Cirque Du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan Series

Book review by Matt Berman, Common Sense Media
Cirque Du Freak: The Saga of Darren Shan Series Poster Image

Common Sense says

age 11+

Vampire horror series may hook reluctant readers.

Parents say

age 10+

Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 10+

Based on 80 reviews

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The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Community Reviews

age 10+

Unfair Reviews for the Series; Give Them A Chance

Please read this whole review. It's a bit long but it's thorough and gives a fair representation of the book series. The first time I read these books was when I was 12. My English class read the first book and I loved it so much I went and read the other 11. I remember I used to beg my mom to take me to the bookstore to buy the next book every time I finished one. I'm now 18, and these books remain one of my all-time favorite series. While the books do contain gore and violence, it is no worse than your average horror movie, and there are no pictures of violence in the books. There are multiple people on this website saying that these books have drinking, drugs, and smoking, but really they don't. Please don't unfairly rate books just because you personally don't want your kids reading them. That's your personal choice, however other people need to have accurate information in order to make their own decisions. For me, I would definitely let my child read these books, and I have multiple reasons why. First, if a child wants to read, we much encourage that and not tell them no. I was always the reader out of my siblings; getting my siblings to read was always a nightmare. The later in life we get without doing something, the less inclined we will be to start. Second, the books have a value to them that isn't just part of reading literature. The series has powerful role models, and characters that always stay true to themselves, and in a world as diverse and growing as we have today, this is important. The main character, Darren, faces a conflict and feels bad for the outcome, but still remains family-oriented and never forgot where he came from and who his friends were. As an absolute advocate for these books, I want as many kids to read them as possible. I think if you don't read these books, you're really missing out. Despite the fact that they're aimed at children and teens, I think even a young-minded adult might enjoy them. I'm still working on getting my 13-year-old sister to read them, but she has never been one to read much. My brother, who's 15 this summer, absolutely loves them and I often find him on the floor in my room re-reading them. Don't get me wrong, I like my privacy, but I love to see him read, especially something I loved to read myself. We often talk about what happened as if we read them yesterday. It makes me want to finish my own book series even sooner so we can talk about them, too. So, these books also helped my develop a really strong relationship with my little brother. The last thing I have to say about these books is give them a chance! They might not be your kind of book, but everyone has different likes and dislikes. I honestly am not one for horror movies or books and when my teacher first said we would be reading a bit of a horror book in class I was not looking forward to it. And yet, after being thoroughly surprised, I cannot stop talking about them and recommending them to my friends even today. Also: they aren't that gory! Shan does a great job at keeping the suspense without making the books overly-violent. However, some characters do die, and I did cry after becoming so attached to them! But if you look at it this way, doesn't the ability of an author to provoke emotion in his readers make him a good author? Just some food for thought. :)

This title has:

Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
age 10+

This got my teen that hated reading started reading for pleasure

Literally - the kid read what his teachers made him read. Then, when there were only four books in the Cirque Du Freak series and one Demonata book out the librarian introduced him to them. He's read all the Darren Shan books and now, as an adult, reads other books for pleasure as well. Will always love them for that reason!

Book Details

  • Author: Darren Shan
  • Genre: Horror
  • Book type: Fiction
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: April 12, 2004
  • Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
  • Number of pages: 266
  • Last updated: July 12, 2017

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