Cirque Du Freak is an amazing series loved by many, but we don’t know Larten Crepsley’s history, and the second book in Darren Shan’s prequel The Ocean of Blood intends to change that. Picking up with Lartens years with the war packs, it manages to push your ideas of what happened immensely further. The Ocean of Blood is an amazing novel, because it creates vivid details allowing you to generate a perfect picture in your mind, makes a cliffhanging story making you want to continuously flip the pages, and it generates many twists and turns within the plot unexpected in a prequel.
The vivid details allow you to generate a perfect picture in your mind. The way Darren Shan writes the story, it feels like you are there with Larten every step of the way. Sometimes that picture can make you want to close your eyes so you don’t throw up, because he really describes everything. A great example of Shan’s vivid imagery is when Larten is on the boat sailing to America; “Blood everywhere. Guts hanging from the ropes in the rigging. Heads set on spikes and hooks…”(234) That scene really made you feel like you were on the boat looking at the carnage. Part of you wants to stop reading and the other more dominant part forces you to continue. The author really knows how to provide great detail, without making the book boring with excessive pages of detail. In this moment you can really see what’s happening, and just adds to the many great aspects of this book.
The cliffhanging story makes you want to continuously flip pages. The story makes you believe that people will die at any moment, and makes you keep reading to find out what happens. When a book is interesting, you find yourself reading faster, and in this novel you never find yourself reading slower. One moment of the cliffhanging story is the end of the book; “Picking up the baby, Larten strapped the silent shivering boy to his back and made sure he was secure. Then, with a cry of total abandon, he lept from the boat…”(247) This is one of the most cliffhanging moments in the story, but unfortunately you can’t flip to the next page you have to buy the next book. In other moments I raced through near death or thrilling moments, but at the end of this I just got a “To be continued.” I love how Darren Shan makes you want to fly through the book, but the flaw is that the story shouldn’t be split up.
Most of those cliffhanging moments end up leading to a twist in the story, and that is why this book has many twists and turns unexpected in a prequel. With most prequels you know what will happen, because there is a short span of time between where the story starts and ends. In this book, the timeframe is over hundreds of years long so almost anything but the main characters’ death is a possibility. There is a scene where one of vampire princes’ get mad at Larten for giving a guy information, but he isn’t what you’d expect. “I need more facts for my story, Bram said quietly. Facts? I thought it was going to be a work of fiction.-People want to read uplifting tales, not morbid stories…”(197). It turned out that Bram was a human who was writing a story about. This was shocking to me, because the vampires hired him to avoid the facts of vampires, so no one truly understands them. I always assumed that the rumors of vampires were made from sightings and never that the vampires made them. I thought this took the story in a completely different and unexpected direction that could have it’s own book.
Currently there are many bad vampire novels, and it’s hard to find a good one between children’s stories and Twilight rip-offs. The Ocean of Blood is just what you have been looking for, with great detail, a cliffhanging story, and many twists and turns. Darren Shan definitely does not disappoint with his new series, and I would encourage newcomers to start here. Larten embarks on a journey for identity in this book, and I think many of us should pay attention to that theme. In the real world people constantly try to figure out who they are and what they want to become.