Monday, March 14, 2011

ARC Review: Birth of a Killer

Birth of a Killer
Darren Shan

Series or Stand Alone: The Saga of Larten Crepsley series, book one

Release Date: September 2010

Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books

Pages: 253 (Hardcover)

Author Site:

My Rating: 4.25/5

Source: Received from giveaway thanks to Yankee Romance Reviews


Before Cirque Du Freak...

Before the war with the vampaneze...

Before he was a vampire…

Larten Crepsley was a boy.

As a child laborer many centuries ago, Larten Crepsley did his job well and without complaint, until the day the foreman killed his brother as an example to the other children.

In that moment, young Larten flies into a rage that the foreman wouldn't survive. Forced on the run, he sleeps in crypts and eats cobwebs to get by. And when a vampire named Seba offers him protection and training as a vampire's assistant, Larten takes it.

This is his story.

So I pretty much feel like a retard. I knew that reading this before reading the Cirque du Freak series was probably a big mistake. Okay, so it wasn’t really a big mistake because I really enjoyed The Birth of a Killer. But I think it would have been pretty great knowing about all the characters before reading this. I know for a fact I would have enjoyed the story even more if I had the Cirque du Freak series under my belt. Since this new series is a prequel to the Cirque du Freak series, having prior knowledge is always a plus! But don’t fret, I’m just being anal. The Birth of a Killer can still definitely be read and enjoyed as a stand-alone novel.

I did have a small amount of prior knowledge going into The Birth of a Killer. I actually caught the movie when it was playing on TV and enjoyed it. I think John C. Reilly is hilarious. And while the movie wasn’t the best ever I knew I would like the books. Now after reading Shan’s writing I definitely know I will.

So The Birth of a Killer tells the story of a young Larten Crepsley before becoming a vampire assistant and ultimately a vampire by Seba Nile. He meets Seba after running away from killing the foreman he worked for. The foreman, who was actually a disturbingly evil man, went a little crazy and killed Larten’s best friend, and cousin, Vur Horsten. He pretty much went too far when he killed Vur but he decided to make an example and show the other boys that he was not to be crossed. In a violent fit of rage Larten goes after him and ultimately kills him. Larten then finds himself on the run. It is in a dark, dingy, and creepy crypt where he finds refuge for the night and where he meets Seba and his destiny…

I loved Larten when he was a young boy. He was eager to learn, loyal, honest, and a great character. I didn’t like the fact that hewas stubborn and pig-headed soon after becoming a vampire. But Larten’s had a tough life and the gradual changes in his personality are understandable. So I don’t hold his bratty tendencies against him…most of the time. Larten does meet another boy, Wester, before he is blooded into a half-vampire and I’m pretty sure he’s a “new” character. It’ll be interesting to see what happens on the next part of Larten’s journey.

With my prior movie-watching knowledge I did recognize some of the characters, which was a great feeling. It actually made me feel more of an idiot not reading Cirque Du Freak first…*sigh* I enjoyed the new-to-me characters in the Freak show and at Vampire Mountain. I loved finding out the reason behind Larten’s crazy hair. I liked Seba a lot. Although he is strict in his teachings he obviously cares a lot about Larten. I thought it kind of funny that Larten’s introduction to the vampaneze involved the same guy that Darren (character) met in the Cirque du Freak series. I really liked Shan’s (author) style of writing. It’s not over the top but still had a horror-type feel that I enjoyed. I’m pretty positive I’ll like his other books. If you’ve read and enjoyed Darren Shan’s Cirque Du Freak series I think you’ll enjoy The Birth of a Killer too.

P.S. (cover talk)

My ARC copy was pretty plain-Jane but I posted my favorite out of the ones I’ve seen. The cover depicts one of the scenes in the book and I absolutely love it!


Blodeuedd said...

Freaky, I guess not the book for me then, and I am glad for that, my TBR pile is slowing taking over anyway, lol

Kimmie, Nola said...

I saw the Cirque movie. Not my favorite. I expected so much more. Idk why. But...lime you, I would have read that first and said....well CRAPTASTIC!!!!!!


Vivien said...

This is an interesting review. I just don't think this book is my cup of tea.

Anonymous said...

this looks like an interesting book. I like your review. I saw this book at my library and contemplated getting it. I'm glad you liked it.

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