Next SFF Author: Edward Shanks
Previous SFF Author: Diane Setterfield

SFF Author: Darren Shan

Darren Shan(1972- )
Darren Shan
is the penname of Irish author Darren O’Shaughnessy and the name of the hero of his Cirque Du Freak series. Darren was raised and lives in Ireland. Darren always wanted to be a writer. He bought his first typewriter when he was fourteen and never looked back. He enjoyed his first taste of literary success at fifteen, as a runner-up in a television script-writing competition for RTE in Ireland, with a dark comedy script titled A Day in the Morgue. A big film buff, with a collection of more than four thousand movies at home, Darren also reads lots of comics and books, and likes to study and collect original artwork, especially comic art and impressionist and post-impressionist art. Other interests include long walks, watching soccer (he’s a Tottenham Hotspur and Ireland fan), listening to pop and rock music, theatre, worldwide travel, sampling the delights of both gourmet cuisine and finger-licking junk food, and dreaming up new ways to terrify his readers! Darren spends most of his time in Limerick, Ireland, with his wife Bas and son Dante. You can read more about him at Darren Shan’s website.



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A Living Nightmare: Horror for children

A Living Nightmare by Darren Shan

“Only the world’s dumbest person would run a risk like that again. Step forward — Darren Shan!”

Darren Shan (which is the name of the author and the protagonist of the CIRQUE DU FREAK series) was having a pretty normal life until one of his best friends finds an advertisement for the Cirque du Freak. After they “borrow” some money from their parents and sneak out at night, Darren and Steve discover a weird world that they never could have dreamed of.


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The Vampire’s Assistant: Tense, exciting, gross

The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan

Warning: This is the second book in the CIRQUE DU FREAK series, so this review necessarily contains spoilers for Book 1.

Darren Shan’s life is officially a mess after several monumental screw-ups which were detailed in the previous appropriately named book, A Living Nightmare. He has left home and joined the Cirque du Freak as Mr. Crepsley’s assistant. Mr. Crepsley is a vampire and Darren is now a half-vampire. Darren has super strength and speed and, he discovers,


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Tunnels of Blood: A high-stress scary story

Tunnels of Blood by Darren Shan

Warning: This is the third book in the CIRQUE DU FREAK series, so this review will contain spoilers for the previous books. You don’t have to read the previous books because author Darren Shan gives a short but sufficient recap, but starting at the beginning would be ideal.

Mr. Crepsley is the only full vampire that Darren had ever met until Gavner Purl, Vampire General, shows up at the Cirque du Freak. After Purl meets with Mr. Crepsley, Darren is told that he and his mentor will be taking a little break from the freak show and going to live in a city while Crepsley takes care of some business there.


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Vampire Mountain: Still compelling

Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan

It’s been six years since the events of the previous book, Tunnels of Blood. Darren and Mr. Crepsley have been travelling with the Cirque du Freak, but this is the year that the Vampire Council meets in Vampire Mountain and so it’s time for Mr. Crepsley to present Darren to the other vampires. Thus they set off on the long and perilous journey to Vampire Mountain, bringing with them two of the mysterious Little People who belong to the even more mysterious Mr.


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Trials of Death: Make sure you’ve got the next book

Trials of Death by Darren Shan

In Vampire Mountain, the previous book of Darren Shan’s CIRQUE DU FREAK series, Darren was asked to prove himself worthy of being a vampire by surviving a series of trials. If he fails, he dies. These trials will remind many readers of the tests Harry Potter endured in The Goblet of Fire. For example, for the first trial he must escape from a maze that’s filling with water. As the tasks go on,


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The Vampire Prince: Intense and emotional

The Vampire Prince by Darren Shan

Warning: This review contains spoilers for the previous books.

In the previous book, Trials of Death, author Darren Shan left us on a cliffhanger and I’m pretty sure that most readers will be running out to pick up this book, The Vampire Prince, no matter what anybody says. Still, it’s my job to say something about it, so I’ll do that.

OK, it’s no big surprise, I guess, that Darren survived the events of Trials of Death.


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Hunters of the Dusk: Exciting despite a couple of problems

Hunters of the Dusk by Darren Shan

Hunters of the Dusk is the seventh book in Darren Shan’s CIRQUE DU FREAK series. Though Shan always does a nice job of quickly and sufficiently recapping the plot, it’d be best not to start here. Go back and begin with A Living Nightmare. And be warned that this review will contain spoilers for previous books.

It’s been six years since the events of The Vampire Prince.


