Author: Darren Shan
Cirque du Freak, vol. 1
My rating: 3 of 5
When Darren and his wild best friend Steve get the chance to attend a super-secret and almost-definitely-illegal freak show, well, how could they resist? After the eerie show’s conclusion, Darren overhears Steve’s conversation with one of the show members . . . and hears more than he ever wanted to. As the foolish choices pile ever higher, Darren (a spider fanatic since he was small) decides to steal the show’s extremely-poisonous, trick-performing spider, a decision that could cost him his life. Or worse.
I have really mixed feelings about Cirque Du Freak: A Living Nightmare. On the one hand, I enjoyed the classic horror inspiration–more eeriness and tension than blood splatter. The fact that Shan demonstrated negative choices leading to (shocker, this) negative results was also refreshing. The tension developed regarding a friend’s responsibilities (even when your friend might be considered evil by some) was also intriguing. My one real complaint is that it wasn’t really that scary. I’m probably just jaded (too much Ray Bradbury), and if I’d read this as a younger teen (which is the primary intended audience), I probably would have been freaked out. Still. . . . Overall, a good horror story, just a bit . . . not exactly tame but something along those lines.