Reviewing the Cirque Du Freak book series
I decided this year to read a bunch of Frankenstein books for Halloween. I reviewed all of these Frankenstein books during this year’s AWESOME-tober-fest (here, here and here). However, I actually read and finished all of those books at the end of August and early September.
So, to change things up, throughout September and early October I switched genres and read a few action books like Star Wars: Republic Commandos: Hard Contact by Karen Traavis, The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown and Area 7 by Matthew Reilly. Well, when I finished those, I still had a few weeks of October left and I wanted to read some creepy and/or scary books. There have been a bunch of ads for the new movie The Vampire’s Assistant starring John C Reilly and I thought they looked pretty good. I’ve had my eyes on the book series the movie was based on for a while so I decided to give the first book a try (It’s currently on Book 12 which may be the last). So I put the first book, Cirque Du Freak: A Living Nightmare on my Paperbackswap.com Wish List and it came to me pretty quickly. So I started reading it.
The movie takes it’s name from the second book, but I read somewhere that its story comes from the first three books. The first three books comprise a loose trilogy, as do each successive three books so that within the 12 book series there should be 4 trilogies. Each tied into the main story, but each having their own story arc.
My plan was to try the first book and see if I wanted to continue the series. Well, I blew through Book 1 in two days and really enjoyed the story. Two best friends, Darren and Steve, find a flyer for a traveling freak show called Cirque Du Freak. They sneak out one night and attend the show. Steve has a confrontation with one of the performers named Mr Crepsley. All of a sudden events start happening at a rapid pace including the stealing of a poisonous spider and the live burial of one of the boys. It’s a lot of fun and a great setup for the series. Many creatures are setup in the book’s world including a wolf-man, snake-boy and, of course, vampires. The rules for these vampires bring them closer to the real world. They aren’t immortal, they just age slower (1 year for every 10 human years). They can’t turn into bats or other animals, their bites don’t create other vampires and they aren’t immediately killed by sunlight (but continued exposure will kill them in a few hours). Also, and this is the main idea, they aren’t evil creatures. Vampires don’t drain and kill humans. They use sharp fingernails to cut into the skin, then drink a small amount of blood, then use their spit to heal the wound, leaving the human still alive. It makes the vampires seem more real and freshens up the idea a bit (thank you, Twilight, for ruining vampires for everyone but 14 year old girls and middle aged housewives).
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book and when I was finished, I took it to my favorite place, Chamblin Bookmine, and traded it in (as well as 3 or 4 other books) and got Books 2 and 3 which complete the first trilogy.
Like I said, Book 2 is called The Vampire’s Assistant and Book 3 is called Tunnels of Blood.
I flew through Book 2 in two days and enjoyed it even more than Book 1. Book 2 takes up a few months later and focuses on Darren’s life now that he’s joined Mr Crepsley and the Cirque Du Freak, leaving his family behind. I really don’t want to give too much away, but it’s a great continuation of the series. Seeing what the Cirque Du Freak does to setup for each performance and the chores that need to be done are pretty cool. Oh, and you meet another character, Mr Tiny and his little people who are pretty creepy. Book 3 has Mr Crepsley and Darren leaving the Cirque Du Freak to chase down a murderous vampire that has gone insane and started slaughtering humans. Book 3 opens up the vampire culture even more by introducing the idea of vampire generals and the meeting of the Vampire Council. From what I gather, we see more of the Vampire Council in Book 4, Vampire Mountain. And yes, I have Book 4 at my house from PaperbackSwap.com so I can start it at anytime.
I’m really enjoying this series. I like that it’s a really light, action filled story (I read the first 3 books in 8 days). It was fun, creepy, dark and exactly what I wanted to finish out the month of October. Interestingly, enough, a day or so before Halloween I started Star Wars: Death Troopers which is a Star Wars horror novel. So I’m still enjoying spookiness after Halloween.
If you are thinking about this series, pick it up. It’s definitely worth it. I hoped to see the movie in theaters, but it didn’t do well financially and my wife said she doesn’t care to see it. So I may have to wait to rent it.