Alex's Reviews > A Living Nightmare

A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan
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Apr 08, 12


A chilling sensation can be felt by those reading Cirque Du Freak, A Living Nightmare told by the gruesome-styled author, Darren Shan, who is also the protagonist of the novel. A Living Nightmare is the first installment, out of 12 novels, of the Cirque Du Freak series. The plot begins with Darren's best friend, Steve, obtaining tickets to an underground freak show coming to town. Darren and Steve are mesmerized by the disturbing show, especially by Mr. Crepsley, of whom Steve identifies to be a vampire. Steve confronts Mr. Crepsley at the end of the show, demanding that he should be made his assistant. Darren witnesses Mr. Crepsley refuse Steve upon tasting his blood, declaring it as evil. Darren now being wary of Steve and his intentions, develops a fixation with madam Octa, which is Mr. Crepsley's spider. Darren has had an obsession with spiders since he was a kid, and can't resist taking it. Darren then let's it slip that he witnesses Steve and Mr. Crepsley's conversation and that he has stolen the vampire's spider. Losing control of the spider, Darren gets distracted and the spider bites Steve, spiraling him into a coma. Darren goes to Mr. Crepsley for help, however the vampire will only give Steve the antidote if Darren would give up his life to become his assistant. Darren understands that it is Steve's only help for survival and grimily accepted the deal. Darren then plunges into the dark world of the vampire, faking his death and drops into his new life as a half-vampire.

I have read the entire trilogy, and I have to admit, it was one of the best series that I have ever read. Being told in first-person narration, Darren's life was opened up to the reader, taking character development to a whole new level. As Darren grows as a vampire, a bond is created that pushes the reader along the wild ride that the protagonist experiences. The series demonstrates the ordinary school boy with a normal life but extended beyond to vampirism and his break of friendship by misunderstandings. The book appeals more to the 13-25 range of young adults, for they can relate to that of the protagonist, not only in age, but emotions of a normal teenager. There is however, a surplus of blood in scenes, and is not recommended to someone that cannot handle it. Foreshadowing is used multiple times, and creates dramatic irony later in the novel and in future books. The novel and series are recommended to any avid horror reader, that enjoys being taken on a wild ride from beginning to end. The only downside however, is that a few chapters get slow-paced, and drag on for a few pages, but usually rebounds with a twist. The character development is great, and the suspense throughout the novel is mind-boggling, so overall the book deserves a 5 star rating, and it is recommended to read the rest of the series as well.
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