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A Living Nightmare
Cover of A Living Nightmare
A Living Nightmare
Cirque Du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan, Book 1
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From the Master of Horror comes the first gripping book in the twelve book New York Times bestselling Saga of Darren Shan. Start the tale from the beginning in the book that inspired the feature film...
From the Master of Horror comes the first gripping book in the twelve book New York Times bestselling Saga of Darren Shan. Start the tale from the beginning in the book that inspired the feature film...
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  • From the Master of Horror comes the first gripping book in the twelve book New York Times bestselling Saga of Darren Shan. Start the tale from the beginning in the book that inspired the feature film The Vampire's Assistant and petrified devoted fans worldwide.
    A young boy named Darren Shan and his best friend, Steve, get tickets to the Cirque Du Freak, a wonderfully gothic freak show featuring weird, frightening half human/half animals who interact terrifyingly with the audience. In the midst of the excitement, true terror raises its head when Steve recognizes that one of the performers— Mr. Crepsley— is a vampire!
    Stever remains after the show finishes to confront the vampire— but his motives are surprising! In the shadows of a crumbling theater, a horrified Darren eavesdrops on his friend and the vampire, and is witness to a monstrous, disturbing plea. As if by destiny, Darren is pulled to Mr. Crepsley and what follows is his horrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires.
    This is the beginning of Darren's story.

About the Author-

  • Darren Shan is the bestselling author of the young adult series Cirque Du Freak, The Demonata, and the Saga of Larten Crepsley series, as well as the stand-alone book The Thin Executioner. His books have sold over 25 million copies worldwide. Shan divides his time between his homes in Ireland and London.

Reviews-

  • Publisher's Weekly

    February 19, 2001

    With strong sales overseas and a movie deal in the works, book one in The Saga of Darren Shan series is poised to capture a wide audience of series horror readers. After a rather slow buildup, a boy with the same name as the author sneaks out with best friend Steve to an illicit freak show, and his life becomes entangled with a vampire spider-wrangler, Mr. Crepsley. "This is a true story," writes Shan. "In real life, bad things happen. People die. Fights are lost. Evil often wins." The scenario is compelling, and the author mines the exploitative history of early 20th-century sideshows to create an artfully macabre "Cirque du Freak." But Darren's actions are often undermotivated: "I can't explain why Madam Octa meant so much to me, or why I was placing my life in such danger to have her. Looking back, I'm no longer sure what drove me on." Also his intermittent attraction to and repulsion by the vampire is never fully explored. His behavior may be explained in the sequel, The Vampire's Assistant
    (due in Sept.), but the open ending leaves so many loose ends that readers may leave more frustrated than intrigued, especially since the characters' wooden dialogue drains them of personality ("I'm upset," says Steve. "It hurt, what Mr. Crepsley said, and you ignoring me at school... If you break up our friendship, I don't know what I'll do"). Readers interested in boys becoming vampires would be better served by M.T. Anderson's Thirsty
    —and those fascinated with freaks by Iain Lawrence's Ghost Boy. Ages 10-up.

  • School Library Journal

    May 1, 2001
    Gr 4-8-In his introduction, 12-year-old Darren claims that this is a true story, though the names have been changed and the country (obviously England) kept secret. When a bizarre-sounding freak show comes to town, he and his friend Steve sneak out to attend, and Steve recognizes one of the performers-as a centuries-old vampire. Darren decides he must steal the vampire's performing, poisonous spider. The theft is successful, and he learns to control Madam Octa with a combination of flute music and ESP-until she bites Steve. Darren must then sell himself into vampire slavery to get the cure to the spider's poison. This volume is neither as well written nor as compulsively readable as the "Harry Potter" books (Scholastic), though surely J. K. Rowling's endorsement on the cover will win it a few fans. Most of the characters aren't developed much beyond their names and a brief description. The slowness of the plot in the beginning might turn some readers off, but once the supernatural enters, they will be hooked. The fun here is in the details and in the uniqueness of the non-evil vampire monster. Several volumes of the series are already out in England, and the movie rights have already been purchased, ensuring that this title and probably its sequels will be in demand.-Timothy Capehart, Leominster Public Library, MA

    Copyright 2001 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

  • Booklist

    April 15, 2001
    Gr. 5-8. When Cirque Du Freak comes to town, Darren and his friends are obsessed with seeing the acts, which include a performing spider; spiders are a particular fascination of Darren's. It is a marvelously creepy show that lives up to their expectations. After the show, Darren's rowdy pal, Steve, stays behind and confronts the man with the spider--who turns out to be a vampire. Hidden in the shadows, Darren listens, horrified, as Steve begs Mr. Crepsley to make him a vampire, too. Steve's request is denied, but through a series of mishaps, Darren becomes the vampire. The unresolved ending will leave readers begging for more. The gripping plot moves forward at a lightning pace, and Darren's fascination with the grotesque will ring true for many. Though originally published in England, there are no off-putting Briticisms, just a rip-roaring story full of oddities, low-key horror, and occasional, unexpected poignancy.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2001, American Library Association.)

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    Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
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