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Sunday, 17 May 2015

Trials of Death by Darren Shan (Saga of Darren Shan, #5) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

If I pass I'll be accepted into the clan.
Failure isn't an option...


Edition: Paperback
Pages: 167
Chapters: 21 (Plus a prologue.)
Publisher: HarperCollins

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Amazon
                      Author's Website

Review

Hell! YES!

That was awesome; Trials of Death, is awesome! As I progress, each new entry pushes its predecessor out of the way to become my favourite. Spine-tingling action balanced with a fantastic plot and a cast of characters who are unique and utterly encapsulating. Trials of Death does a helluva lot: a stellar story which pushes forward an overarching plot; cast development that deepens the depth of already nicely fleshed characters; and an ending that has you blinking with emotional whiplash. 

SPOILER WARNING

Synopsis (Not a copy from the book, but I always keep my interpretations close.)

Darren Shan faced the Vampire Council, and they made it clear they were not happy with Mr Crepsley's decision to turn him.
Now he must face the Trials of Initiation.
To prove he's worthy, and to save his maker's reputation.
But even a full-vampire struggles with the Trials, and they have years to prepare.
And if he fails, Darren will die...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

This entry doesn't even need a blurb. If you're coming straight from Vampire Mountain, then there's anticipation galore. Even so, the Trials we know Darren will have to endure, ramp up the intrigue exponentially. Knowing Shan's other works, they'll be inventive, heart-pounding and great vehicles to drive forward character development.

And they don't fail the reader. 

The Trials are a major highlight. Your nerves are shot, you're exhausted just reading through them. But even though they are a massive part of the book, another plot is catching fire.

I completely forgot to mention Harkat's message to the vampires in my last review. Probably because I was just so much in love with the little guy, but what he had to say in Vampire Mountain teases a huge plot; a huge plot that's expanded upon in Trials of Death: The Vampaneze Lord will rise and decimate the vampires, so they're obviously uneasy. 

And the twist and ending!

I had a funny feeling about Kurda. I didn't quite expect that, but wow. The author definitely knows how to sneak up behind you.

Pace - 5/5 Stars

Pace = Perfection.

Coupling Darren's Trials with an impending vampaneze attack is genius. The way everything is structured is fantastic. I rocketed through the book without pause. Just like our main character, there's no real time to catch your breath before you're thrown into yet another dangerous situation. There are short, welcome interludes that help keep everything well-structured, so the action never overwhelms the reader.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

I was worried, what with the rapid pace, that character progression wouldn't be focused on, but that's the farthest you can get from the truth. The Trials and their effects, on Darren and the rest of cast, create some juicy development.

Darren himself is the underdog, and we all love an underdog. He's been blooded almost against his will and he's ignorant of a lot of what being a vampire entails, yet, he's still the one who has to prove his worth. It's unfair, but instead of complaint, Darren bravely rises to the challenge. It also shows the reader just how close he and Mr Crepsley have become. Instead of blame, Darren appreciates everything Larten has done for him, and the father-son bond they share is only strengthened.

I loved it.

The other characters do a fine job, and their helplessness while Darren is battling for his life is heartbreaking.

But the thing I appreciate the most, is Darren's defeat.

What!?

Yeah, before you hunt me down, hear me out.

The things Darren overcomes are awesome; his successes are sweet, absolutely fantastic, but, if he'd bested every Trial, when even full-vampires struggle, it would have been too fantastical. His failure gives the story a weightier feel, more realistic; Darren's talented and strong, but he's not invincible.

Writing - 4.5/5 Stars

Trials of Death, in terms of writing, is much the same as what I had to say for its predecessor.

It's more mature, darker.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

A brilliant instalment to the series.

The Vampire Prince will have to up its game if it's in for the hope of beating Trials of Death.


Previous Instalment: Vampire Mountain
Next Instalment: The Vampire Prince


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