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Trials of Death

1 rating: 5.0
A book by Darren Shan

In order to prove that he is worthy of the vampire clan, Darren Shan must pass five formidable tests or else face the stakes of the Hall of Death--a journey that plunges him into the darkest recesses of Vampire Mountain where evil, murder, and betrayal … see full wiki

Author: Darren Shan
Genre: Juvenile Fiction
Publisher: Fitzgerald Books
Date Published: January 01, 2007
1 review about Trials of Death

Cirque Du Freak #5: Trials of Death *muahahahaha!*

  • Mar 1, 2010
Pros: Exciting stuff and plot advancement!

Cons: Nothing, actually...

The Bottom Line: A rockin' time inside a mountain full of vampires. Danger and death lurk around every corner!

Welcome to Darren Shan's Cirque Du Freak series.  Located in the teen section of the bookstore, it's probably best left for them to read.  Still, if you're interested in a bit of teen horror, it's not a bad series to check out.

This is the fifth book out of twelve, so you'd best start here or you'll get rather confused.  It's been 8 years (if I remember right) since Darren was made a half-vampire in the first book, but he only ages at 1/5 the rate of humans.  His mind is 8 years older; his body not so much.

When we last left Darren, he'd been roped into taking the Trials - tasks that full vampires take on to prove that they're worthy of being, well, vampires.  Harkat, one of the Little People, delivered his message of the Vampaneze Lord being found (and the second I heard that, I already knew who it was).  Excitement abounds in Vampire Mountain.  What will they do about the Vampaneze Lord?  And will Darren survive the trials?  Failure only means one thing - death.

Vampires in Shan's world are, in a word, weird.  Yes, normally vampires are weird as it is, but these guys are all about proving yourself and showing that you're an awesome vampire with speed and strength and smarts and that if you fail you pretty much deserve to die.  One of the reasons there aren't very many vampires in the world.  Some of the tasks that Darren faces are dangerous, but make sense.  There is one though that's just plain bizarre and makes you wonder, "Seriously?  Is that even dangerous?" and start fact checking just because.  Still, it's entertaining and I doubt most teens are going to look up information just because a task is strange.  Suspend disbelief, just keep doing that.

I was glad that this book actually moved the plot along.  The past few books (particularly the last book) have been semi-ho-hum because there's nothing of any importance going on.  A few important little plot tidbits thrown in among a lot of fluff, but at least it made for okay character development.  Here though, Darren has to toughen up, fast, and wow does that poor boy get the crap kicked outta him.  Then near the end things get even better and more exciting when nothing goes the way you expect it to and Darren is on his own in a really bad situation.  Feel the thrills!

Readers can expect a good dose of violence in surprising ways, though it's not violence just for violence's sake (horror does not necessarily mean violence, after all), and I do believe in this book Shan finally quit with the annoying end-chapter foreshadowing.  At least, if there was any, it wasn't much and I don't remember being much annoyed.

And yes, I did say up there that I know who the Vampaneze Lord is.  No one else knows, but trust me, if you were paying any attention at all to the first book, I think it's as clear as day.  In fact, I'm willing to bet everything I own on it.

When you reach the end you'll be more than ready to pick up the next book because of the huge cliffhanger this one ends on.  You'll be wondering how Darren manages to survive, what is going on inside Vampire Mountain, and whether or not the vampires inside of it can (or ought to be) saved.

Just like most vampires, this Cirque review is Lean-N-Mean!

The Cirque Du Freak Series:
#1: A Living Nightmare
#2: The Vampire's Assistant
#3: Tunnels of Blood
#4: Vampire Mountain
#5: Trials of Death
#6: The Vampire Prince
#7: Hunters of the Dusk
#8: Allies of the Night
#9: Killers of the Dawn
#10: The Lake of Souls
#11: Lord of the Shadows
#12: Sons of Destiny


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