The story starts with Larten, toiling day to day in a workhouse, until he manages to escape the brutal regime. He moves onto encounter the eerie Seba Nile - in a graveyard. The book explores his life with the Cirque De Freak and shares the insightful lives of the Vampire Clan, which I was drawn to, like a moth to light.
This book is written in Shan's normal style - a fast paced, gripping story plot and a vivid imagination in the ways of the gruesome. I loved the first section of the book, it felt like a new story but the more I delved into the book I had a feeling of deja vu. Whilst I strongly believe that this book is worth reading, it did feel like Darren had written this before - plucking the exploits of Larten out of a previous series and weaving it into another book. Now it may be that there is indeed a wealth of new content in this book, but this familiarity was unnerving - perhaps I've dreamt this story in my nightmares - but something felt very familiar!
This book does deal with friendship and the emotional turmoil of bullying, which works well and eventually brings out the best in everyone. The portrayal of Vampires, as always, has been extremely well written. Although they appear more realistic than in other books of this genre, perhaps this is due to the teenage market making them look like high society dummies with a human-like social life and existence. Romance and vampires as a combination, in my opinion, really suck the life from this genre!
The magical aspect to Darren's book emerges through wild fantasy - a genre that every grown-up wants to explore but only once they have plucked up the courage to dare open the book. I know a lot of grown up's who don't even dare do this. But every person who does, always has a grin (or grimace) on their face, as they hide from the demons that follow him/her into the very next book.
The great thing about this book is that there is a lot of scope for the next exciting adventure. Only I hope I don't dream a similar storyline next time. So bring it on Darren. . . . .