Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan
This book is clearly the start of a series. As you are reading you can tell the groundwork for future battles is being laid. Darren makes several daring and stupid decisions that result in him stealing a poisonous spider from a vampire which bites his friend Steve. In order to save Steve, Darren goes to the vampire and agrees to a deal that will cost him everything he has in life. Steve requested the vampire turn him, and was denied because he had bad blood and is evil. Darren has to agree to be the vampire’s assistant in order to get the antidote for Steve. This creates a source of contempt between the two friends and potential future battles. An interesting enough start to make me want to keep reading, however not at a must go out and buy the next book immediately.
Character List/Book Summary:
Darren Shan = narrator, not his real name, loves spiders and being scared, used to collect stamps which helped him learn geography. Steals Madam Octa, learns the flute, fakes his death after he makes a deal with Mr. Crepsley. Learned to play the flute to control Madam Octa when she is out of her cage.
Steve Leopard = Darren’s best friend, goes with him to Cirque du Freak, Mr. Dalton’s favorite student, has a temper, does not like his mother, wants to be a solider of fortune when he grows up, asks Mr. Crepsley to make him a vampire – is rejected because he has bad blood (could tell he is evil). Suspects that Darren overheard his conversation and their friendship starts to turn, after he is bitten be Madam Octa Steve realizes that Darren made a deal with Mr. Crepsley. Feels betrayed by both Mr. Crepsley for rejecting him and for Darren for becoming Mr. Crepley’s assistant. Vows to become the best vampire hunter and find Darren and kill him.
Larten Crepsley Vur Horston = vampire, one of the acts, tells Steve he has bad blood and declines his request. Finds Darren the night he stole Madam Octa, and is interested in who Darren is, watches him for two weeks. When Darren comes to him for help he says he needs an assistant and makes Darren part vampire in order to save Steve.
Mr. Dalton = Darren’s English and History teacher, tells the class that Freak Shows are illegal
Tommy Jones = Darren’s best friend, best goal keeper in school
Alan Morris = Darren’s best friend, found the flyer for Cirque du Freak, Darren sucks his blood when he is hurt playing soccer. This raises Steve’s suspicions and makes Darren realize he cannot stay in school.
Tony Morris = Alan’s older brother and how he got the flyer
Annie = Darren’s younger sister, keeps the secret about Madam Octa, Cirque du Freak, and the gifts Darren brings back for her. When Darren almost bites her, he realizes he is too dangerous to live at home and goes to Mr. Crepsley to keep his end of the deal and become his assistant.
Mr. Tall = owns Cirque du Freak, knows Steve and Darren’s names and how they got the tickets.
Alexander Ribs = one of the acts, very thin
Rhamus Twobellies = one of the acts, very fat
Truska = one of the acts, bearded lady
Hans Hands = one of the acts, walks on his hands
Madam Octa = a green, purple, and red spider, controlled by a flute
Gertha Teeth = one of the acts, strong teeth
Sive & Seersa = one of the acts (Twisting Twins)