It’s October, which means spooktacular fun here at the Information Store! We’re celebrating our favourite holiday with Hallowe’en posts all the way through October. Today we’re featuring influential YA horror author Darren Shan.
Five years before the release of Twilight catapulted vampire fiction back into the spotlight in 2005, Darren Shan was publishing his own series about sympathetic vampires that would draw young adult readers into a world of horror, mystery and danger. Since then, he has played a huge part in proving that children’s horror fiction can sell, leading the way for other writers like Derek Landy, Chris Priestley and Ransom Riggs.
His first series, ‘The Darren Shan Saga’, stars a teenager also called Darren Shan who becomes a half-vampire, the assistant to a full vampire called Larten Crepsley, and is drawn into a world of monstrous politics and traditions, while trying to avoid his old best friend, who will do anything to become a vampire himself. Slowly, Shan starts to realise that this world is a lot more dangerous than he imagined, but his friendship with Crepsley is what keeps him going. This series is less gory than Shan’s other books, but if you don’t like spiders, you might find the first book a bit scary!
After the success of ‘The Darren Shan Saga’, Shan released a book called Koyasan for World Book Day, the spooky story of a young girl in Japan called Koyasan who has to venture into a haunted graveyard when her little sister’s soul is stolen by the spirits there.
Shan’s most famous series is ‘The Demonata’, starring Grubbs Grady, the child of two parents obsessed with playing chess. Grubbs has been brought up as a chess master, memorising moves and playing near constantly. He thought it was just that his parents loved the game and expected him to as well, but when they and his sister are killed by demons, he realises they were playing for much more than fun. The traumatised Grubbs is sent to live with his eccentric uncle in the country and learns that it is his duty to beat a terrifying demon lord called Lord Loss at five simultaneous games of chess. The series follows the adventures of Grubbs and other teenagers who become tangled in the world of Lord Loss and the demons, moving the actions to move sets, ancient Ireland, and hell itself. ‘The Demonata’ is quite a lot more violent and frightening than ‘The Saga of Darren Shan’, so is recommended for more mature readers.
Check out Darren Shan’s website for more information on his writing.
We have ‘The Saga of Darren Shan’ (first book: Cirque du Freak), as well as manga adaptations of several of the books and audiobook versions in Quick Reads, and the film adaptation of the first three books in the series, Cirque du Freak: The Vampire’s Assistant, in the DVD Lobby at 791.43. You can also find Koyasan and ‘The Demonata’ (first book: Lord Loss) in Quick Reads at 823.91.
Surrey County Council (2011) Darren Shan with swedish fans. [photograph] Available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/surreycountycouncil/5489302242/in/set-72157626118459548/ (Accessed: 06 October 2016)