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). He agrees to go (Very Unlikely Event #2). His English teacher is Debbie (VUE #3). As much as this made me roll my eyes, I was really happy that Debbie corrected Darren’s bad grammar.
Romance between Darren and Debbie is a little difficult right now because 1. The teacher-student relationship thing, you know, 2. The apparent age difference and 3. Darren is spending his free time hunting vampaneze. It’s nice to have Debbie back, though, and she’ll be a regular cast member from now on.
Guess who else shows up in this installment? Steve! Finally! We were all expecting it, I’m sure, so that’s no surprise. Another blast from the past is Reggie Veggie who we last saw in book 2 (The Vampire’s Assistant) as he was running away from the wolfman and screaming “My hands! My hands!” Author Darren Shan uses this to comic effect for the rest of the series.
The plot of the CIRQUE DU FREAK novels has always moved quickly, but Allies of the Night significantly advances the plot. As usual, I’ve got some issues with believability, especially in this installment, but most fans who are caught up in Darren Shan’s saga are likely to overlook, or at least forgive, these minor issues. The exciting, twisty, and emotional story mostly makes up for it. As usual, Allies of the Night ends on a cliffhanger and you’ll want to have the next book, Killers of the Dawn, on hand.
I’m still listening to the audio versions of CIRQUE DU FREAK which are dramatically narrated by Ralph Lister.
Cirque Du Freak (The Darren Shan Saga) — (1999-2004) Ages 9-12. Publisher: Darren Shan is just an ordinary schoolboy who enjoys hanging out with his three best friends. Then one day they stumble across as invitation to visit the Cirque du Freak, a mysterious freak show. Only two tickets are available, so they draw straws to see who will go. As if by destiny, Darren wins one, and what follows is his horrifying descent into the dark and bloody world of vampires. This is Darren’s story.
The Saga of Larten Crepsley — (2010-2012) Young adult. Publisher: The highly anticipated prequel to the New York Times bestselling Cirque Du Freak series! Before Cirque Du Freak… Before the war with the vampaneze… Before he was a vampire. Larten Crepsley was a boy. As a child laborer many centuries ago, Larten Crepsley did his job well and without complaint, until the day the foreman killed his brother as an example to the other children. In that moment, young Larten flies into a rage that the foreman wouldn’t survive. Forced on the run, he sleeps in crypts and eats cobwebs to get by. And when a vampire named Seba offers him protection and training as a vampire’s assistant, Larten takes it. This is his story.