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5.0 out of 5 starsTurn your kids onto reading again.
Reviewed in the United States on January 20, 2017
I remember reading this book as a child and loved it back then. I am now an instructional aide for some 6th graders. They really were not invested in reading until I gave them this book. There was one scholar in particular who would not read any book given to them because they were not "good" at reading until they picked this one up. They have read this book enthusiastically and actually want to complete their work quickly so they can get back to reading the book. Any book that can truly change a scholar's perception of reading is truly a marvelous book. I'm glad to get them for the scholars of my class.
5.0 out of 5 starsBest Vampire series for preteens & up hands down!!!
Reviewed in the United States on September 20, 2019
Is your preteen not big on reading? Nothing seems to grab their attention? Well I was that kid and so was my son until we started this book! Cirque Du Freak is and has been my FAVORITE series for many years! When I was younger I wasn't much of a reader until this book was introduced to me in my reading class. We were only required to read the first book but it left me hungry for more! At the time the last few books of the series was only available in the U.K. My family was so thrilled how I was not only interested in the books but my reading scores had improved that they ordered them for me! I was a proud owner of the entire collection of the Cirque Du Freak series! I couldn't put them down they were so good!!! Nothing compares! Not even other popular vampire series in my opinion! Unfortunately I lost them all do to a tragedy, but now I have children of my own! One who is now old enough to experience the thrill as I did from the exciting stories of Darren Shans Cirque Du Freak series and let me tell you he is not disappoint!!
Overall it was good. I think a couple of minor changes could've made this a 4-star read for me. The first, being the narrator constantly repeating how creepy, scary, and spooky things are. I feel like once is okay, twice is a little redundant, and more than that is trying to hard to make something feel scary when it objectively isn't. The other would've been a bit more story to this book. It feels very short and like it could've given more bang for it's buck. Anyway, I'm definitely going to read the next installment I just hope it's a bit more substantial.
I’m glad I assigned this for myself to read again. I remember the series getting better as it progressed. This was just an introductory story to get the reader acclimated to the world of the fictional Darren Shan and the vampire Larten Crepsley (a great character for vampire fans). Slightly darker read than Goosebumps (it contains themes of death after all) but definitely still a great recommendation for an upper middlegrade reader (and big kids like me).
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2020
I am an 11 year old boy. My mom let me do the review. This book is great. I would definitely read this again. The whole story telling is great, and I am looking forward to the next book. My 6 year old brother listened too and liked it. It did not scare him and there is nothing too bad in this book. It might scare younger kids, but I think it depends on the kid.
3.0 out of 5 starsThis could've been fantastic ...
Reviewed in the United States on January 15, 2011
I had heard about this book about the time I heard that legendary screenwriter Brian Helgeland (look it up if the name is unknown to you) was writing the adaptation to it. I was intrigued, but I didn't rush right out and read it. I think I first heard about the adaptation back in 2004, so that tells you a lot.
Recently, I saw the movie and was impressed by the quality of the story and found it interesting, so I bought it on Kindle and finally read it.
I had prepared myself for this book because over the last 9 years since it was released, a lot of people have said much about the quality of the writing and how contrived and poor it was, almost disabling the ideas and the world created by Shan. In his defense, a lot has also been said to the positive about his writing ability in all the subsequent books that followed, even as the storyline seemed to wane.
Obviously, this is a very early work that probably would've been made into a masterpiece had it been reworked a few times and developed. The story is strong though and very lucid even if the writing drags it down.
To the point, there is an excessive use of exclamation marks for one. The characters, especially Darren, come across as shallow and underdeveloped, while the other characters around him are much better and fleshed out in greater detail. It's really hard getting a peg on Shan as he reads like a 'tabula rasa' -- don't worry, I hate when other reviewers use that word to describe a main character as well. The dialogue sounds the same regardless of who's speaking it, and some of the ideas are: "Oh, yeah ... and then ..." which is incredibly disconcerting.
I had no problem with Shan using his own name and I didn't translate it as something the author was doing to boost his ego or because of low-self-esteem. I think that notion is just beyond absurd. Why not write a nouveau-style Vampire memoir? In 2001, it seemed more plausible and was really ahead of the curve. I can't fault the guy for that at all.
The story is strong enough to hook me and I'll read the next three books with an open mind, because I'm willing to give the writer a pass "if" the writing develops. From what I've read, it has and so I have high hopes.
After seeing a preview clip for the movie version, I thought it would be interesting to read this. I read the frist 5 books of the series the weekend.
This book (and series) is aimed at boys and girls in the middle school range. There are lots of icky-icky moments that kids seem to love, and the moral decisions are fairly simplistic. Having said that, these are pretty good adventures. Each one has the plotting and story trajectory of, maybe, a weekly TV program.
But these are good adventures for kids. I enjoyed them, and would recommend them (and plan to this very morning!) to any parent trying to interest their children in reading. This story of a young boy who ends up as a vampire's assistant, his further adventures, his growth in knowledge, are worthwhile.
I also liked how the author snuck in a few challenging vocabulary items (the hero wonders why his vampire master has to use such big words!).
3.0 out of 5 starsSaw the movie, wanted to read the book to see the comparison.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 31, 2019
It wasn’t the worst in the fact that the story is a great idea but it definitely doesn’t have a good enough grasp on its audience. It was pretty violent yet written for a child. It was also written pretty badly. There was so many unnecessary explanations and descriptions. I take that down to the fact he was trying to make the reader believe that this was written by a child in a diary and that the whole story is real. It really annoys me that I still want to read the next one just to know what happens though.. how does that work?
Let's ignore for a moment the film they made out of this book. Just...pretend it doesn't exist.
This series of books were a classic favourite when I first found them in a library a long time ago, and binge read the entire series in about 5 days. The saga picks up momentum faster than a train pulling away from a stop - and honestly if you love yourself a good modern twist without glitter, you can't go wrong with this series. Some of the best story telling I've seen, and recommended to anyone thinking of giving them ago. You won't be dissapointed.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 11, 2020
I've loved listening to this book and reading it. Do give it a try of you like vampires. Darren is a young boy and at first I thought it was going to be too much of a story for children (not me who's 24😂) but I have to say this story is really good. I love listening before bed and have been captivated into knowing what's going to happen next in his adventures.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 14, 2016
Read this book when I was a kid at school. I have gone back and re-read some of the better young adult based series of books, harry potter, chronicles of Narnia, hunger games, on the kindle so I have them collected. Just for the keep sake really, the story did grip me years ago but is a bit flimsy reading as an adult to say the least and is a bit far fetched but hey ho, it's an easy read and I'll get the whole series. Was sure there was only seven books when a kid in the series but are twelve now so more to read. A step back into my youth lol. Enjoy!
5.0 out of 5 starsFinally, something my son will read!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 27, 2011
I bought this book for my son who, like a lot of boys, would much rather be playing on his xbox than reading. He'd never managed to finish an entire book before so, given the low price, I thought I'd give this a try. He loved it! Cirque du Freak is the only book my son has ever voluntarily read from start to finish and he loved it so much, he asked for the 2nd book straight afterwards, The Vampires Assistant. After just finishing that one, we are awaiting delivery of the third book in the series, Tunnels of Blood.
These books are excellently written with interesting plots and characters. They can be a little gory so not for the sensitive types but for older kids and young teens, they're brilliant. Highly recommended!