Vampire's Assistant, The

Rating: 
4
The Vampire's Assistant
Review by Tim Wadham, submitted on 1-Aug-2001

SHAN, Darren. The Vampire's Assistant. 256p. (Cirque du Freak Series). Little, Brown. Sept. 2001. Tr $15.95. ISBN 0-316-60610-3. LC number unavailable.

Gr 5-8--After a breezy two-page introduction that gives the major plot points of Cirque du Freak, readers are plunged back into the world of a young, newly minted half-vampire (a concept that is never fully explained). With his mentor, the creepy full vampire Mr. Crepsley, Darren is learning the ropes of the undead.

Readers quickly get a rundown of the facts, the most important one being that vampires, even half ones, must have human blood to survive, and Darren can't bring himself to drink. There is not much plot here. He and Mr. Crepsley return to the Cirque du Freak. Darren and Evra, a snake-boy, make what is ultimately a tragic friendship with a local boy named Sam and a self-proclaimed "ecowarrior" named R.V. It is R.V. who precipitates the real action as he becomes suspicious of animals disappearing from nearby farms.

The first-person narration seems superficial, and there is little depth to Darren's character. That said, Shan creates heart-pounding, page-turning action that will keep kids reading. He certainly knows his horror, and this book cranks up the gore factor a notch or two.

Readers will get more information about the genuinely weird denizens of the Cirque du Freak. There are some genuinely horrific, almost painful moments, particularly at the book's tragic climax. Readers will be turning from the page, sickened, and then come back to find out what happens next. The question remains, where can Shan take his readers from here? Just how far will he go?

--Tim Wadham, Maricopa County Library District, Phoenix, AZ

COPYRIGHT 2001 Cahners Business Information

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From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

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