Starburst | 13 February 2015 | S Friday

It’s been a while since we’ve checked in with everybody’s favourite annoying teenage zombie, B Smith (two books, but who’s counting?), but now she’s here again.

Darren Shan has never really been on for subtlety, and so it follows that this volume is pretty much exactly what it says on the tin. Which is a shame, as in a book that’s about 200 pages long you want a surprise every now and then. The only real surprise is how the end of the book develops, which sets things up nicely for the next book. But honestly, this series has felt from the beginning like it’s not really going anywhere; a spark of originality was clearly not enough to carry a whole 12-book series. The pieces are being put into place for some sort of epic confrontation, but we can pretty much guarantee it’s not going to live up to the build-up. But we’ll dwell more on this when the series is over.

For now, we can pretty much confirm what you’d expect: this is another run of the mill Darren Shan novel of the kind he’s been pumping out consistently for almost 10 years. It’s bloody, messy, filled with sassy wisecracks, and above all, very readable. For its target audience, it’ll be plenty. For people like us over the age of 20 who have been reading Shan’s work for near enough a decade, it’s not enough anymore. Honestly, if you’re over 18 or so, you’d be better off reading his adult novels instead.

The pictures are nice though.

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