Thursday, 15 October 2015

Birth of a Killer by Darren Shan (Saga of Larten Crepsley, #1) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

The first kill is the hardest...

Edition: Paperback
Pages: 253
Chapters: 24
Publisher: HarperCollins

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


The Saga of Larten Crepsley: A prequel to the fantastic Saga of Darren Shan that focuses on the origins of the formerly mentioned beloved character...


Birth of a Killer is a great coming-of-age story with fascinating vampire mythology (that rocks real myths with dashes of the author's imagination), character growth that is strong and engaging, and it's all wrapped up in a nice little nostalgic bow (if you've read the parent saga first).

And even if you haven't come from Shan's first series set in this world, the story is self-contained enough that you can definitely start here. 

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

It's a few years after the dawn of the nineteenth century and Larten Crepsley's life is about to change.
He's young, naive and under a tremendous amount of pressure for a child.
When a culmination of events splinter him from his family and ensure he can never return home, Larten races into the night.
Befriended by the kindly Seba Nile, the boy is offered a choice.
He can remain as he is, or join the world of vampires.
But in doing so, he'll leave behind his humanity forever...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

Birth of a Killer follows several different stages of young Mr Crepsley's life: From his tough, demanding childhood, his early years as a vampire's assistant, to the daunting prospect of what to do with his future. The heartbreaking start leads into a mouth-watering adventure of a formative creature of the night hounded by destiny. We have action, exposition and a world of wonders.

Yeah, I'm excited. 

Shan's hooking narrative grabs your interest from the start, and if you have read The Saga of Darren Shan (as I have before this series) then the nostalgia factor fills you with the warm and fuzzy feeling of returning to something you love. Old friends, familiar places... Ahhhh, it's good to be back.

But, as I said, if you haven't started either series, you can't really go wrong with what one you dive into first (although the heightened experience I had with this book thanks to having a little background information is hard to pass up).

And when we reach the concluding scene... Holy crap on a cracker of awesomeness!

Pace - 5/5 Stars

It's Darren Shan we're talking about (the author, not the character of the same name). Think you'll put this book down?


Characters - 5/5 Stars

One of the bigger pros of The Saga of Larten Crepsley is of course the man himself, or boy, in this book's case. He's a loved and cherished cast member that carries his own story with no problem. Larten is, however, not exactly who we know him to be. He's young and reckless; idealistic and new to the wider world. In a way, he's much like his future protegee, Darren Shan. 

While Larten is more weathered at the start of his journey, thanks to the time period he's a part of, the parallels between the two are another reason to love this story. It reinforces Larten's forthcoming experience and father-son bond in the parent series. Everything connects.

Seba Nile and Wester, Crepsley's companions on this journey, are equally enthralling. I've missed Seba, and Shan gets him perfect; Wester is a great addition, helping give the troupe that much more full and family feel. He's much like Evra in Tunnels of Blood of The Saga of Darren Shan. But his past opens up interesting possibilities for the future.

Writing - 5/5 Stars

While this series is targeted at Shan's younger fans, and the writing is simple, professional and to the point, there's a wealth of elements that will appease older fans. The author crafts a story that young and old can enjoy.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

I'm ready for more, are you?

Next Instalment: Ocean of Blood

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