Mightier Than The Sword | 06 July 2010 | Paul Carroll

This long awaited review of Darren Shan's The Thin Executioner comes a couple of days after I've finished reading it. I'll admit it took me much longer than I'd hoped to read it; it came out at the end of April, but I had exams that got in the way, and then a lot of summer distractions. Anyway, on to the review!

First impressions of the book?
Okay, at first I wasn't happy with the book. I couldn't get into it after my exams. It took a while to get back into the swing of it. That's more to do with me not being in the mood to read. Once I got going, mainly on the last day when I got through an awful lot of it, the book was a great read. The story always took the reader on a new journey. There was always something to reference back to, something to shock and disgust and repel. In short, something to horrify!

How did it compare to other books by the author?
Darren Shan out-did himself on this one, creating a stand-alone title that rivals both his series(es?). It ended in a much neater way than The Saga of Darren Shan and The Demonata. While I loved both of them, this was truly a masterpiece of collective story telling in a single tome. The character developed in a lot neater way, the world was much more full, the mythology more expansive, and there wasn't any of what had become usual of Shan as a downside. That is to say, there was no verging-on-pretentious creation story, and no meddling with time. The book was what it was; an adventure, a change in a life, and in the end the love story everyone had been hoping for. Okay, so I knew how it was going to end. But anyone who knows anything about stories or Darren Shan, or both, could figure that one out. Still, it was a nice ending.

I want to get this for my ten/eleven/twelve year old; is it suitable?
What does that even mean anymore? Okay, there's references to sex. But that's in everything now. The Simpsons makes loads of references to sex. Much more than this book. There's violence. Lots of it. But almost every movie and television show has violence. The only difference is that this is a book. But can I just say, if you're surprised there's violence, look at the title. See the third word? Yeah, those guys kill. There's violence, and it's wonderful. So, if you're okay with those two details, then yes, this book is suitable.

What about recommended?
Most definitely! If it had been out in mass paperback this would have been a staff-pick at work! But they frown on us picking books that cost too much if they're going to be available for cheaper in a few months. But I still recommend it. Especially as a summer read! It's pretty much amazing.

Did you get it signed? We know you Paul - you're obsessed with Darren Shan.
What are you, my stalker? Yes, I got it signed. I went to the signing in Dublin on April 30th, and had a nice little chat with Darren Shan himself. It began with "Oh, hello again. Still writing away?" Yeah, we keep in touch. He's pretty cool that way, that he remembers who I am every time I got to a signing now. He also wrote a pretty cool inscription on the book. Made. My. Day.

What a fun anecdote... why did you tell us that?
To show that Darren Shan's not just a great writer for his stories! He's a legend of a man, very friendly, and you're doing the world a service by making sure he has the publication deals to keep making his tours amazing for everyone. He listens to his fans. He gets to know them. You don't get that very often. You will love Darren Shan. Trust me on that one. He's very cool. And his books are pretty awesome too.

So... are you going to rate the book?
Eh... no. I never rate books. I'm not critical enough to give anything less than a four. If we go by YouTube's system of rating, though, I give this book a thumbs up. It's not to be missed.

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