Manga Life | 27 October 2009 | Park Cooper



Well, good news, bad news. The good news is that this volume of Cirque (coming really soon to theaters in the form of a very garish-looking live-action movie) is the best yet. The bad news is, that only puts it at "solidly better-than-average teen vampire fare." On one hand, that means that by volume 7, if the improvement continues at the exact same rate, it'll become the best sequentially-told teen vampire story ever published. On the other hand, one has a feeling that it'll level off somewhere before we get to that lofty height. Still, I'm enjoying the series as far as it goes. The story of Darren Shan, who happens to have the same name as the author, the cocky and fairly clever young half-vampire, continues as his mentor decides it's time to leave the Cirque du Freak for a while and learn the rules of being a vampire in the urban world some more. Darren's pal Evra the snake-boy comes too. Darren also gets a human girlfriend-- which is a problem when another monster threat imperils the city they're in. Can Darren save his friends and friendships... thereby ending his zero-for-two history in that department? You'll have to read it to find out... While still a little hokey sometimes, the manga of Cirque du Freak is slowly getting to be a better and better read... indeed, I cannot imagine myself getting nearly as much out of reading the prose series this is based upon (especially now that I'm seeing ads for the movie). It doesn't quite feel like a manga as far as the writing and pacing... but MUST EVERYTHING feel like manga? Manga, in general, has its own moments of hokeyness too, especially in the vampires-for-teens field... This is entertaining enough that I feel that the target audience will probably welcome it gladly.

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