Pros: A bizarre yet still somehow satisfying ending. Expect the unexpected.
Cons: A few random things that you may question, but not many.
The Bottom Line: The final book of the series. Good job on wrapping things up (in a weird way), Shan.
If you haven't read the series, for heaven sakes go start at book one. Honestly, no idea what some of you people are doing starting here...
Ready to finish the Cirque Du Freak series? Then follow along as we go to some freaky places full of death and you-don't-want-to-know!
This is it. The final showdown between Darren the Vampire Prince and his arch nemesis, the Lord of the Vampaneze. There have been many deaths along the way, and more are still to come as the Vamaneze and the members of the Cirque and others clash in a big way. There are even humans in on the fight; Debbie and Alice's fighters against humans hoping to be Vamapenze. The climax comes rather swiftly - the middle of the book actually, and once you hear all the meaty tidbits and *gasp!* revelations (honestly, you'd think with a title like this, someone like me would see it coming, but I totally dropped the ball. I still can't believe it. Shan, you sneaky man, you.), you'll wonder what could possibly be next. I mean, how do you top a massive battle and the deaths of some of the most important characters involved?
Shan certainly knows how. There are plenty of little loose ends of him to tie up, which he managed to do quite well. I think everyone will react differently to the ending. Though he did handle everything nicely, I actually had mixed feelings once I closed the book. After the climax at the middle, I was in completely foreign waters and had no idea (for once) of what Shan planned to do. Kind of nice, actually. But after you're done, you may not know how to take in that information. I think it's because it ended in a way that you don't often see (if ever) in books, especially teen ones. Teen books often end on at least a high note. I guess one could say that this one did too, but it's a really weird high note so it's hard to see it as a high note. Most of the time you probably just sit there feeling sorry for Darren, like, "Geez man, that really sucks. Sorry it had to be you."
Which brings me to the interesting deal that Darren strikes with Mr. Tiny. I, like my Cirque partner Freak369, have a few issues with a "replacement" deal. Mostly because I don't really buy into some of the things that Tiny and Evanna state, such as how major events stay the same even if the person is removed from time (i.e. if Hitler were killed as a kid, no matter, because someone else would take his place and WWII and everything would go down anyway). Frankly, I also think it's kind of crappy on Darren's part because even if he's out of it, some other poor soul is going to have to deal with everything. But hey, what are you gonna do? It's printed, out there, and for all to see.
I do have to say that Shan walked a fine line between the whole "it was all a dream" thing and a non-dream-related ending. Tricky, Shan, tricky. It's a unique way to tackle something like this and Shan did so with aplomb. One of those writers you feel knew what he was doing from the very start (and he probably did).
So all in all? A good series. Nothing I intend to own or reread at any point in time, but I'm not exactly the target audience either. But I can appreciate it for what it is and it did indeed entertain me for quite some time. Will I read Shan's Demonata series? Maybe sometime in the future, but as of right now I've got other things on my reading list.
Although his destiny is written and he knows fighting his archenemy in a battle to the death will lead to his own demise or his transformation into the Lord of the Shadows, Darren faces the battle with courage and a clever plan to trick the powers that rule him. Reprint. 75,000 first printing.