The Barnes & Noble Review
Darren Shan's spine-tingling Cirque du Freak saga continues with the fourth book, in which the young Darren journeys with Mr. Crepsley and two Little People to the hair-raising vampire lair at Vampire Mountain.
With little explanation, Mr. Crepsley has asked his assistant to travel through horrible conditions to the place where Vampire Princes and Vampire Generals meet "to discuss whatever it was that bloodsucking creatures of the night discussed" -- Vampire Mountain. Mr. Tiny has ordered that two of his mysterious Little People follow behind (with a message to deliver about the vampireze, we learn later), so the foursome makes its way up the mountain, battling harsh winter weather and even a fierce bear attack. After they arrive and Darren tours Vampire Mountain -- and tries fighting the warrior vampiress Arra Sails -- Mr. Crepsley takes the boy before the vampire council, providing a reason for Darren's blooding that causes the half-human/half-vampire to fear for his life.
With twists and turns that make us gasp with suspense, Vampire Mountain is an important installment, answering plenty of questions and setting us up for what's to come. We see Darren growing stronger and learn about crucial elements in vampire culture, and the cliff-hanger ending will make readers shudder over the future of the vampires and of Darren himself. This fourth book has the vivid details and explanations that are characteristic of Cirque du Freak, and fans of the series will be scrambling for more of these unnerving adventures.
The sixth installment of the Cirque Du Freak series by Darren Shan, The Vampire Prince, finds Darren accused of being a traitor, after Kurda betrays him, and being pursued by the vampire clan. To save his skin, he must outfox a vampire prince, as his initiation on Vampire Mountain comes to a surprising close (though a teaser indicates yet another book). Vampire Mountain, book four, is also being released in September as a paperback. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Darren Shan is on another adventure with Mr. Crepsley, but this one will take two books to fulfill. They must journey to Vampire Mountain to present Darren to the Vampire Council; they are both nervous because a vampire as young as Darren hasn't happened in a long time. The journey must be undertaken with no shoes-good thing vampires can stand the cold-and must be completed in a traditional manner. (Vampires are very big on tradition.) Along the way they find traces of vampaneze-killer vampires, their enemies. After making it to the mountain and being presented to the council, Darren decides to take the Challenge to prove his worth. The book ends there and in order to find out what happens you must get the fifth book. This vampire story is not gory and has some interesting mythology. I do wonder about the main character's name matching the author's. I would recommend having the whole series-my students will not be happy without having the rest of the story to finish. (Cirque du Freak). KLIATT Codes: J-Recommended for junior high school students. 2002, Little, Brown, 199p., Ages 12 to 15.
Gr 5-8-Darren Shan, the loquacious vampire's assistant, narrates another blood-and-guts tale. Having tracked a horror-movie-stereotype vampire in their previous adventure, Darren and his master, Larten Crepsley, take another hiatus from the bizarre circus of the series title to make a pilgrimage to the Halls of Vampire Mountain to meet with the generals and princes in charge. The peregrinators are accompanied by a pair of ugly, speechless Little People who carry an ominous message for the council from their "old as time itself" master, Mr. Tiny. The road is perilous, of course, and getting to their destination is only half of the problem. Darren's biggest challenge, following a run-in with a crazed grizzly bear and a foolhardy confrontation with a rare, Xena-like vampiress, comes in defending his maker, the one who inexplicably violated the proscription against blooding a child. While the previous trio of "Cirque du Freak" books could each relatively stand alone, this fourth entry marks a definite transition, a critical segue into adventures to come that will revolve around Mr. Tiny's foreboding and Darren's impending Trials of Initiation (book nine is already in the works in the U.K.). The book ends with a "to be continued-" teaser along with an excerpt from the next book.-John Sigwald, Unger Memorial Library, Plainview, TX Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Angels and ministers of grace defend us! Shan (Tunnels of Blood, not reviewed, etc.) has extruded a fourth volume in his series about an adolescent vampire (also named Darren Shan) traveling with a supernatural freak show. Six years after his last adventure, Darren's vampire mentor, Mr. Crepsley, decrees that he must be presented to the Council of Vampire Generals at Vampire Mountain, even though Darren is only a "half-vampire" (a concept never really explained). After a tedious and slightly uncomfortable journey, during which Darren and his companions run across a dead vampire, make friends with a pack of wolves, and survive a completely risible bear attack, they arrive at the vampire headquarters. There Darren takes a tour, overhears some alarming rumors, plays vampire games, and subjects the reader to endless narrative dumps of vampire politics and lore. At last he makes a fateful decision that could put his very life in danger-one page before the end. All the hallmarks of Shan's earlier works-slipshod writing, banal characterization, pedestrian pacing, overly telegraphed foreshadowing of the Had-I-But-Known school-are present; but here he commits the cardinal sin of the gross-out horror genre by being boring. Nothing happens in this, except set up for the next. The premise has long lost whatever freshness it once had, and cocky, self-centered Darren is neither interesting nor likable enough to make anyone really care. Utter dreck; even the most devoted fans of the series will feel cheated. (Fiction. 11+)