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Cirque Du Freak #1: A Living Nightmare: Book…

Cirque Du Freak #1: A Living Nightmare: Book 1 in the Saga of Darren Shan… (edition 2004)

by Darren Shan

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2,069793,207 (3.74)109
Title:Cirque Du Freak #1: A Living Nightmare: Book 1 in the Saga of Darren Shan (Cirque Du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan)
Authors:Darren Shan
Info:Little, Brown Young Readers (2004), Mass Market Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

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Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan

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Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
I had high expectations of this novel and it didn't disappoint.

Plot: 5/5
I really enjoyed the plot of this novel as it was unlike anything I have read before. I have read some vampire novels but I found the plot of this novel to be refreshingly different, it had none of the stereotypical things you expect in a vampire novel. The plot is written in first person which I think is a good move as it adds more detail to the story.

Characters: 5/5
Our main character is called Darren Shan and he is a pretty good main character. He seems like a likeable and realistic main character who is just a normal person thrown into unusual circumstances. The smaller characters are also good, with my favourite being Steve, Darren's best friend. I thought he was a very interesting person and the twist involving him at the end was great and unexpected.

Writing Style: 5/5
I feel like the novel is written in a kind of diary style, with there being lots of thoughts and feelings from our main character Darren Shan. It is written as if Darren is retelling his story for us and it is a different but interesting way to write it.

Overall: 5/5
Although this book is written for younger teenagers it is still an enjoyable book no matter your age. Also don't be put off by the fact there are vampires in it, as they aren't your typical "Twilight" vampires, they are a lot more evil, more Dracula like. I would reccommend this book! ( )
  ACascadeofBooks | Oct 5, 2016 |
I think I'm just too old for this one. I could not finish it. ( )
  mtlkch | Jun 21, 2016 |

“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.”

I've now read three of this series. I can't say it's my favorite Young Adult series since I have so many to read still. Based on what I've read so far, if they stay this good or improve, I'd have to answer that question with, "Yes, the Cirque Du Freak collection is my favorite YA".

Really, one owes it to themselves to read this. The protagonist is a young boy and there are no bizarre twisted love stories or love triangles here. There is a touch of youth, the circus, a truly incredible unique world setting, and the tests and bonds of friendship, family, and faith.

At first the plot seemed too young to me, the writing slightly awkward, too childlike and easy to zip through, to where I was wondering that the age was TOO young. However, almost midway through the author picked it up and the tale became absolutely fascinating with improved literary style. Also the author employed too many exclamation marks at first - *shudders* - even in YA and Children's tales this just shouldn't be allowed. After the first chapter or two the author seemed to get more comfortable and settled in with a more relaxed, realistic tone.

Basically, for a book this was good, for it's age group? Exceptional.

Mixed with a fun lightness but also a depressing darkness, the story starts out much simpler than it ends. In fact, there is a heart-wrenching scene for the parents in store, which made me cry, as I couldn't imagine much that would be more awful to endure. Fun lightness comes primarily at the beginning before Darren's life changes forever -- fun with friends, time outside spent playing sports and planning on trips to the "secret circus."

Character wise Darren is a worthy protagonist. He's a teenage boy with the normal sort of angst, a realistic innocence and loyalty to friends, a healthy dose of dread and fear. The vampire in the story may sound unattractive to any who prefer darker themed menaces. Not a menace at all, he's kind enough (although reclusive and not particularly fond of children.) The boy, the vampire, the spider, and the group of circus freaks are all forced together in unusual circumstances which don't end up pleasantly. Steve as the friend was a multi-leveled character, but I was irked at the end with him because I hate misconceptions and miscommunications in stories.

I'm sure many of you have seen the movie. I have also, and way before reading the book. I only purchased the book mainly for my son, Gage, although I was always curious about it myself. It follows the movie faithfully at first, but then twists off in completely different directions. I think perhaps the movie invented many scenes, and took others from novels that are farther down in the series. Since it did not include what's in the second and third book, I'm not really sure. The movie was good, fun for kids, but the book is much better with a richer world.

