Scott Reads Books | 19 February 2013 | Scott Place

"Brothers to the Death" is the final book in Darren Shan's "Saga of Larten Crepsley" and it certainly lives up to the expectations set by the previous instalments.


"Brothers to the Death" picks up a couple of years after the ending of the previous novel where Larten executed his revenge against traitor Tanish Eul and put his life in the hands of the newly blooded Gavner Purl. Gavner spares him and Larten returns to his duty as a Vampire General and a surrogate father, however shortly after he is asked to accompany Prince Mika Ver Leth to diplomatic meetings with the German Nazi party in order to establish whether the vampires will take part in the upcoming war. After a long political discussion the Vampires decline the offer and Larten and his assistant lead the Nazis on the "mother of all goose chases" around Europe while the remaining vampires flee from the war zones. However during the chase, news of disaster strikes the vampires as they discover that known villain Randel Chayne is targeting Larten's lover Alicia and her daughter. This leads Larten and Gavner on a path of destruction and treachery as they choose their duty to the vampires over their love of their human family, ultimately leading to Alicia's death and Larten embarking on a mission to eradicate the Vampaneze with Wester...


"Brothers to the Death" is filled with twists and turns as Larten becomes more entwined in the web of deception that is the Vampire/Vampaneze conflict which makes the book exciting and a real page turner. Much like the previous book the historical scenes are my favourites in the book as Shan shows the horror of the war and the nuclear disasters through very few words while creating a great sense of sorrow in the reader as they see the weaknesses of the human race through a neutral onlooker. These scenes create a significant portion of the book as Larten distracts himself from his quest against the vampaneze and they also are (dare I say) the most emotionally charged as they do not feel rushed or drawn out and they successfully show all that Shan wished to portray in a historically based section. In contrast to this the chapters leading up to and during the final twist seem rushed as Larten creates snap decisions which ultimately lead to the downfall of one of his closest friends. Though these chapters are moving and excellently written, I do not feel that they have been done justice, this is due to how rushed they feel and also their predictability. (I mean the title sort of gives it away to any reader). However after this Shan finishes the book masterfully through seamlessly linking the final chapter to the beginning of "The Saga of Darren Shan." I'm sure that it was not only me who almost went to get their copy of "Cirque du Freak" to continue once it was over.


"Brothers to the Death" was an excellent read and though it was not faultless, Shan successfully created a gut wrenching finale to the saga, which was moving and thought provoking. The characters were memorable and the plot powerful and I'm sure that Shan veterans and newbies both fully enjoyed the introduction to Larten Crepsley and the vampire world.


4 out of 5 Stars.

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