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.
What if you were an unwilling vampire? You needed to drink human blood to stay alive, but you weren’t some horror-flick villain; you were you, born human–a nice person, even. Thus is the dilemma of the young narrator-protagonist, Darren Shan, in this tremendously suspenseful, oft-sickening sequel to Cirque Du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan. In the first book, Darren becomes a vampire’s assistant to save the life of his friend Steve. In order to do so, he has to fake his death, get buried alive, and head out–half-human, homeless, and friendless–into the world. The Vampire’s Assistant chronicles his new lonely life as a half-vampire, pumped with the cursed blood of his vampire guardian, Mr. Crepsley. Darren has much to learn about his freshly supernatural state. He doesn’t grow fangs, for instance, like he thought he might. And he can’t change shape or fly. Garlic just gives vampires bad breath… And they eat bagels. Some of the hardest lessons of all come when he joins the traveling freak show Cirque Du Freak, the show that got him and Steve in trouble in the first place. Readers won’t be disappointed by this fast-paced, gory, but strangely amiable sequel. In fact, the plot is much better paced than the first and the dialogue far more natural. Deadly pythons, a snake boy, Cormac Limbs (bite off his finger and it grows back!), and an entire cast of dreadfully creepy characters offer excitement beyond expectation. Along the way, we come to really like Darren, who will do absolutely anything for a friend. British author Darren Shan promises more adventures in 2002. (Ages 10 and older) –Karin Snelson
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