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The Demonata (1) – Lord Loss: Complete & Unabridged Audio CD – Audiobook, CD, Unabridged
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Praise for Darren Shan
Lord of the Shadows
'Stephen King for kids … Darren Shan has brought his own brand of vampire mythology into the heads and hearts of thousands of children with his vivid and compelling series The Saga of Darren Shan, about one boy's journey from ordinary lad to vampire prince. Once they're hooked, kids tend to rip into the flesh of these books, quickly draining them of their life blood. The covers, with images of ghouls, creeping hands and dripping fangs are terrifying alone. ' Metro Life, Evening Standard
Cirque Du Freak
“…fast-paced and compelling book which leaves the reader hungry for more.”
"I read Cirque Du Freak last week. I loved it. I love the way you manage to juggle the funny with the unpleasant, the affection with the hurt. It's
The Vampire’s Assistant
“The Vampire’s Assistant blazes a thrilling, gruesome trail through a fascinating plot.”
The Good Book Guide
“Get your teeth into it!”
About the Author
Born in London in 1972, Darren O’Shaughnessy [writing as Darren Shan] moved to Limerick with his parents and younger brother. Returned to London to study Sociology and English then worked for a TV cable company. His first adult novel Ayuamarca has been published by Orion and his writing has been likened to Clive Barker and Iain Banks. He is now a full-time writer of TV scripts and novels. Cirque du Freak is his first title for children.
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Lord Loss is my first jump in my adult years into YA "horror", in a somewhat erratic attempt to widen my reading pool. Honestly, this one felt like more of a miss than anything, and doesn't really persuade me that horror can actually work for such an audience beyond that half baked R.L Stine fodder we all read as kids years ago.
Ignoring the lack of any real terror or scares, Lord Loss's main problem is the plot is very inconsistently mashed together. The book is barely much more than the standard novella size, yet somehow feels immensely ploddy for the entirety of the middle build before finally getting to the crisis point which pushes the book into the final act, and the confrontation with the titular monster. The problem of which I'll come back to.
Grubbs isn't the worst YA protagonist I've seen in a novel, but his indifferent and emotionally stilted characteristics make him rather hard to affiliate with. Though the book was crying out for a maturation type plot after Act I, Shan mainly concerns himself with Grubbs' physical progress in the world, and simply tells the reader of his emotional state with a few sentences after being in an asylum after the horrendous things he witnessed in Act I, which is more ridiculous than a missed opportunity, but is further made worse when he tries to slip in the internal changes toward the end of the novel. It's too little too late at that point.
As for the overall plot... as said before, Act II is a lot of shoe leather, that otherwise bogs down a pretty good sleight of hand at the end of it. But a pressing issue I have is with the final "battle". Without spoiling anything, the battle revolves around a certain game most people are at least familiar with. The problem with using such a device is that you either have to go into in mechanical detail about it, so the people who understand it can really get on board, or you merely leave out the detail and make the battle revolve around other aspects outside the technical tedium of the game in question. Shan seems to meet the reader half way with this, and it doesn't pay off. And the ploy with which Grubbs overcomes it all is pretty hackneyed, and quite unbelievable, given his opponent.
Also worthy of note is Shan's writing style. For the most part perfectly acceptable for YA fiction. But at times he uses jarring staccato sentences, to cheaply add the impression of immediacy. If you're going to write like Lee Child or Ellroy.. you've got to do it all the way through, otherwise it just falls flat, especially when the rest of your passages dwell in the excessive use of adjectives and split infinitives.
The poem at the start of the book is pretty terrible, and feels like Shan is making a pathetic attempt at making his book quotable. Even the poem smacks of unoriginality and distastesful pulp horror.
The opening chapter establishes that Shan is yet another author who doesn't understand a teenager's mind, nor does he know how to portray one's feelings and speech. The first chapter is describing an ordinary - albeit slightly stupid and odd - boy's life. There is no real mention of anything supernatural - then suddenly, the main character (Grubbs) finds himself in an orgy of death, blood, magic and demons. He finds his immediate family members decapitated and horribly disfigured, yet Shan - and this proves to be a key fault as it causes the book to lack emotion throughout - never establishes Grubbs's realtionship with his parents and sister, and inadequatley shows his grief at their having been slaughtered.
The back of the book promises a terrifying read (accentuated by a silly 'warning'), yet the book never frightened me - admittedly, at times, it made me re-read to grasp the ridiculousness of what I had just read - and the outlandish archetype of Lord Loss and his familiars 'Vein' and 'Artery' leaves you feeling that Shan really doesn't know how to twinge emotions by writing (wonderfully original names by the way, Mr. Shan!).
In this book, Shan's writing style is basic and irritating: he consistently uses short sentences, little imaginitive language and even writing the book in the present feels wrong.
Although this has been a negative review, Lord Loss isn't a complete waste of time. The plot is fairly basic, but also quite interesting in parts, and eccentric, horrifying images can work - if only Shan knew how to portray them well with words.
All in all, this book is not for those who'd rather read something with a little skill and originality, but can provide a cheap, guilty thrill for those who don't care about too much about the words. Lord Loss is another attempt at emulating H.P. Lovecraft, just without so much of the in-depth plot and with none of the eloquence.
For starters, it is a lot darker than I thought it would be. Some of the events described in the early chapters of this novel coupled with the overall tone gave this a much more adult theme than I was expecting. There is a common misconception where people classify any novel with young protagonists as Young Adult. However, when that novel deals with brutal murders, mental health issues and some otherwise touchy topics, this is clearly a misclassification. Can young adults read this and enjoy it? Certainly. It is adult without being over the top about it. But should it be on the young adult shelf? Not in my opinion.
This is a pain as I have a tendency to shy away from young adult books. I don't like how (in general) they talk down to their audience and rely heavily on tropes and trends without trying to do anything all that original. Because of that, I tend to overlook books like this, which is a shame.
Overall this is a thoroughly enjoyable book that took me by surprise. It's not necessarily action-packed, but the story is intriguing, the characters are well-rounded, and it is very well written.
It's a comfortable 4-stars for this novel. It only looses one star because I had a feeling of potential not quite reached. But it is a close thing and I am excited for the next novel in this series.
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As the series progresses, you get MORE and MORE and MORE blown away!Read more