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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Only Took One Sitting
As a 15 Year Old emphatic reader, I don't struggle to get through 3 or 4 novels a week plus - but it's still rare that I manage an entire 250 page novel in one 2 1/2 hour sitting. Birth of a Killer is another fabulous instalment to an already incredible repertoire by Darren Shan. I ordered the book from amazon a few days ago, but a friend gave me their copy, saying I had...
Published on 1 Dec 2010 by AngusJ

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Good
I love Darren Shan and I enjoyed this read but I found it was quite short and the big time gaps have left questions
Published 10 months ago by lex


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It Only Took One Sitting, 1 Dec 2010
By 
AngusJ "AJ" (North Yorkshire, England) - See all my reviews
As a 15 Year Old emphatic reader, I don't struggle to get through 3 or 4 novels a week plus - but it's still rare that I manage an entire 250 page novel in one 2 1/2 hour sitting. Birth of a Killer is another fabulous instalment to an already incredible repertoire by Darren Shan. I ordered the book from amazon a few days ago, but a friend gave me their copy, saying I had to read it immediately. I started at 9 O'Clock this morning (during an exam revision session in school) and powered through, not being able to look up - as I quite literally found my self hurling through Larten's initial adventures with him on every turn of the page. Before I knew it my school bell was ringing at 11:10 but I couldn't get up! I genuinely couldn't bring myself to put the book down! Unfortunately, by the time I'd finished it, break was over and everyone was coming back into the room ... but it was worth it!

I think this book shows another side to Shan. Having not read The Demonata Series I'm unable to comment on those, but from my experience of The Saga of Darren Shan he is a writer who draws readers in by bundling them from one fast paced action sequence to the next, and indeed from reading some of The Demonata reviews this is the impression I get. The Birth of a Killer takes a step back, especially in the first half of the book, and looks more at the emotional side of things, especially as Larten makes the decision between becoming a Vampire's Assistant and committing himself to a life of darkness, or staying in the human world and ... I wont tell you what drove him to becoming a Vampire - that would spoil it! This somewhat more emotional outlook, in no way impairs the story line though! Shan makes sure we're always well stocked on bloody feuds and heart stopping punch-ups - indeed the murder the title refers to comes only 40 or 50 pages in. There is quite literally, never a dull moment.

As to whom I would advise this book to? Anyone. The best thing about this book is probably the fact that it doesn't rely on having read The Saga of Darren Shan. Although it is a prequel, there is nothing to suggest you would have less understanding, or get less out of the book, having not read about Larten's adult life. We are set the scene brilliantly in the initial chapters about Larten's childhood, vanquishing the need to understand him as an adult during the Cirque du Freak years. Obviously, I think this series concept may be more aimed at males, but it is not gory in anyway, despite murders, so I would wholeheartedly recommend it to women as well. For the same reason, I don't think younger readers would have a problem. the language is not overly challenging, and I think it will provide the same brilliant reaction to everyone - young and old. I would recommend it to anyone, and I hope - after seeing the amazing reviews and buying the book - you will too.
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13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book, and a well done revival of the series!, 1 Oct 2010
By 
Mr. L. A. Milne (Hertfordshire, United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I am half way through the book now, and have had to force myself to put it down to save some of it for later. So far I have found it thoroughly enjoyable, and a looking forward to finishing it, which for someone who rarely reads, making an exception to anything written by Darren Shan, is quite something. It is refreshing to have a book which is more similar to some of the earlier [simpler] books in the series which I preferred to the madness that was towards the Demonata series. Overall, I am enjoying it and am eager to read the next installment in this new [hopefully exciting] quadrilogy.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Darren Shan is amazing, 9 Dec 2010
By 
S. Kerr (England) - See all my reviews
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Another triumph by Darren Shan! Just when I was sad that I had finished all the Demonata books and already had read the Vampire saga the author comes up with another fantastic story to keep you happy. As with all of Darren Shans books they are not just for teenagers but make exhilarating and adventurous reads for adults with an imagination as well! If you are a fan get this book now, if you are new to Darren Shan then start with the Vampire saga, either way you will not regret it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great idea!, 14 Nov 2010
I have to say, this is probably my favourite book thats been released recently, my favourite books of all time are the books of 'the saga of darren shan' in that well written series, I could laugh, cry and relate to many of the characters. When the series was concluded, I knew there wouldnt be more, because how could it be extended after the conclusion that was previously written. What I didnt think of however, is that we could find out more from the past; not the future, and discover how some relationships and attitudes were formed between the older characters in the series. This witty, interesting book succesfully does exactly that and if you enjoyed the saga of darren shan, then youll love this. If you havent read that series though, then youll need to so that this can be understood.
I loved this book so much, that Ive already pre-ordered the sequel 'ocean of blood' which isnt out until next april!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 3 Nov 2010
Another excellent chapter from the master Darren Shan. The book is in keeping with the previous sagas and having read all the saga it makes sense and gives you understanding of where the charachters came from. Another book that you cant put down and I cant wait for the next instalment. If you are a Darren Shan fan you will love it. If you are not a fan then I promise you after reading this book you will be and will want to read the rest of the saga.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant!, 28 Oct 2010
I love this book - it's so easy to read and although it's another vampire story, it's got an edge, it's bit different and thoroughly enjoyable. It takes the story back to before Cirque de Freak and The Vampire's Assistant to how it all began. I love the characters' names, the descriptions, the story in general. Shan is an excellent story teller and I cannot wait for the next instalment!!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Better than the Darren Shan Saga!, 18 Oct 2010
By 
D. R. Follows "bumfree" (England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I've almost finished this book but i can already tell you- its great! At no point do you feel bored reading it, page after page is filled with amazing adventures and great story telling, much like Darren Shan's previous book- the Thin Executioner. It's written in 3rd person and so it shows you the thoughts behind the characters from the Darren Shan Saga, such as Seba Nile and Vanch March.

