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The Vampire's Assistant (Cirque Du Freak Series #2)
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The Vampire's Assistant (Cirque Du Freak Series #2)

4.5 310
by Darren Shan

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Darren Shan was just an ordinary schoolboy until his visit to the Cirque Du Freak. Now, as he struggles with his new life as a Vampire's Assistant, he tries desperately to resist the one temptation that sickens him, the one thing that can keep him alive. But destiny is calling. The Wolf Man is waiting.


Darren Shan was just an ordinary schoolboy until his visit to the Cirque Du Freak. Now, as he struggles with his new life as a Vampire's Assistant, he tries desperately to resist the one temptation that sickens him, the one thing that can keep him alive. But destiny is calling. The Wolf Man is waiting.

Editorial Reviews

The Barnes & Noble Review
Darren Shan continues the saga of a teenage boy who gets unwittingly drawn into a world of vampires, werewolves, and other freaky creatures with this second installment in his innovative Cirque Du Freak series. Shan's protagonist, who bears the same name as the author, is one of the most complex and innovative characters ever to see the light of day -- a freedom he may soon lose if he gives in to his craving for human blood and becomes a full vampire rather than a mere half-blood. Darren's dilemma is a tough one: Drink the blood of a fellow human -- an act that will cost him the few remaining shreds of his humanity -- or die.

Feeling lost, lonely, and at odds with himself, Darren is delighted when his vampiric mentor, Mr. Crepsley, makes the decision to rejoin the traveling freak show. Among the oddball characters who comprise the show's performers, Darren finally makes some friends, most of whom are as weird or weirder than he is. In an effort to regain some semblance of his old life, Darren also befriends two outsiders, normal human beings whose well-intentioned actions will eventually lead to tragic results. As events unfold with the same sense of inevitability as the rising and setting sun, Darren is once again torn between his own needs and those of the others around him. His heroism and self-sacrifice -- all done in the name of friendship -- garner results that are both tragic and rewarding.

It's to the author's credit that despite their deformities, strange abilities, and offbeat appearances, most of the oddball characters who populate the Cirque Du Freak come across as refreshingly self-reliant, confident, and...well...normal. This tight-knit community of outcasts, with their strong sense of family and friendship, make for an intriguing supporting cast. And while most YA readers may not be able to relate personally to Darren's moral and ethical struggles with his vampirism, they will undoubtedly connect with his overwhelming desire to fit in somewhere and belong. (Beth Amos)

