Kliatt (USA) | 28 April 2010 | Paula Rohrlick
The popularity of Shan's Cirque du Freak series guarantees an audience for this creepy horror story, first in a new series. "I've seen demons rip my world to pieces," teenager Grubbs Grady wails, and he means it literally—his parents and sister are torn apart by terrible creatures from another dimension, and he barely escapes with his life. No one will believe his story and he ends up in an institution, lost to grief and fear, until his Uncle Dervish appears. Dervish believes Grubbs's tale and takes Grubbs to live with him in his huge stone house in the English countryside, where he reveals to him more about Lord Loss, the demon master who feeds on human suffering. He also tells Grubbs about the family curse—a werewolf gene runs in the clan. When Grubbs's teenage relative and close friend Billy starts to turn into a werewolf, Dervish and Grubbs must take on Lord Loss and his terrible minions in a chess battle of life and death. The secret weapon of teens everywhere, sullen indifference, is the key to winning, Grubbs discovers. Short, staccato sentences and the use of the present tense help raise the tension level in this supernatural page-turner. Lots of gore, including dismemberment, and the descriptions of the nightmarish demons make this appropriate only for those with strong stomachs—it's gross as well as engrossing. The cover, with a close-up of a menacing hand and a boy in the background with his hand to his throat, conveys the novel's sense of menace nicely. Horror fans will eat this up. A sequel is promised for fall 2006.
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