| 08 December 2002 | Joanne Hayden
Darren Shan, in case you haven't been initiated, is a 29-year-old from Limerick whose real name is Darren O'Shaughnessy. He's also a vampire prince about whom eight books have already been written -- books that inspire Harry Potteresque mania among fans who eagerly await each instalment.In Allies of the Night, the eighth book in the series, Shan, his mentor Mr Crepsley and Harkat Mulds, a grey-skinned Little Person, have to hunt down and kill a group of vampaneze, the real baddies. That's not the scary bit, though -- to protect his cover, Shan has to go back to school.At this stage, Darren Shan knows his formula -- clues and teasers, snappy, cinematic writing, a clash between the creatures of the night, a cliffhanger followed by a snippet of the next book to keep readers hooked on the saga.The characters are archetypes, the stories purely escapist, with crude moral messages about the triumph of good over evil -- the equivalent of watching Buffy on TV. It works. So you had better get used to them, there are at least 12 more to come.
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