Publishers Weekly
In The Vampire's Assistant, the second installment of the series begun with Cirque du Freak by Darren Shan, the hero returns to the old-fashioned freak show where, thanks to Mr. Crespley, he became a "half-vampire." Darren once again struggles against the urge to feed upon the human blood his health requires. (Sept.) Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
In this horror novel, the author and protagonist share the same name—Darren Shan. With that crafty twist, the action gets underway fast and furiously. Young Darren is a half-vampire, torn between the worlds of the living and the dead. Though attached to Mr. Crepsley, who made him a vampire, Darren cannot bring himself to partake of human flesh. Quickly he is learning that vampires do not live on animal blood alone. Driven by loneliness, Darren and Mr. Crepsley hook up with the Cirque Du Freak, a freak show circus that features a snake boy, a bearded lady, and Cormac Limbs, a man who can grow arms, legs and fingers as fast as you can chop them off. Darren finds friendship in the snake boy, Evra, and in Sam, a local boy who longs to join the freak show. But an overzealous animal rights advocate is determined to set free the insanely violent wolf-man, and we know that a gory, bloody climax is just around the bend. Shan is uncannily skillful in sucking readers into his macabre world. Against all reason, we really do get the sense that this is real. With this book, the second in Shan's creepy "Cirque Du Freak" series, it won't take long to gain a faithful following. 2001, Little Brown, $15.95. Ages 12 to 16. Reviewer: Christopher Moning
This second installment in the Cirque du Freak saga of Darren Shan picks up soon after Darren has been turned into a half-vampire by his master, Mr. Crepsley. Darren is sworn to a life of servitude to Crepsley. He must drink blood to survive now. He steadfastly refuses, however, to drink the blood of humans despite Crepsley's warning that he will die without it. Darren must cling to that part of himself that is still human. Drinking human blood, he fears, will erase all traces of the boy he used to be. Crepsley and Darren rejoin Cirque du Freak. There Darren makes two new friends: Evra, the snake boy, and a local boy named Sam. At first, life back at the freak show is a happy one for Darren. An unfortunate set of circumstances, though, causes the death of one of Darren's friends and an irrevocable change in him. Readers again will be drawn to this story of a young boy trying to find friendship and family despite his unusual circumstances. The novel provides the requisite chills and suspense and ends with a teaser from book three, Tunnels of Blood. Middle school and junior high students might enjoy this novel as a read-aloud. Fans of the genre will definitely enjoy meeting Darren again after reading A Living Nightmare (Little Brown, 2001/VOYA April 2001). Moreover, this book stands on its own, offering readers enough background of Darren's past to appreciate fully the story. VOYA CODES: 4Q 5P M J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001, Little Brown, 224p, $15.95. Ages 11 to 15. Reviewer: Teri S. Lesesne
School Library Journal
Gr 5-8-After a breezy two-page introduction that gives the major plot points of Cirque du Freak, readers are plunged back into the world of a young, newly minted half-vampire (a concept that is never fully explained). With his mentor, the creepy full vampire Mr. Crepsley, Darren is learning the ropes of the undead. Readers quickly get a rundown of the facts, the most important one being that vampires, even half ones, must have human blood to survive, and Darren can't bring himself to drink. There is not much plot here. He and Mr. Crepsley return to the Cirque du Freak. Darren and Evra, a snake-boy, make what is ultimately a tragic friendship with a local boy named Sam and a self-proclaimed "ecowarrior" named R.V. It is R.V. who precipitates the real action as he becomes suspicious of animals disappearing from nearby farms. The first-person narration seems superficial, and there is little depth to Darren's character. That said, Shan creates heart-pounding, page-turning action that will keep kids reading. He certainly knows his horror, and this book cranks up the gore factor a notch or two. Readers will get more information about the genuinely weird denizens of the Cirque du Freak. There are some genuinely horrific, almost painful moments, particularly at the book's tragic climax. Readers will be turning from the page, sickened, and then come back to find out what happens next. The question remains, where can Shan take his readers from here? Just how far will he go?-Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
The sequel to Shan's successful horror debut (not reviewed) is another guilty pleasure. Shan, the author/narrator of this putative true account, is now a "half-vampire" and the assistant to the well-meaning vampire Mr. Crepsley. Since he refuses to drink human blood, Darren is slowly dying. After exiling himself from his family and friends, he is also lonely; so he and Mr. Crepsley return to the freak show where they met. There he bonds with Evra, the reptilian snake-handler, and Sam, a precocious human boy. Unfortunately, he also gets involved with R.V., a stereotypical unwashed hippie eco-warrior, who decides to make his next cause freeing the show's animal acts. Shan won't win any literary awards for this one-Darren's voice is stilted and unconvincing, suspense is created by contrived cliffhangers, ominous foreshadowing keeps falling from the sky like anvils, and the plot is gutted by elementary scientific blunders (such as repeated references to the python's "poison"). Once Darren becomes a freak-show insider, the eerie creepiness is not so easily maintained; but Shan more than makes up for that by ladling out great glops of macabre grotesquerie: a snake-boy who can lick the inside of his own nose! Mute misshapen dwarfs who feast on human flesh! The circus performer who saws off his own limbs! Gross-out horror fans will devour it and clamor for the next in the series. (Fiction. 10-14) $250,000 ad/promo

Product Details

Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Publication date:
Cirque Du Freak Series , #2
Edition description:
1ST U.S. P
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
12 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Cirque Du Freak

The Vampire's Assistat
By Darren Shan

Thorndike Press

Copyright © 2001 Darren Shan
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0786237341

Chapter One

It was a dry, warm night, and Stanley Collins had decided to walk home after the Boy Scouts meeting. It wasn't a very long walk -- less than a mile -- and though the night was dark, he knew every step of the way as surely as he knew how to tie a reef knot.

Stanley was a scoutmaster. He loved the Scouts. He'd been one when he was a boy and kept in contact when he grew up. He'd turned his own three sons into first-rate Scouts, and now that they'd grown up and left home, he was helping the local kids.

Stanley walked quickly to keep warm. He was only wearing shorts and a T-shirt, and even though it was a nice night, his arms and legs were soon covered in goosebumps. He didn't mind. His wife would have a delicious cup of hot chocolate and cookies waiting for him when he got home. He'd enjoy them all the more after a good, brisk walk.

