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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 18 October 2009
Take it from an 18 year old who hasn't been able to put down these books in over 7 years, this series is well worth the read. Cirque du Freak sees the start of a young Darren Shan's adventure into the world of vampires. Although not my favourite of the series, it gives an incredible introduction to a storyline that's bigger than anyone (apart from Darren himself) could have imagined. Dark, witty and increasingly gory, this book will entice all who read it, unless there's something wrong with the part of your brain that perceives AWESOMENESS.
During the time since I bought these books, they have converted a non-reader (my older brother) and entertained an avid reader (my mum), so from both perspectives you just KNOW they're good.
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on 18 December 2001
I remember sitting at home biting my fingernails wondering how I was going to reach these children. I had been asked to take over a particularly difficult Year 6 class in a school where I had frequently been relief teaching.
I then recalled seeing an interview with an author on Newsround, where critics had proclaimed him "Hotter than Potter". His name was Darren Shan and his first children's novel Cirque du Freak was about to be published. The subject matter might be a little risky I thought - vampires, blooding and freak shows, but nothing worse than is seen on current popular shows, so I thought then that the next time I was in the local bookshop I would try to pick up a copy.
The following week book held tightly in my hand I sat the children down and began reading. My initial aim was for the class to listen attentively and enjoy story time. Little did I realise the effect that this book would have.
Every afternoon the children would sit patiently at 3.00 to hear the next instalment. They would be eager to predict events and share ideas of how the story would end and what would happen to the half vampire Darren Shan. So engrossed were the children that on the last day of the school year (with only three quarters of the book read) they demanded that I sit and finish the story so they knew what would happen.
The following academic year I was employed on a temporary basis at the same school and following the success that Cirque du Freak had, it was decided to not only use the book as the class novel but also base language and other curriculum work around it.
Once again Darren Shan weaved his magic and entranced my children. Eager to share in his adventures and misfortunes my Year 5/6 class soaked up the novel.
Even a year later, the books are well thumbed by new readers.
Parents have since thanked me for introducing their children to these books. They would often say that they were concerned that their sons reading was poor and that they had tried different genres of books to interest them but all have failed. They say that these books have fired their imaginations and with 20 plus more books in the series their children will be reading well into their teen years.
If you are looking for a book that is that little bit different, then your search is over. Darren Shan's Cirque du Freak is a must have for the modern classroom teacher.
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on 22 November 2000
It is absolutely brilliant. I'm waiting and waiting for the bookshop to get me Tunnels of Blood, but I'm rereading this book now. I just got to the mega creepy gory bit - you know what I mean - and I practically fainted. I don't like blood... But honestly, this book is the best I've read since Harry Potter, and Harry Potter hasn't even TOUCHED the feelings I get when I read this book - a shiver right down my spine
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VINE VOICEon 3 July 2006
My 14 year old son read the Cirque du Freak book and told me how good it was. I then read it (in 1 sitting), and immediately bought the remaining 11. We spent the next 2 weeks reading them all.

Its simply a marvellous story and adventure. Each book leaves you wanting to start the next. It brings the reader to humour, then dark humour, then it scares you then makes you laugh.

I am 47 and have read thousands of books, and I would put this series in the top three.

Absolutely Marvellous entertainment.
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on 30 November 2001
Darren Shan is a normal kid. He loves football, finds school boring and hangs around a lot with his friend Steve. However, when Steve buys tickets to a mysterious freak show, things start to change a bit.
At the freak show, Darren is captivatd by a tarantula named Madame Octa, owned by a man called Mr. Crepsley. Darren discovers that Mr. Crepsley is a vampire but still steals the spider to keep as a pet. When it bites Steve, Darren is offered a choice: give up his life and become a vampire, or let Steve die.
While the plot device is fairly standard (the choice between your death or the death of a friend/loved one), Darren Shan's excellent writing keeps it exciting and interesting right up to the last page. Cirque Du Freak is an amazing book. Unlike most horror novels written for younger readers, it isn't afraid to dole out a little blood and guts when necessary (especially during the freak show). However, this doesn't mean the book is just cheap shock tactics. It involves the reader deeply, meaning that we truly care about Darren's fate. It is well-written and in places quite funny. Overall this is an excellent book, which I would recommend to anybody, young or old.
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on 5 November 2009
I'm 29 and read this book after seeing the movie trailer, I had no idea these were for the younger generation :) needless to say no matter what age you are when you read this series you will love it, it's left me wanting more hence I've ordered the rest of the books from the series.
Great super fast delivery by amazon.
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on 12 January 2009
I read this book to my Year 5 class and they loved it! They often begged for me to read one more page after home time. We've now nearly finishing book 2 my TA says she has never seen a class so gripped by the class book, it's amazing
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on 3 March 2004
One of the best books I've read in a long time. I bought it not expecting much from it, but boy, was I wrong!!?? It had me gripped from beginning to end, and I just couldn't put it down. It is absolutely fantastic and has a cleverly constructed, witty and exciting plot, although some parts of the book are really sad. This book was so good that as soon as I finished this book I immediately ordered the other 8 books, in the series, that were published at that time (there are now 10, the 10th is even better!!). If you haven't read this yet, you really don't know what your missing!!
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on 8 June 2002
This book is one of the best so far in the Darren Shan series. The suspense in this book is terrific!, and right from the first page the book grabs you and makes you want to read more. This series is to be continued in books 8 and 9 and I can't wait! The cliffhanger at the end makes this book great and well worth reading.
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on 29 March 2001
My favourite part is when Darren is turning into half vampire. I also like it when he drinks his friends blood when he cuts it. Its not that frightening for me But its really good. I think its even better than Harry Potter. My second favourite is when Madam Octa (Spider)bites Steve and nearly kills him.
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