Cirque du Freak is unusual in the fact that it is said to be written by it’s narrator, Darren Shan. In the introduction Shan states emphatically, “This is a true story.”

The thing about real life is, when you do something stupid it normally costs you. In books, the heroes can make as many mistakes as they like. It doesn’t matter what they do, because everything works out in the end. They’ll beat the bad guys and put things right and everything ends up cool. (Quote from novel)

Shan all but spells out that this book will not have a happy ending.
I had heard of Cirque du Freak, but because of it’s tween POV and the Harry Potter craze, I stayed away. As the movie drew near I gave in and downloaded the Kindle version. I was not disappointed and am now looking forward to the movie – even though just seeing the trailer lets me know it differs a lot from the novel.

Darren Shan is a compelling narrator of his own tale. He spins a story, while juvenile, it is also dark and sometimes horrific. The author did a wonderful job with the tone of the book, it is reminiscent of Lord of the Flies – sounding as if you are reading a 13 year old’s diary, instead of a novel. The plot line of the book is so believable that you almost find yourself believing that this could really be non-fiction and not just from the depths of the author’s mind. In some parts the novel did tread a little too dark for a young teenager, while in others it had a very immature tone that I thought older teens might be dissatisfied with. Some parts are very fanciful and Darren’s actions can be a bit overly dramatic for a 13 year old, but overall the story was well done.

The plot was well paced and kept you going. The beginning did take a little longer to get into than I expected, but once in, it kept you there. I definitely recommend this book to adults and young readers alike. While on the creepy side, there is nothing really inappropriate to be worried about.

If you ask me if I liked the book more than the movie, I can’t ever recall responding, I enjoyed the movie better. There is just something more fulfilling about a book. I will enjoy a movie and agree that it was a well-done piece that did the book justice, but never do I believe a movie can surpass its book. Therefore, if I hear of a movie based from a book, if I find it interesting I will try and read the book first. I’m glad that I took the time to read this book and now I’m looking forward to the movie.

The Vampire Assistant in theaters today!