Flashback Friday: Cirque du Freak

Hello lovelies, I’ve got a new meme for you today! This is Flashback Friday where I get to talk to you about an old favourite of mine which I read like a million years ago. This blog hop was created by  Lisa, over at Bookshelf Fantasies. Go over there and share some bookish love with her after you read my post ❤

Cirque du Freak

3gCDF1Title: A Living Nightmare (previous title: Cirque du Freak)

Author: Darren Shan

Published: 1st June 2002

Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers

Pages: 272 

Synopsis from Goodreads

In the tradition of Stephen King’s ‘Salem’s Lot, Cirque Du Freak is the frightening saga of a young boy whose visit to a mysterious freak show leads him on a journey into a dark world of vampires. Filled with grotesque creatures, murderous vampires, and a petrifying ending, Cirque Du Freak will chill, thrill, and leave readers begging for more.

First Line: “I’ve always been fascinated by spiders.”

My Thoughts

I love this series so fiercely, I honestly can’t even describe it without sounding like an idiot but I’m going to give it a go.


Ahem, where was I. Yes, the books. Honestly, in my eyes, vampire books will so never get old because of this series. I would gladly re-pick up any book in this twelve book set and be happy about it. It’s almost like Harry Potter for me – a big series that I read when I was about twelve or thirteen which has stuck with me.

Anyway, let me tell you what this series is about. Well, I’ll start off with the first book (probably for the best lol). In Cirque du Freak (or A Living Nightmare) we are introduced to Darren Shan – a high school teen – and his three best friends, including Steve Leopard. They’re pretty much like all other normal teenage boys until the Cirque du Freak comes to town, and every changes (AND IT IS SO GOOD *SQUEALS*).

Certain events and scenarios take place which result in our protagonist, Darren, becoming a vampire’s assistant – Larten Crepsley’s assistant. The rest of the series follows Darren and his time within the vampire world etc, but I won’t tell you anymore because this series is too amazing to spoil.

This actually might be ringing a bell with you and it should because the first three books in this series – Cirque du Freak, the Vampire’s Assistant and Tunnels of Blood – were turned into a movie featuring a very fetus Josh Hutcherson. The movie had a fantastic cast and it was actually pretty good, but it failed at the box office so we never got a follow up :((((( Even though we won’t be getting anymore movies, it is still great to watch every now and then and the soundtrack is also pretty fantastic! I listen to it quite a lot when I’m in the mood.


Anyway, back to the books. This was one of the first series I read which I truly fell in love with and that’s because it has so many spectacular elements. First, the characters are amazing – truly. They’re so well thought out and 3D, all with their own quirks and mannerisms. This is also a funny series though, even though it may not seem like it – the characters have a great sense of humour even when shit is hitting the fan (if you don’t mind me saying so).

The plot twists in this series are also crazy. I MEAN CRAZY. Maybe it was just my underdeveloped twelve year old brain that couldn’t see ahead and figure them out but I’m glad I didn’t because I was so shocked all the time and it was amazing. I remember when I finished the last book in this series – Sons of Destiny – I literally just sat back and said “wow” for about five minutes. It was very bizarre but my mind was just completely blown and I’ll never forget that feeling, ever.

This whole series competently kept me on my toes, never knowing what was around the bend. Another highlight for me throughout this series was the writing. The author, Darren Shan is fantastic. I mean, he is an absolute genius (or I think he is anyway). You can tell whilst reading these books that everything has been thought out in advance. For example, the very end of the last book in the series links back to the very start of the first books. It’s kind of like Harry Potter again, where J.K Rowling knew about Voldemort’s horcruxes whilst she was writing the first book. This is another reason why my mind was so blown because everything linked and weaved together in a way that I hadn’t really experienced in books much before.

CirquedufreakWhat’s even better about these books is that it has a spin off series called the Saga of Larten Crepsley. This series follows Darren’s vampire master, Larten, in his life before and after he became a vampire which was incredibly interesting and included some friendly faces from the original series. These books are equally as fantastic as Cirque du Freak and I really appreciated them in the morning period of me finishing the original series.

As you can see, I can only sing this series’ praises. I don’t even remember ever finding anything which I didn’t like in any of the books which is pretty special. If you’re looking for a vampire book – which is VERY different from all others that you have read – and you’re also looking for likeable characters in a series you can easily fall in love with, then please, PLEASE, pick up Cirque du Freak. Honestly, you will not regret it, I promise you.

Saying all of this, keep in mind that I did read these books like a million years ago so maybe my opinion of them would change if I reread them. As for right now, however, I only have good and fond memories of them and I like it that way ❤

Have any of you read this book or series before? If you have, definitely tell me what you thought of it down below and your experience with it 🙂 Thanks for reading,

S xo

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19 thoughts on “Flashback Friday: Cirque du Freak

  1. Wow, I’ve not heard of this series before, but you’ve definitely sold them to me! I like vampire books but I haven’t read any in a while as I found them to be getting rather samey… But these sound unique and completely different. Adding to my wishlist 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Loved this series! Actually didn’t read it till I was a bit older though. Have you read the Demonata series by Shan as well? I read most of it several years ago but went back to it and finished reading it in 2014, since it ended. I think I actually read Lord Loss before beginning the Cirque series. That’s what got me into loving Shan’s writing style. It was the first time I read anything like it. Anyway, rambling…glad you made this post! Nostalgia! :’D Also, did you know they made a manga for this series? I read some of it awhile back, back when it was coming out. I’m awful at keeping up with things though so I’m not sure if they finished the entire series or not…I’ll go look it up now, as it’s going to bug me until I do. xD

    Liked by 1 person

    1. When I read this series originally I didn’t realise Darren Shan had written anything else but a few years back I went and bought Lord Loss with the intention of reading the series. I hope that I’ll get around to it one day but my TBR pile in now about two book shelves… You know how it is haha. Did you like the ones you read? And no, I totally didn’t realise! I’d definitely be interested in the manga since I don’t have time to reread the whole of Cirque du Freak again 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sorry it took me so long to respond! Busy week. ^^; You should definitely get around to reading the Demonata series when you have time. I really enjoyed it. Shan’s stories are so unique, as I’m sure you realized with the Cirque series. XD And yeah, unfortunately from what I could find I don’t believe they’ve finished the manga yet. I’ll have to do a little more digging though.

        Liked by 1 person

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