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Allies of the Night: We meet old friends and enemies

Allies of the Night by Darren Shan

In Allies of the Night, the eighth book in Darren Shan’s CIRQUE DU FREAK series, Darren, Mr. Crepsley and Harkat return to Mr. Crepsley’s hometown to investigate the vampaneze activity there. This is the city we visited many years ago in the third book, Tunnels of Blood, where Darren met his first and only girlfriend, Debbie. Darren still has the body of a young teenager so when he gets to the city, he is discovered by the authorities and forced to go to school (Very Unlikely Event #1).


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Killers of the Dawn: This is a good series for brave reluctant readers

Killers of the Dawn by Darren Shan

Killers of the Dawn, the ninth of Darren Shan’s CIRQUE DU FREAK books, continues right where Allies of the Night left off. The vampaneze have taken Debbie hostage in the tunnels under the city, but they’ve let Darren, Mr. Crepsley, and Vancha go. After escaping, Darren and company decide (not too smartly) to go back to the apartment they’ve been staying in where they have a run-in with the police. The rest of the plot involves captures,


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The Lake of Souls: A side-quest

The Lake of Souls by Darren Shan

In The Lake of Souls, the tenth book in Darren Shan’s CIRQUE DU FREAK series, we take a little breather after the horrid events at the end of the previous novel, Killers of the Dawn. Darren has just lost someone who’s really important to him and he’s grieving. So, when Mr. Tiny shows up and tells Harkat it’s time to find out who Harkat really is, Darren wants to go with him. They embark on a quest where they cross weird landscapes,


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Lord of the Shadows: Continues to thrill

Lord of the Shadows by Darren Shan

Lord of the Shadows is the penultimate book in Darren Shan’s CIRQUE DU FREAK series. If you haven’t read the previous books, but plan to, I recommend that you don’t read this review until you’ve read them, for I will certainly spoil the plot for you.

Darren Shan’s adventures in the vampire world began when he made a series of bad mistakes. First he stole money from his parents and snuck out of the house to visit the Cirque du Freak,


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Sons of Destiny: Disappointing finale

Sons of Destiny by Darren Shan

Sons of Destiny is the twelfth and final (finally!) book in Darren Shan’s CIRQUE DU FREAK horror series for children. If you haven’t read the previous volumes, but you intend to, you have no business being here. Go away. If you have read them, you probably don’t care at all what I think about Sons of Destiny. It’s not like you’re NOT going to read it, right? But, since I’ve reviewed all the novels so far,


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Procession of the Dead: Its publication history is more interesting than its plot

Procession of the Dead by Darren Shan

Procession of the Dead has had an interesting publication history. First published in 1999, Procession of the Dead was originally titled Ayuamarca and was intended to be the first novel in The City trilogy. Unfortunately, the series did not find an audience and the third book was never published. The original author, Darren O’Shaughnessy, went on to fame and fortune under a new pen name (Darren Shan) and with a new series (The Saga of Darren Shan).


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Hell’s Horizon: A weird sequel

Hell’s Horizon by Darren Shan

Darren Shan’s Hell’s Horizon is a weird sequel — if you think it’s weird to completely ignore the hero of the first novel in a trilogy. After describing the mysterious and mystical rise of Capac Raimi in Procession of the Dead, Shan turns his attentions to Al Jeery, a random soldier in the Cardinal’s army known as Troops. Al doesn’t realize it, but he’s about to be promoted. His new job, believe it or not, is to develop some ambition in life by investigating and solving a murder.


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City of the Snakes: Early Darren Shan

City of the Snakes by Darren Shan

City of the Snakes is the final entry in Darren Shan’s The City trilogy. The City is so corrupt that it should have fallen to pieces when its criminal overlord, the Cardinal, died. However, Ferdinand Dorak made careful plans for his successor, preventing the gang war that everyone was expecting. Dorak made a deal with the villacs, blind Mayan priests, and together they created human puppets known as the Ayuamarcans. Over the years, the Cardinal made many Ayuamarcans,


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Magazine Monday: Nightmare Magazine, April 2014

“Sleep Paralysis” by Dale Bailey is the opening story of the April 2014 issue of Nightmare, getting things off to a fine start. Bailey’s first person narrator, a skilled undertaker, has found comfort in his wife, beautiful and young, while he is plain and in the autumn of his years. The wife is extremely active in charity work, gone most days and many evenings, leaving her husband to work and spend nights at his club — a situation that has caused rumors that she married him solely for his money, and is engaged in rather more private charity than she admits to.


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Next SFF Author: Edward Shanks
Previous SFF Author: Diane Setterfield

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