My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Darren made the difficult decision to become a half-vampire to save his best mate Steve Leopard’s life. Now, he must leave his friends and family behind as he travels cross-country with the vampire Mr Crepsley and the Cirque du Freak. The Vampire’s Assistant is not for the squeamish or faint-hearted. How long can Darren go before he must drink human blood? How safe are Darren’s new-found friends? Why don’t the mysterious, blue-hooded dwarves speak or cry out in pain? And does their master Mr Des Tiny really feed on little children? No one is safe in this gruesome, macabre tale–more a who’s-going-to-do-what than a who-dunnit.
This is the second book in The Saga of Darren Shan (A Living Nightmare is the first, otherwise known as Cirque Du Freak). I bought the first nine books in this series from a car boot sale back in March of this year (2017), partly on a whim. I had never read anything by Shan before but had heard about this series. Even with little knowledge of the series, at £6.75 for nine books I couldn’t pass them up (I have a book buying problem haha). Anyway, when I loved the first book I decided my money was well spent and made a start on the second – The Vampire’s Assistant.
I’m really glad I decided to continue with the story because Shan does not disappoint. In the previous book, Darren Shan had agreed to become a half vampire and assistant to Crepsley (a fully fledged bonafide vampire) in order to save his best friends life. Moving into the current book, and we see Darren start his journey to a vampiric life. The pair flit around quite a bit at the beginning of the book but eventually end up back where it all started – at the Cirque Du Freak. Darren begins to make friends but things, unfortunately, aren’t plain sailing from there.
As with the first book, the writing and language used is quite simple. Not simple in a bad, OMG I can’t read this kind of way but in a way that shows that the author was clearly writing for the younger audience (not that I care that I am 33 and reading books clearly not aimed at me haha). The author spends some time building a scene but doesn’t go overboard with what I sometimes think are over the top descriptions e.g. He will describe a setting, but won’t linger too much on any particular thing – how bright and green the trees are, for example. He will say they are bright, and green but won’t stoop to using too many words. I think is perfect for the younger (and older) reader.