(Cirque Du Freak, #11)

"All must fall to the Lord of the Shadows," he said softly to me. "This is my world now." I snatched one final glimpse of the Lord of the Shadows before I died. And this time it wasn't his face I saw - it was mine.

My name's Darren Shan. I'm a vampire."

When Darren Shan returns home, he is met by old enemies and a score to be settled, and with destiny certain to destroy him, the world seems doomed to fall to the Ruler of the Night.

The eleventh book in the series continues to be fascinating, a dark road leading to an exciting (I hope anyway) finish.

In love with Darren and his supporting characters, it's easy to hate the evil Vampinese Lord, although HIS personal sidekicks seem to be showing more a multi-layered conscience. There's two sad deaths that surprised me in this one, all grim and brutal to match the series and how things are going.

There is a certain character who is still deeply missed and, if the predictions come true about Darren's eventual fate if he does survive, I can't help but think that if the friend had survived to continue to mentor, that Darren would never have faced that dark future.

Vancha is back, thankfully, and as awesome as always. There is a sad revelation about his future. I was kind of hoping for something with him and the human Alice, but I guess that's not eventual. She continues to impress as a worthy human. Debbie and Darren - well, not sure how that will work out now that Darren has shown her a darker face. Harrat is always great to behold as a friend.

We get to revisit the Cirque Du Freak a lot, which is nice, again coming home.

Pacing is as always fierce, dealing out the right moments of breathing space to keep it from seeing harried. Shan writes action scenes expertly, always delivering surprise twists and turnouts.

As Darren is changing, it's a nice ironic twist that he has been placed in the hometown where he was born and his vampire journey initially began.

Among the top three of the series (the other two being the second and eighth book)