Review: The Vampire’s Assistant – Darren Shan #2

The Vampire's Assistant (The Saga of Darren Shan, #2)The Vampire’s Assistant by Darren Shan

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.

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Review: Cirque Du Freak – Darren Shan #1

Cirque Du Freak (The Saga of Darren Shan, #1)Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book. Told from the perspective of a young boy (Shan) the story is quite simplistic in its language as you would expect from a child of the main characters age, but it breaches barriers between the child and adult worlds.
Darren and his friend go to see a freak show. Freak shows are banned but there is one still travelling around, behind the scenes, dingy and secretive events held for only certain people.
We follow Darren and Steve into this freak show and what happens next.

To a younger person, I could definitely see this book bordering on horror, as a grown up not so much. That being said, it was still a good read. And a good job too as I have the next 8 books in the series waiting on my book shelf courtesy of a car boot sale a while ago.

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Bargain Buys – Charity begins with BOOKS

You’ve probably all heard the saying Charity begins at Home? And if not, you more than likely will at some point in your life. Well, I have taken that saying and changed it to fit my lifestyle.


The reason for me doing this is because:

  • I work in a charity shop
  • I love a bargain and giving back to people that need it
  • I love love love buying books from charity shops.

Buying a book from here is a fabulous way to fill my collection as the books are generally very reasonably priced (most of the UK Charity Shops sell an individual book for anywhere between the 50p and £2 mark). You can sometimes find books that would have cost you a lot more to buy from an actual bookshop, or even in eBook format. Due to this, I am unable to walk into a charity shop without at least checking the books.

I wanted to showcase some of my Charity Shop buys and the bargain prices I paid for them.


The entire Game of Thrones series of books (so far), boxed, in near perfect condition for a grand total of £3.50. This is probably my best bargain due to the current popularity of this series.

I got these 5 books as part of a 5 for £1 offer. An absolute bargain of a price. The Buffy book wasn’t already on any of my TBR lists but I had to get a fifth to make it up to £1.

All of the books here were priced at £1 each. The Dodger book by Terry Pratchett was definitely the best buy as its a first edition British printing. 

These 4 were all priced at 50p or less, To Kill A Mockingbird only cost 20p.


This manga version of Beautiful Creatures is my favourite of all my charity shop buys, due to 1) it being quite elusive in the UK, not available in any book shops and 2) so expensive on sites like Amazon. I snagged this, purely by accident, for £1.79.

What about you? Have you had any good charity shop book buys? Which are your favourite or best bargains?