 12), but there is quite a lot of violence and gore – especially in the later books. The plot is engaging, with plenty of twists, turns and exciting events that pull you straight into the story. There are a variety of mysteries that run across the books – many of which don’t fall into place until the final instalment; which definitely keeps you interested the whole way through!
Each books leads straight on to the next one, which also makes it very difficult to not devour book after book in one sitting- because your desperate to know the outcome! I reccommend reading the books in series order to fully understand the story. However, the beginning of each book does contain a short prologue that will get you up to scratch in you have to skip a book, or have a break between books.
The language and writing in the series is not fancy – but it is very clear and quick to read. I could tell during my recent re-read that it is written for a younger audience, but I didn’t feel like it distracted me much from enjoying my re-read of the books, and it did enable me to read the books very quickly!
There are some awesome characters in the books; especially those that make up the cirque du freak! The “freaks” are people with extraordinary talents – a man who can regrow his limbs, a woman with the world’s strongest teeth and a man with 2 stomachs is just the start! The members of the cirque were really wonderful and made up a wonderful family together. Some of the scenes in the cirque were my favourite of the whole series!
Darren Shan is a tough protagonist! On this re-read, I noticed how interesting it was to see him grow from a schoolboy to a man in his twenties – even though his body had hardly aged at all! The approach taken to vampires is also pretty unique, from how they came into existence, to how blood is drunk and the differences between half and full vampires. Its always enjoyable to read a fresh approach to a paranormal being!
Overall, I love this series – and re-reading them was not only enjoyable for the story, but also for the sense of nostalgia that I had :). I believe that teen readers will probably get the most out of these books (as the intended audience) but I do not see any reason why they cannot be enjoyed thoroughly by adults as well!