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Cirque Du Freak (The Saga of Darren Shan, #1)
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Cirque Du Freak (Cirque du Freak #1)

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4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  32,256 ratings  ·  2,361 reviews
Darren Shan is just an ordinary schoolboy - until he gets an invitation to visit the Cirque du Freak...until he meets Madam Octa...until he comes face to face with a creature of the night.

Soon, Darren and his friend Steve are caught in a deadly trap. Darren must make a bargain with the one person who can save Steve. But that person is not human and only deals in blood...
Paperback, 180 pages
Published 2007 by HarperCollins publishers (first published 2000)
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Rachel Taylor I would say that its defiantly a children's/young adult book but it can be enjoyed by adults as well!

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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The Holy Terror
This is an older series and many of you may have read it years ago or already decided it wasn't for you, but maybe my review will sway you into giving it a chance (or just make you remember how much you loved it.)

Here's my take on things:

Be prepared for a male author with all male main characters. There's a younger sister character with a small part and I enjoyed the siblings' relationship, but aside from her and a few mothers, this is mostly a series about boys. Did that bother me? Not at all.
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Sita Sargeant
This has got to be one of the best books I have ever read! I used to hate reading I found it a chore. I only read school books. This book changed that normally I'm not normally into horror books but Darren Shan is different he is such a cool and likeable person. I reccomend this book to anyone who likes reading, this book is a great start to a series I loved. I re-read the series all the time. If you read it, then I am 86% sure you will love it.
Mr. Z
After reading this, I couldn't help but laugh. As a reading teacher, I'm always reading books to determine whether or not my students might enjoy reading them, too. However, this school year, several of my students have been recommending books TO ME to read! This is another such recommendation. I have heard from many students how much they enjoy the Cirque Du Freak series, so I decided to give the first book a try. Now, I do I not typically enjoy reading gruesome/spine-tingling horror novels, bu ...more
Qt
Easy to read and surprisingly engrossing--I stayed up late to finish it. I see why it's such a popular series!
Myvampfiction
review by Megsly

*Warning: possible spoilers ahead.*

A few weeks ago, this charming little movie called The Vampire's Assistant came on my television and I, being obsessed with vampires as everyone knows, just had to watch and I was extremely impressed by the originality of the movie so when I unearthed the series, The Saga of Darren Shan, I dove right in.
A Living Nightmare is book one of the The Saga of Darren Shan, otherwise known as Cirque du Freak. It introduces us to Darren Shan, a young boy
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 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
Warning: I am keeping this review on the vague side because Shan's books are more fun if you don't know what's going on before you read them.

Well, this was a very interesting book. I didn't really like the idea of the freak show, but I did think that it was a novel way to introduce this story, and a different sort of motif for a children's series. I've seen this series at the bookstore for years now, and waffled about reading it. The freak show concept turned me off. I am just not into it, I mu
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Adam
Sep 25, 2010 Adam rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Horror lovers, vampire lovers, thrill lovers.
Ah. Cirque Du Freak. One of my all time favorites. I cant say enough about these books.
Do NOT judge a series by its first book. Sure its good, but you dont realize its AMAZING until a few books in. But all epics are like that, right? And yes. This is an epic. And it is epic. So if you have read the first, liked it but didnt want to read the other ones immediantly, then I say- DO IT!!!
What is it about? Vampires, vampaneze, wolves, freaks, witches, wizards, romance, death, twists, surprises, histo
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Yasmin
Jul 16, 2014 Yasmin added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Yasmin by: Jirokou
This book was so scary, but it was AWESOME! I can't wait to read the next one.
Andrea
Jun 23, 2011 Andrea rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All ages
Recommended to Andrea by: chapterchicks
Cirque Du Freak is really popular. I even saw a jock at my school reading them, which is quite surprising.. So, I got this book last night, and I'm done. And I loved it! At first I read the introduction, and I was like, wow, this is real? Now, I do not think it is. Because well, vampires, and a huge colorful spider named Madam Octa? Yeah, I don't think so. But, I loved the characters.
So, I watching one of those book hauls/reviews on YouTube. The videos with the username chapter chicks. Yeah, we
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Dan
I absolutely LOVED this book and I need to read the second book RIGHT NOW!

THINGS I LIKED:

The characters: Darren Shan is such a cool and likeable character. I love how he tells the story and he's just a very fond character. He's definitely a brave character and will do anything to keep his friends and family safe and that's what I loved about him.

Steve was also a very interesting character. I thought he was interesting because he was manipulating and there was something dark about him. I can't w
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Manshui
Mar 13, 2008 Manshui rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Freaks
Cirque Du Freak #1: A Living Nightmare
Darren Shan
183 Pages
HaperCollins Publishers
UK £4.99
ISBN: 0-00-675416-3
A Living Nightmare will bring a chilling sensation right after you read the book told by the gruesome-styled author Darren Shan who is also the protagonist of the story. This book one of the series does not only demonstrate the ordinary school boy with a normal life but extended beyond to vampirism and his break of friendship by misunderstandings. The protagonists and the antagonists of t
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María
Okay...

