Riding the extreme high from the second book, I sought this one out for purchase and finished in one sitting like the others. Being that it is a little over two hundred pages, packs plenty of action within it's paper walls, and delivers outstanding suspenseful scenes filled with genuine drama, emotion, and powerful contradictions, it's a breeze to absorb, leaving you wanting even more at the end.
While I did not like this one quite as much as the powerful, unforgettable second, this was still a more than worthy followup. Darrens life is changing all the time, and for this novel the author has taken us a bit out of the circus world for awhile. The change of pace may have seemed a turnoff since I love the circus angle so much, but the new world introduced develops even heavier level into both Darren and Mr. Crepsleys characterizations, internal struggles, and realizations. There is now an added mystery element and new villain to boot.
The "villain" was sarcastically dark, truly demented and cruel, and added a more grown-up element to the tale. Really, after the tragic endings of the first and second books, I can highly recommend this to adults who are not even really into Young adult styles. Yes, the first started off awkward but it continues to where it shines for all readers in whatever age group they fall in.
To kids this is an exciting world to fall into, filled with childlike wonders and amazing monsters, a great protagonist to latch onto. For teenagers they recognize many of the issues Darren is going through and would be absorbed with the incredible details of the story which is unique and rich with suspense, thrills, and fun. For adults this brings with it a fascinating child that speaks to the adult in all of us, with adult characters we wish to know more of and about, bringing that beloved fairy-tale aspect to our lives.
A bit weaker than the others, it focuses more on developing friendships and the evolution of Darren's character in a different setting. Sadly I do not yet have the fourth to continue exploring this interesting world, but I shall soon. I shall promise myself that, life is better lived when indulging in pleasures and mental treats such as these.
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"I have gravely underestimated you, Darren," he said. "I will not do so again. I made a wiser choice than I realized when I chose you to serve as my assistant. I feel honoured to have you by my side.”