Book title: Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare
Author: Darren Shan
Status: re-read finished
"Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare" is the first novel in The Saga of Darren Shan by Darren Shan. Darren Shan was a teenage kid with formidable fascination for spiders. He and his best friend Steve found out about a Freak Show coming to town and worked hard at trying to find tickets. They did, by luck and by fate. Together they went to "Cirque du Freak" where they were mesmerized by the fantastic and disturbing show, especially by the act of the mysterious Mr. Crepsley and his intelligent spider Madam Octa.
After witnessing a confrontation between Steve and Mr. Crepsley in which Steve declared the latter to be a vampire, Darren set his sight on Madam Octa, planning to steal her and use his knowledge of Mr. Crepsley's true nature to his full advantage. His plan ran smoothly, until Darren's younger sister Annie barged into his room, causing him to lose control over the spider. It bit and poisoned Steve. Steve's only hope for survival was if Darren consented to become Mr. Crepsley's assistant, a half-vampire. In order to keep his loved ones safe, Darren must cut them off by faking his own death. Instead of thanking Darren for giving up his everything, Steve swore revenge on Darren for stealing his rightful place of being Mr. Crepsley's vampire assistant and betraying him.
One of my favorite genres is stroies about unearthly, imaginary or magical creatures: talking animals, dragons, dark elves......and of course, vampires. Darren Shan takes us into the world of vampires, a rather different one, and introduces us to many strange and fascinating characters in the "Cirque du Freak". Like in a real circus, readers can hardly take their eyes off the world Darren Shan created -- exciting yet dangerous, fascinating yet deadly. It's a place of darkness and terror and doom, though not without hope.
Reading it for the second time, I still find the book a page turner, easily read in one sitting and hungry for more. When Darren parted his family, the way he treasured every last moment, his silent goodbyes, and how his dad reacted upon his "tragic death" still moved me to tears.