The Vampire's Assistant by Darren Shan

(Cirque Du Freak, Book #2)

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.

“The hunger inside us must be fed to be controlled.”

Wow. This one blew my reading mind all over the place, being far superior to the first. Both stories were good and this was a continuation where the first left off; however, this one was more consistent with plot, pacing, and even richer in story detail. Generally the tales of "when all the big, bad begins" has the most suspense and ambition, but in this case the character slowly settling into his new world ended up kicking the previous books butt and taking names.

The ensemble of bizarre circus characters was truly intriguing - from his new friends and the unusual problems they face, to the leaders in charge who he must be wary of in both power and crossing lines, to some of the difficult and at times morally questionable work, Darren is also cursed with trying to accept what he now is and what he must do to survive.

Sounding more emo than it really is, the boy doesn't struggle too much on page but instead experiences with a rampage of other emotions relating to interesting plot details.  Mr. Crepsley is slowly growing on me. I could have done without him the first book, took him or left him, but here he's more enjoyable in his role.

It's a little over 200 pages, and with the quick action and something new always happening, it's a quick read. Even if there is a vampire theme and the cover is a bit eerie for youngsters, it's more of a drama piece than anything thrillerish. There are horrifying incidents that occur, but these are all seriousness, no cheese.

There's a decent amount of gore compared to the first and as a young adult for this age level, but it's not on the adult plane. Whether a parent wishes for their children to read this or not....well, it would depend of the child's sensitivity level. This one takes it more into the realm of teenager, I think.

Shan certainly has an amazing ability with words, to where when reading it you can clearly picture whatever's going on, making it clear and real, mentally impressing and everlasting in memory.

The ending of this book was shocking, especially for a young adult.

It broke my heart.

The first one was addicting and easy to fall into after an awkward meeting; this one continues it to be such an awesome experience that it's forever on my "keeper shelf."  Almost surreal sometimes, exciting others, tragic and powerful, this one packs a huge punch that you WANT to be hit by. I can't recommend this highly enough for horror fans, young adult enthusiasts, adults, and people who enjoy different sorts of fantastic worlds peppering with circus tricks, loners struggling to survive in a world which rejects them, and coming to term with life-altering changes. Basically this is recommended for all readers everywhere.

   Book Quotes:

“For a long time that's all I could do, howl and scream and cry like the wild animal of the night that I'd become.” 

“...The pain didn't bother me. In fact, I welcome it: It meant I was alive. ” 

   Author Extras:

SHORT STORIES - Tiny Terrors, Book 2 Tie-In
Paging Johannes Vihannes
Transylvania Twist by Sam Grest
Bride of Sam Grest
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