Shan, Darren. Cirque Du Freak #1: A Living Nightmare. New York: Little, Brown and Company, 2000.
"Do you think the Cirque Du Freak is a real freak show?" I asked.
Mr. Dalton studied the flyer again, then shook his head.
"I doubt it," he said. "Probaby just a cruel hoax. Still," he added, "if it was real, I hope nobody here would dream of going."
"Oh, no, sir," we all said quickly.
"Because freak shows are terrible," he said. "They pretended to be like proper circuses but they were cesspits of evil. Anyody who went to one would be just as bad as the people running it."
"You'd have to be really twisted to want to go to one of those," Steve agreed. And then he looked at me, winked, and mouthed the words: "We're going!"
Darren Shan and his friends are just looking for a fun adventure, a forbidden circus held in the dead of night. But when Darren decides to steal a vampire's pet, he discovers the consequences could be eternal...
What a fun series. Really. I decided I needed to read this series when I saw that J.K. Rowling had a blurb for it (which I have never seen before or since...has anyone else?) And I am enjoying the series immensely. Fun characters, fun storylines, fun take on vampires. And in case you're confused, yes, Darren Shan is the name of the author and the main character, because it's a "true story."
On the other hand, it's no Harry Potter. I mean, you see J.K.'s recommendation, and you kind of assume it's going to be outstanding and phenomenal, the best of its kind....it's not. There are WAY too many exclamation points, which makes it feel almost like a younger reader, even though it's a YA. And don't make the mistake of giving it to someone that's too young. Even though the first book isn't bad at all, the next couple get fairly violent (someone's arms get ripped off, one character's stomach is eaten, etc.) It's in teen for a reason.
But if you're a horror seeker, this is definitely a book you'll have to check out. Boys will especially love it. I'm so excited for the future of horror!