If you read the Darren Shan Saga you'll love this book even more- it's great how you can read about a young Vancha March, Larten Crepsley and (Younger) Seba Nile.

Anyway, if you liked the Darren Shan Saga or Thin Executioner this is a definite buy!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Back to the Great Days, 8 Oct 2010
After reading this book in first day I got it. I was delighted, it was as good as the Darren Shan saga, which were a great read and I highly recommend both series. Could not put down either. GREAT BOOK.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars So that's where the orange hair came from ......, 3 Oct 2010
Most readers of The Book Zone will not need me to tell them that Birth of a Killer, the new book from Darren Shan, is actually a prequel to his fantastically successful Saga of Darren Shan series. One of the key characters in that series was Larten Crepsley, the vampire that first blooded Darren Shan, thus turning him into a creature of the night. Larten is a very popular character with Shan fans, and in my opinion is one of the author's greatest creations: his personality seemed so well developed, with his emphasis on the correct use of grammar when speaking, his moody, withdrawn manner and his flame orange hair (who ever heard of a vampire with ginger hair???). When I first read the original Saga I was left with many questions about the back history of this great character, and it would appear that Darren Shan felt the same.

The book opens with Larten as a young boy, working all hours loosening silk from the cocoons of silk worms in a factory with his cousin Vur Horston (a name familiar to Saga fans). Immediately we discover the reason for the bright orange hair, and inventive it is too (and no I'm not going to tell you what it is - you will have to read the book yourself). Darren Shan also does not keep us waiting long before revealing the life-changing moment in his hero's life, the moment that has him running away from home and very soon finding himself in the company of the vampire that will become his mentor and eventually blood him, Seba Nile. Birth of a Killer does not have the blood-splatter moments of the Demonata series, but it is still violent enough in places to keep fans grinning from ear to ear, and this early scene is one of those moments.

Although in familiar territory this book never seems like a reproduction of the previous series. Those stories were very much a coming-of-age story for the main character, whereas these are spaced over a much greater period of time. As such we start off with Larten as a boy, and then pretty much immediately after he has met Seba Nile we get to part two of the book, and we jump five years in time. Eight short chapters later and the narrative jumps through time again, with Larten now at the age of 30. The author set out to tell the story of a man who is over two hundred years old, in a mere four volumes, so temporal jumps in narrative like this are going to be essential for the story to be told. At times I felt that although getting older in years, Larten's character did not necessarily seem to be maturing in the same way. However, once Larten attended his first Council I realised just how immature and naive he was in vampire terms and this side of his personality made much more sense. I am still trying to decide whether I would have liked to see more of the time between when Larten meets Seba, and when he hits thirty - I think I will reserve judgement on that area until I have read the next three books in the series (the fourth due out in May 2012).

What I loved about this book was the way that Darren Shan explores the vampire world he created in more detail. These aren't your girly, romantic Twilight vampires, but neither are they at times the debonair, aristocrats of the Dracula movies. These vampires get drunk; they gamble; their personal hygiene occasionally sucks big time. At the event I went to yesterday Darren Shan explained when he created his vampire clans he had in mind the likes of the Masai, Samurai, Native Americans and the Celts - tribes of people where the male was dominant, and where you had all levels of people - from mighty warriors and hunters to beggars and thieves. This is exactly the kind of society that we see with his vampires - some wish to lord it over all and sundry, testing their physical abilities to the extreme during the Festival of Death, whilst disaffected younger vampires rebel by playing cards and drinking in a side tunnel.

If you have not yet discovered The Saga of Darren Shan then you could read this book before you read those others. However, I would recommend that you do read the original Saga first as I have. In my opinion it will be a far more rewarding experience to get to know the adult Larten first, and then discover the events and experiences that made him the vampire the fans love so much. Birth of a Killer will then have you nodding sagely to yourself as you spot a familiar name, or discover the answer to a long-wondered question (such as the whole orange haired vampire thing).
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A little darker than The saga of darren shan series but a lot more interesting, 2 Jan 2013
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I always found the darren shan series a lot of fun but lacking in information( i suppose to be expected from a childs book but still!). but with this book series i felt hes stepped up. casting the, perhaps more than a liitle, gloomy Larten into a new light.creating a character you can like and feel compassion towards and laugh and cry with too. his books have braught back that animousity that we all secretly like and believe a vampire should have. And hes added a flare of astrocratisy and style to them too that, i believe, soughts vampires extremely well.
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