Trees grew along both sides of the road home, making it very dark and dangerous for anyone who wasn't used to it. But Stanley had no fears. On the contrary, he loved the night. He enjoyed listening to the sound of his feet crunching through the grass and briars.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

He smiled. When his sons were young, he'd often pretended there were monsters lying in wait up in the trees as they walked home. He'd make scary noises and shake the leaves of low-hanging branches when the boys weren't looking. Sometimes they'd burst into screams and run for home at top speed, and Stanley would follow after them, laughing.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

Sometimes, if he was having trouble getting to sleep at night, he would imagine the sounds of his feet as they made their way home, and that always helped him drift off into a happy dream.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

It was the nicest sound in the world, as far as Stanley was concerned. It was a great feeling, to know you were all alone and safe as can be.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.


Stanley stopped and frowned. That had sounded like a stick breaking -- but how could it have been? He would have felt it if he'd stepped on a twig. And there were no cows or sheep in the nearby fields.

He stood still for about half a minute, listening curiously. When there were no more sounds, he shook his head and smiled. It had been his imagination playing tricks on him, that was all. He'd tell the wife about it when he got home and they'd have a good old laugh.

He started walking again.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

There. Back to the familiar sounds. There was nobody else around. He would have heard more than a single branch snapping if there was. Nobody could creep up on Stanley J. Collins. He was a trained scoutmaster. His ears were as sharp as a fox's.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Crunch. Cru --


Stanley stopped again and, for the first time, the fingers of fear began to squeeze around his beating heart.

That hadn't been his imagination. He'd heard it, clear as a bell. A twig snapping, somewhere overhead. And before it snapped -- had there been the slightest rustling sound, like something moving?

Stanley gazed up at the trees but it was too dark to see. There could have been a monster the size of a car up there and he wouldn't have been able to spot it. Ten monsters! A hundred! A thou--

Oh, that was silly. There were no monsters in the trees. Monsters didn't exist. Everyone knew that. Monsters weren't real. It was a squirrel or an owl up there, something ordinary like that.

Stanley raised a foot and began to bring it down.


His foot hung in the air, midstep, and his heart pounded quickly. That was no squirrel! The sound was too sharp. Something big was up there. Something that shouldn't be up there. Something that had never been up there before. Something that --


The sound was closer this time, lower down, and suddenly Stanley could stand it no longer.

He began to run.

Stanley was a large man, but pretty fit for his age. Still, it had been a long time since he'd run this fast, and after a hundred yards he was out of breath and had a cramp in his side.

He slowed to a halt and bent over, gasping for air.


His head shot up.

Crunch. Crunch. Crunch.

There were footsteps coming toward him! Slow, heavy footsteps. Stanley listened, terrified, as they came closer and closer. Had the monster leaped ahead of him through the trees? Had it climbed down? Was it coming to finish him off? Was it...?

Crunch. Crunch.

The footsteps stopped and Stanley was able to make out a figure in the darkness. It was smaller than he'd expected, no bigger than a boy. He took a deep breath, straightened up, got his courage up, and stepped forward for a better look.

It was only a boy! A small, frightened-looking boy, dressed in a dirty suit.

Stanley smiled and shook his head. What a fool he'd been! The wife would have a field day when he told her about this.

"Are you okay, son?" Stanley asked him.

The boy didn't answer.

Stanley didn't recognize the youngster, but there were a lot of new families around these days. He no longer knew every child in the neighborhood.

"Can I help you?" he asked. "Are you lost?"

The boy shook his head slowly. There was something strange about him. Something that suddenly made Stanley feel uneasy. It might have been the effect of the darkness and the shadows...but the boy looked very pale, very thin, very...hungry.

"Are you all right?" Stanley asked again, stepping closer. "Can I--"


The sound came from directly overhead, loud and menacing. The boy leaped back quickly, out of the way.

Stanley just had time to glance up and see a huge red shape, which might have been some sort of bat, falling through the branches of the trees, almost faster than his eyes could follow.

And then the red thing was on him. Stanley opened his mouth to scream, but before he could, the monster's hands -- claws? -- clamped over his mouth. There was a brief struggle, then Stanley was sliding onto the ground, unconscious, unseeing, unknowing.

Above him, the two creatures of the night moved in for the feed.


Excerpted from Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan Copyright © 2001 by Darren Shan.
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Darren Shan is the New York Times bestselling author of Cirque Du Freak and The Demonata, whose novels have sold over 15 million copies worldwide. Darren lives in Ireland, where he writes and collects art, comics, and film.