"El Tenebroso Cirque Du Freak", estrega primera de la saga de Darren Shan.

Este 1er libro de la saga (si no me equivoco, de 12)cuenta la historia de dos chicos (Dareen y Steve) que van a una función de circo "Freak" donde conocen a un personaje vampiro, Mr.Crepsey.

Resulta que de estos dos amigos, uno (Steve) sueña con convertirse algún dia en un verdadero vampiro y el otro (Darren) en cambio, tiene mucho miedo y esa idea jamás se le pasó por la cabeza.

Al descubrir Steve que nunca podría ll
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Krystianna
I watched the movie for this series a few months ago, so I decided it's time I give this series a read. The movie is based off of the first three books, which is pretty cool.

Darren is just a normal kid at school, though one day he and his buddies find a flyer for a freak show, so of course they decide to try to go. His friend Steve goes to get the tickets, though he finds that you're only allowed to buy two tickets per every flyer, and sadly he only has one flyer. Thus only two of the foursome
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Realteenreviews
Jul 07, 2010 Realteenreviews rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Vampires
The Gist

Darren Shan and his best friend Steve get tickets to see the Cirque Du Freak (a freak show). After the show Steve recognizes one of the performers as a vampire and when Steve confronts the vampire at the end of the show Darren learns some interesting information about his friend. Later when Darren and Steve get into some trouble and Steve’s life is on the line Mr. Crepsley offers to help but only if Darren will become his assistant. Darren has to then choose between saving his best frien
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Adeeb
I absolutely LOVED this book! The moment I started the first page, I couldn't stop reading.

The book is about two boys who go to a freakshow and then everything starts to go wrong.

The narration is in first person point of view(which I prefer over third person).
The book is short, but there are twelve books in the series.
The book is about vampires(but no it's not a vampire romance-which is a good thing).
The characters are very likable and you care for them.
The book is overall great. I assure you, i
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❦Ginanusha ❦
This book was amazing although I personally felt that it was written for young reader .Either way I loved it !! Thanks for the recommendation Zanib :) !!
Sercan Vatansever
''Uykuya dalmadan önce örümceğin aşağıya süzülüp yavaşça ağzımın içine girdiğini, boğazımdan aşağıya kayıp karnıma bir sürü yumurta bıraktığını hayal ederdim. Bebek örümcekler bir süre sonra yumurtalarını kırarak dışarı çıkacak, beni içeriden dışarıya doğru canlı canlı yemeye başlayacaklardı. Küçükken korkmaya bayılırdım.''

İşte bu derece kaçık bir baş karaktere sahip bir kitaptı. Sadece kaçık da değil, üstelik salaktı da. Karakterler inandırıcı değillerdi. Crepsley'i ilk başta sevdim ama ilerley
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Will M.
Finished it in one sitting. It had a shallow plot, something obviously meant for children or teens younger than 18.

I have to press the issue again regarding books that really not scary but they are considered as horror. This book didn't scare me at all, but like I said, it was meant for children- young adult, although I have to say anyone who is over 13 wouldn't consider this horror. Not even the part where the "freaks" were described could be considered scary. It had a very predictable plot bu
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Irene
A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan is the first book in the Cirque Du Freak series. It tells the story about a boy name Darren and how his life will forever change when he and his friend Steve decides to go to a freak show called Cirque Du Freak. At the show Darren and his friend witness different ‘freaks’ performing and one of them being Larten Crepsley, a vampire and his giant spider, Madame Octa. The moment Darren saw the spider he knew he wanted to bring it home with him to play with it. The ...more
Amy
Jun 04, 2012 Amy rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people looking for an easy read, who don't care about details or explanations
I have been looking forward to reading this book for forever. I have read so many great reviews, and it was even endorsed by my favorite author, JK Rowling. I was truly expecting to love every moment of the book. But I was not prepared for the lack of entertainment I found in this book. I am not sorry I read it, just sorry the book didn't live up to my expectations.

This book is about Darren, a boy who seems to have a decent heart - Kind of. He and his friends seem pretty normal for young boys. T
...more
Despair Speaking
What can I say? I love the Cirque de Freak series. It's creepy and cool in the right places. The characters are good even though I find Steven kind of insane.

Darren is an ordinary 12/13-year-old with a not-so-ordinary obsession with spiders. His best friend Steven apparently got some tickets for a freak show but had only two so Darren and two other friends had to fight for it in a contest. Obviously Darren won. He and Steven snuck out and went to the show. There, they see some pretty weird stuff
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Debbie
For young adult boys I would probably give this a 3.5 but for adults I would rate this at a 2. I did see on IMDb that they are making a movie out of the book.

