Thursday, 19 July 2012
The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan
Author: Darren Shan
Released: May 30th 2000
Pages: 176 (Paperback)
Darren Shan was just an ordinary schoolboy - until his visit to the Cirque Du Freak. Now, as he struggles with his new life as a Vampire's Assistant, he tries desperately to resist the one temptation that sickens him, the one thing that can keep him alive. But destiny is calling... the Wolf Man is waiting.
As I said in my review of the previous installment to this saga, Cirque Du Freak, I'm a big lover of Darren Shan books, and this series is turning out to be no exception. This series follows the adventures of Darren Shan (the fictional boy, not the actual author) who gets turned into a half-vampire - a vampire's assistant - and about how he deals with the changes going on around him.
In this novel, we see a welcome return of the circus, and I loved that the plot seemed to surround getting under the skin of some of the other performers - literally, in Evra's case (aka, the Snake-Boy). I loved Shan's different interpretations of the characters, because whilst previously Darren only knew them from seeing the show, now we actually see what they're really like - and it's strange how very realistic they are. The hype around the circus is that they are "freaks" - yet Shan writes them so humanely that I feel as if they are no different than you and I. This technique draws the reader into the novel, and become comfortable around the characters - even the Wolf Man. Okay, well, kind of.
Again, like last time I loved the plot. Although the books are rather slim, the plot always has much more going on than some books that have over 300 pages! Shan has a great imagination, and when pen is put to paper, it turns into a fantastic read.
The only thing I didn't like was the suspense. At the end of practically every chapter, Shan would write, "But how I wish I'd never met him. Because of him, this turned into a circus of death" or something along those lines. Once or twice is fine, but again and again and again? No. There is suspense, and then there is pestering. Yes, it did make me curious about what was going to happen, but the ending was very predictable, and all because of those forewarning. It would have been better without them.
Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. Shan books are very easy reads, and only contain a bit of horror, so it's entertaining but you don't have to drag yourself through less-exciting moments. If you enjoy a bit of gore mixed with adventure, you will love Shan's books, so definitely go and check them out.