Ended up slapping on a four star rating for the weak beginning, which was a slight struggle to continue with, the awkwardness as Shan started out with the writing style, and some of the inconsistencies. However, this one ended up being an addiction to be consumed the farther I went, the more I had, and it also ended with a pretty hefty cliffhanger. It's good I had the second ready and rearing to go! ( )
  ErinPaperbackstash | Jun 14, 2016 |
If this author had been published when I was a preteen, I would have read all of his books within a month. I can still enjoy it as a jaded adult reader. The audio-book narration is entertaining, and the narrator reads like an authentic kid, unlike many YA and MG authors. I wouldn't go so far as to compare him to Stephen King, but certainly to Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine (the horror authors I read a lot of when I was in middle school). But whereas R.L. Stine tended to repeat his own story-lines a lot, this felt fresh. ( )
  Abby_Goldsmith | Feb 10, 2016 |
I read this one in a day. Very easy read, entertaining young adult book. I may read the next one in the series, since there was a movie made based on the story (The Vampire's Assistant), but that would be my only motivation. While it was entertaining, I would rather press on to others on my TBR list. ( )
  CarmenMilligan | Jan 18, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 79 (next | show all)
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Este desmadre lleno de freaks jamás hubiera salido a la luz de no ser por los esfuerzos de mis leales ayudantes de “cocina”:

Biddy y Liam, ”La Horrible Pareja”
Doménica de Rosa “La Diabólica”
Gillie Russell “La Gruñona”
Enma “La Exterminadora” Schlesinger
“El Señor de la Noche Carmesí”, Christopher Little

También debo dar las gracias a mis compañeros de festín: Las “Horribles Criaturas” de Harper Collins, y los macabros alumnos de la Askeaton Primary School (y otras) que se prestaron a hacer de conejillos de indias y alimentaron mis pesadillas para hacer que este libro fuera de lo más tenso, oscuro y escalofriante.
First words
I've always been fascinated by spiders.
Siempre me han fascinado las arañas.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
This fantastic horror book is about a story of a young boy, called Darren. Darren is just an ordinary student who likes to play soccer. One weird thing about him is that he loves spiders. One day, Darren and his best friend Steve got to go to a mysterious show of Cirque Du Freak. At the show, Darren gets charmed by a huge spider named Madame Octa, and he steals the spider from its owner, Mr.Crepsley.
Unfortunately, when Steve came to play at Darren's home, Madame Octa bites Steve. The only person who has an antidote to Madame Octa's poison is Mr.Crepsley. Darren finally goes to visit Mr.Crepsley to ask for the antidote and he exchanges the antidote by his soul, becomes a half-vampire.
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0316605107, Paperback)

Anyone who loves the humorous but hair-raising horror in R.L. Stine's Goosebumps series will devour British author Darren Shan's first novel with equal zeal. Some books are born with a surrounding buzz; this one even has Harry Potter creator J.K. Rowling's stamp of approval: "Fast-paced and compelling, full of satisfying macabre touches," she writes. Warner Brothers will be making it into a movie, and the rest of the series is already in the works. Given all that, you'd expect a tour de force! Really, though, Cirque Du Freak is a thrill ride that will keep even the most reluctant readers turning pages, but will never take its place in the literary canon.

Darren Shan, author and narrator, sets the book up as a true story, warning readers: "Real life's nasty. It's cruel.... Evil often wins." Indeed, evil begins to win when Darren and his buddies find a flier for "Cirque Du Freak," a traveling freak show promising performances by the snake-boy, the wolf-man, and Larten Crepsley and his giant spider, Madame Octa. Darren and his friend Steve wouldn't miss it for the world.

So, Saturday night they sneak out to the old theater, tall and dark, with broken windows. "Every act you see tonight is real," croaks Mr. Tall. "Each performer is unique. And none are harmless." That's for sure. (A werewolf bites off the hand of someone in the audience, for instance.) Things grow very serious for the two boys when Steve not only recognizes Mr. Crepsley as a famous vampire, but professes his true desire to join him! To make matters worse, the spider-obsessed Darren goes back to the old theater to steal Madame Octa so he can teach her tricks in his room. (He does, with mixed results.) The plot further coagulates as Darren is faced with some terrible decisions about what to do to save his bloodthirsty friend Steve.

Readers may be too enthralled to notice some clumsy editing (the aforementioned bitten-off hand is later referred to as an arm, Darren stops dead in his tracks when he's already stopped, etc.). They may also not notice that the boys constantly use adult-sounding expressions like "his breath stank to the high heavens," though the book is clearly set in the 21st century. If this book gets under your kids' skin (and it probably will), they're in luck--we haven't heard the last of the Saga of Darren Shan. (Ages 10 and older, not for the faint of heart) --Karin Snelson

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:56 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Two boys who are best friends visit an illegal freak show, where an encounter with a vampire and a deadly spider forces them to make life-changing choices.

(summary from another edition)

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