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Vampire's Assistant (Cirque Du Freak Series #2) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 310 reviews.
ForLoveForMusicForNarnia More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite book in the entire CDF series! I find every word to be a perfect picture. Darren Shan's author skills deserve a outstanding review!!!
DHS_JonathanP More than 1 year ago
If you like fiction, Vampiers and all type of creature you should really read this then. This is about 2 Best friends were they have found 2 ticket to the Cirque Du Freak. So They Found out that all the creaters they see in the place are real. So theres a vampire and one of the friends wants to be like him but he says that his blood is to evil when his other friends blood is pure. So they deside to take the vampires pet spider and one of the friends get bite so the other on had become a vampire assistant to save his Life. The Book was okay at first its boring but then the more deepper you get into it the more it gets better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
My son started reading these books through the school library. I ended up buying him the entire series as a christmas gift. He told me to read the first two or three books because he knew I would like them. He was right! Great series!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I LOVED this book, I read the first last year, and loved THAT! But when I read this, it was the same situation, I COULDNT put it down loved it 10/10 would recommend! YAY! :3
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you havent seen the mo ie for this the guy that plays as darren is sexyyyyy his name is Chris Massoglia... and the guy that plays as steve is Josh Hutcherson.. who is also hot. You will enjoy this too.. and WHEN DA HELLLL IS THE SECOND MOVIE COMIN OUT IM GETTIN PISSED CHRIS IS GONNA GET TOO OLD TO PLAY AS DARREN AND THEN HE CANT PLAY AS HIM ANYMORE AND THEN I WILL PISS ON SOMEONES FACE AND SCREAM! im obsessed with chris sorry. But yea so good you will cry. I cried a few times while reading this serise. But i had three books left an then my mom said i cant read it anymore. I was like ARE OU FIN KIDDIN ME YOU JERK I LOVE THIS SERIES MORE THEN LIFE ITSELF. Well enjoy his book. AND WATCH THE MOVIE BEFORE I HUNT YOU DOWN AND MAKE YOU WATCH IT
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good book but 8 dollars for 30 mins of reading really wish theyed have more info when buying books like pages and word counts so i know what im buying
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love the whole book series i couldn't stop reading Darren Shan is a wonderful author and actually starting reading on week-ends.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well if your looking for a good book to read read the cirque du freak sires its the best book i have ever red so read this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan is an excellent book. i enjoyed this second one too. very glamourous and excellent. now im into more books about spiders, vampires, blood, and freak shows. but come on you guys, do you believe that the first one is real? do you? thats crazy. hmm well maybe its real, but i dont believe it is. and guess what people, the third one is coming out and its gonna be called, 'Tunnels Of Blood'. i dont know the fourth one yet, but i will get the title pretty soon.
Anonymous 6 months ago
It nit ere. Tell me hiw ti get it at the name "manga"
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
there was a boy that became a vampire assistant and he had to fake his death so he wouldn't eat his family member so they could live but they had to bury him alive then the vampire had to dig him up and to be his assistant and become a vampire like him and show other people like vampire to show how to eat and kill people i have not read all of it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
   Cirque du Freak is about a 12 year old boy name Darren that is half human,and half vampire. Darren has this problem because he tried to save his friend Stevens life. Mr.Crepsley the teacher of Darren tried to help with his vampire abilities. Darren cant hang out with his friends because of his ability to break bones. Mr.Crepsley has an idea of take him to Cirque du Freak because Darren can find his age that have this problem.Cirque du Freak is a travelling freak show that contains snakes,wolfs,spiders,and more. When Darren arrived there Mr.Tall the manager of Cirque du Freak decides to put him with Evra. Evra is a snake boy perfromer and does chores for Cirque du Freak. Darren see the skills that he represents so he decides to be friends with him.    I like this book better than the first because it elaborates more on Darrens vampire life. In book one Darren was all human and live a normal life. While in book 2 Darren faced his problems with being a vampire. It also shows alot of potential throughout this book. I recommend this book because of the genera it represents. It contains horror and suspense. Not all people will like it because it might spooked the reader out. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book kept me going. I cod not put it down.if you you like fanrasy tied in with ral life,this is the book for you!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I've read the series twice!! So far I have read 34 of your books!! I also joined your website!!Your awsome!! Thank you for commenting on my tweet!!XD
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this blook i read the manga version of it and it is awsome. I have 5 things to say,its sad that sam dies , i wonder what pickeld onions taste like, bad manwolf y u kill sam , dont worry r.v. your arms will grow back(no the wont) and finally jeeze steve why do you have to be a jerk to darren!!!!!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sad ending
SleepDreamWrite More than 1 year ago
One of my favorites in the series thus far. Loving the journey Darren is taking while he learns his new life as a vampire and even makes some friends good and well bad. Love the old covers. The new ones are also good too.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Best book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wonderful, but ending weak. This book is great otherwise.