GWN Online (USA) | 24 April 2010 | David Richardson
The Vampire’s Assistant, the sequel to Darren Shan’s Cirque du Freak, will get your heart pounding and your blood pumping. Nothing can prepare you for what Darren must face this time around. With each turn of the page, he finds himself again cornered into making a choice he swore he would never make. As a vampire’s assistant or half vampire, Darren knows he must feed or die, but he refuses to drink any blood except from animals. This, however, will not keep him alive forever. He also must assist Mr. Crepsley, a full vampire, with all his needs. Mr. Crepsley takes Darren back to the Cirque du Freak, hoping companionship and the knowledge that he is not alone in his unusual situation [will help]. Here, he meets Evra Von, snake boy. The two become fast friends. While the Cirque du Freak is camped in the woods, they meet Sam, a human boy, and R.V., a sixties-type environmentalist. R.V. discovers that some of the freak show’s charges are kept up penned or chained up, and sets out to free them. Sam decides to steal away with the show. In a gruesome and bone-chilling climax, Darren must face a wolf man in order to save his friend, and he must make the decision to feed.The novel is fast-paced, full of suspense, and thrilling, but not for the weak of heart. When dealing with vampires there is always blood and death to consider. And, in this novel there is also a considerable amount of gore. None of it is for shock value, but most of it is certainly shocking. The Vampire’s Assistant isn’t for everyone, but for those kids who enjoy the macabre, it will be at the top of their list.
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