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Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan

Reviewed by Shannon Library Children's Book Club

Darren Shan is a schoolboy who loves spiders. He and his friends learn about a freak show that is coming to their town and decide they must go but they can only afford two tickets. After a competition to decide who gets to go, Darren and his friend Steve Leopard go to the circus that Saturday night. Hey see loads of fabulous acts including a wolf man, a bearded lady and a man who can eat anything. Darren thinks the beast act is a huge spider called Madame Octa and her trainer, Mr. Crepsley, but Steve recognizes that Mr. Crepsley is a real vampire.

From this point the adventure the adventure gets better and better. Steve Leopard asks Mr. Crepsley if he can become his assistant but is refused. Darren steals Madame Octa with disastrous results. The spider bites Steve and Darren has to make a deal for an antidote with the vampire to save his friend’s life. Darren gives up his home, leaves his family and becomes a Vampire’s Assistant.

Why the bookclub members liked the story

The book is action packed adventure, which is really hard to put down. They liked the character of Darren finding him especially cool and brave when he is bestowed with his vampire powers.

The children liked the character of Steve Leopard. It was clear from the start of the story that he was not a good person and the author developed this very well. Some parts of the book were a bit scary but that made it even better.

Children get hooked on the story from the beginning and want to read the next book. The ending really leaves the reader in suspense.

The book comes highly recommended by all members of the book club.