Description: Darren Shan’s an ordinary schoolboy, until he and his best friend Steve get tickets to the Cirque Du Freak, a bizarre freak show featuring such arcane performers as Hans Hands, Gertha Teeth, the Wolf Man and Rhamus Twobellies. In the midst of the ghoulish excitement, true terror raises its head when Steve recognises that one of
...more
Sam Williamson
This is a really unique YA horror book as the genre tends to go -- but Darren Shan has definitely (IMO) established himself as a YA author that isn't afraid to push the envelope a little bit insofar as what is considered appropriate for a YA audience.

This is also a unique take on the vampire genre, and despite that being the main focus of the book (and the series), there are plenty of other creatures and interesting things about the world to keep the interest of even those who don't care much f
...more
Zanib  Sajjad
Update
Just as good the second time around!

Old Update


For all of you who haven't read this book, take my word (the word of a genuinely insane book junkie) and read this book. There is a whole new world just waiting for you. A world full of love, affection, loyalty, betrayal, and, of course, Destiny.

*Disclaimer: Tears may be shed by the end of the series. Many tears. Many, many tears... oh *sobs*
Cpapas7
Darren is a popular smart boy who is doing well at school and life is good for him. One day he reads a poster about a freak show a friend of his gave to him and all 3 of his best friends want to go to it. But when his friend sneaks out at night to get the tickets the seller tells him he can only get 2 tickets for every poster. So Steve, the one who got the tickets, keeps one and the three of them have to pick a piece of paper where only one of them is gets the ticket. Darren wins and goes to the ...more
Heather G Gentle
I think this is good for a kids 'terror book'. It's actually quite intense and sad at some spots but I'm enjoying it. Very easy read ( guess it should be for an adult:)). I like that the author is writing it as if it's his diary from youth and that it's all true:) Good change of pace reading a kids series. Watch out for falling grammar-- but doesn't take away from the story at all.
Vendea Eclee
Re-reading mi jen prospěl. Připomněla jsem si ten skvělý styl, jakým byl Darren napsán a pobavila jsem se u hlášek pana Hroozleyho. Díky fobii z pavouků jsem měla trochu nahnáno při některých scénách, ale jinak to byl skvělý rozjezd a už se hodně těším na další díl.
Sofia Rodrigues
May have spoillers!!!




Yesterday I was walking down the street when I saw my favourite library and couldn't resist the urge to enter.
I saw this book and though "Why not?" (since I love scary stuff).
Right after I got home I started reading it, just to get into the story, even though I am currently reading other book.
Thing is, the story got my attention so fast I couldn't stop reading, so I decided I would finish this one first, and then continue my other book.
Since it is a pretty small book, I read
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Sara
This book was sad and I was not expecting that. Some of the obstacles that Darren had to face would be extremely difficult for adults let alone a child. I cannot wait to read this entire series to see how it pans out!
Lamonica Williams
This book was written in first person with Darren Shan as the narrator. The book starts with Darren talking about how he was always fascinated by spiders. This fascination is what changed his life forever. Darren's friend, Alan, brings to school with him a flyer about a freak show called Cirque du Freak. Darren and his best friend, Steve, end up going to the show together. Together they watched many interesting acts. At the end, a man comes out with a big spider, named Madam Octa, and does his a ...more
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vampires 1 2 Nov 04, 2014 08:19PM  
Reading Reflection 1 1 6 Sep 15, 2014 06:38PM  
100 Books Challenge: Cirque du Freak - Darren Shan 12 21 Apr 10, 2014 11:17PM  
Do you think Steve Leopard was born evil? 3 25 Mar 22, 2014 04:59PM  
Questions That Can or Can't be Answered 7 64 Nov 02, 2013 06:31AM  
How did you think the movie adaptation did? 15 103 Jun 12, 2013 01:20PM  
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Librarian's note: Also writes under the name D.B. Shan.

Darren Shan (born July 2, 1972 in London, England) is the pen name of the Irish author Darren O'Shaughnessy, as well as the name of the protagonist of his book series The Saga of Darren Shan, also known as The Cirque Du Freak Series in the United States. He is the author of The Demonata series, as well as some stand-alone books, and a series o
...more
More about Darren Shan...
The Vampire's Assistant (Cirque Du Freak, #2) Tunnels of Blood (Cirque Du Freak, #3) Vampire Mountain (Cirque Du Freak, #4) Trials of Death (Cirque Du Freak, #5) The Vampire Prince (Cirque Du Freak, #6)

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“I don't like it, but my hands are tied. I just want you to know this: if I ever get the chance to betray you, I will. If the opportunity arises to pay you back, I'll take it. You'll never be able to trust me.” 255 likes
“A world of "if"s, but it would make no difference. If I could go back in time... but I couldn't. The past was behind me. The best thing now would be to stop looking over my shoulder. It was time to forget the past and look to the present and future.” 204 likes
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