| 24 April 2010 | Carol Monaghan
Not a lot of new books enjoy the buzz surrounding "Cirque du Freak: A Living Nightmare" ($15.95, Little Brown & Co.). Warner Bros. is making it into a movie, more books are planned in the series, and J.K. Rowling even praises the book on its cover. It's supposed to be a creepy vampire tale, but it didn't scare us away from reading it.The book is full of spine-tingling twists and turns. Darren Shan, author and narrator, sets up the tale as a true story, warning readers: "Real life's nasty. It's cruel." Darren and his friend Steve sneak out to see a traveling freak show. There they encounter a wolf-man, a snake-boy and Larten Crepsley and his giant spider. Steve recognizes Crepsley as a famous vampire -- and soon Darren and Steve's lives are dangerously entangled with Crepsley's.Despite the chapter-ending cliffhangers and creepy premise, the book is a clumsy read in many places. And the wooden dialogue didn't help (kids say phrases such as, "You have me over a barrel").
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