Book Evaluation Cirque du Freak The book I read was called Cirque du Freak The Saga of Darren Shan. This is a quick and easy to read thriller for the whole family. Darren Shan tells this 266 page "true story" about his life as a child wonderfully. This story is an attention grabber and once you start, it will be hard to put down.
The setting itself is pretty simple. It starts in what I assume is about a fifth or sixth grade classroom and then falls into the circus. Of course, this is no ordinary circus; it is an "underground" circus. Since the circus is illegal, it is well hidden.
It takes place deep in the ghetto of a city, in an old run down building, where it is dark and creepy. The setting really only matters in the beginning, as it set up the mood for the novel, a creepy scary place that is full of surprises. One can never anticipate what happens next. As I have mentioned, and what makes this novel even more interesting, is that the author claims that this story is true. As I read through, I found that hard to believe. The author starts us in a classroom with a couple of kids, of which I assumed were about ten to twelve years old.
One of the kids, Steve Leonard, steals a fly er he found in his brothers room about a new circus that is in town. As Steve is showing off this really cool new circus that is in town made for adults only, his teacher interrupts him and takes the fly er away, next, the kids find themselves in a long lecture about these freak circuses and how bad they really are. This lecture only entices the children even more. Darren Shan (the protagonist) and Steve Leonard end up being the only two boys that can go to the show.
This is where the adventure and action begin. Finally, the boys get to go to the circus; they stuck away from home and had head for their doom. In the circus they see many crazy, scary, and freaky people. Their particular favorite is Mr. Crepsley (the antagonist), and his amazing spider, Madam Octa. One simply plays a special flute, and the spider does all kinds of tricks.
Darren is immediately hooked. When the circus is over, Darren sneaks back in to the circus and steals the spider. Darren does not know whom he has messed with, for the owner of the spider, Mr. Crepsley, is a vampire.
Soon, the spider attacks Darren's best friend, Steve, leaving Darren with only one choice, to ask Mr. Crepsley for help on the situation. Unfortunately for Darren, this venomous Mr. Crepsley needs a new assistant, and he won't do anything for nothing, and he is the only one who can help Steve.
So being a good friend, Darren goes to work for the vampire, and eventually becomes one also. That is where the book leaves the reader, making one wanting to go and buy the second of the series, for we want to know what happens to young Darren Shan. This book is definitely man versus himself. Darren Shan is faced with many choices throughout the novel. He makes some bad and some good. Altogether, Darren is just a growing boy that is looking for adventure who finds too much to handle.
He makes choices that not only affect him, but also his best friend Steve Leonard. The reader can easily see the growth of the characters by the choices they make in this novel. I found it very interesting, reading through the novel, as Darren was learning from mistakes, he created new ones. The point of this book is to show the reader how different situations effect people by the choices that are made. The book makes the reader decide for himself what is good and what is bad. This book is very easy to imagine.
One can just picture Darren and Steve walking from sideshow to sideshow in the circus, each with puzzled and disgusted faces. This book amplifies the imagination as we read through it. The amazing, trick-performing spider and a wise, tall, and creepy vampire that hides in the shadows of others. This is all very easy to imagine and picture within one's mind.
The reason for this book's simplicity in imagery is due in part to its level. This book is apparently written for a younger reading group. But it still excites even the older reading group, like me. I liked the pictures the book made me imagine as I read; they were very funny, although they were meant to be scary. Although meant for the intermediate reader, I enjoyed the simple yet skillfully developed plot in Cirque du Freak.
I believe that the Author was trying to aim at a younger age group. His not so frightening events would have probably left a startle on the little ladies. Overall, I think that Darren Shan was giving the reader an adventure to experience without ever being there. He succeeded, in that as much as I hate reading, I enjoyed this quick read.
It would definitely make for a great bedtime story. I would recommend this book to a friend and to all the little mighty mites out there looking for an exciting thriller. It is an enjoyable tale of a young boy with his life unfolding in front of the reader, I would like for friends to be able to see this so they could compare to their own lives.