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Palace of the Damned (The Saga of Larten Crepsley) Hardcover – October 3, 2011
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About the Author
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Shan went to primary school in Askeaton, where his mother was a teacher, then to secondary school in Copsewood College in Pallaskenry. Later, he went back to London to study Sociology and English at Roehampton University. He then worked for a cable television company in Limerick for a couple of years, before setting up as a full-time writer at the age of 23.
Although Shan always wanted to be a writer, it was only in his teenage years that he began writing in his spare time for fun (before that, he only wrote stories if they were for homework). He bought his first typewriter when he was 14, and never looked back, knocking out loads of short stories and comic scripts, and making false starts on several books, which he never completed. He enjoyed his first taste of literary success at age 15, as a runner-up in a television script-writing competition for RTE in Ireland, with a dark comedy script titled A Day in the Morgue (he was morbid even then!).
Shan was 17 when he finished his first novel. Although it was never published, he relished the writing experience, and found himself focusing more on novels in the coming years, leaving behind the short-story format. For the next several years, sandwiched between university and work, he wrote an average of one book a year, experimenting with different ideas, genres, lengths and styles. When he started writing full-time, his output shot up to 5 to 6 books per year! But that has dropped back to 2 to 3 recently, due to all the travelling around he's been doing to promote sales of his books.
All of these early books were adult-oriented. Although Shan quite liked the idea of writing a children's book one day, he considered himself an adult writer first and foremost. In fact, Shan's initial breakthrough was with an adult book, in 1999, titled Ayuamarca (since re-released in the UK as Procession Of The Dead, and coming to the USA in 2010).
In January 2000, his first children's book, Cirque du Freak, which he'd written as a fun side-project, was published. The first book in a series titled The Saga of Darren Shan (or Cirque du Freak, as it's known in America), it attracted rave reviews and an ever-growing army of fans hungry to learn more about vampires which were quite unlike any that anyone had ever seen before!
Shan loved writing for children so much, that for the next several years he focused exclusively on his books for younger readers. First, he wrote a total of 12 books about vampires. He quickly followed up his vampiric saga with The Demonata, a series about demons. Running to ten books in total, The Demonata cemented Shan's place in the UK as the Master Of Children's Horror, and saw him score his first UK #1 bestseller. He also wrote a one-off short book, called Koyasan, for Wold Book Day in the UK.
There was a very successful manga adaptation of Shan's vampire series, drawn by the Japanese artist, Takahiro Arai. It was originally serialized in Japan, but collected volumes are now on sale in the USA, UK and other countries.
In addition to writing for children, Shan has now returned to his first love and is once again writing for adults as well. He has had two adult books published in the UK, Procession Of The Dead and Hell's Horizon. They have been released in a number of other countries too, and are due to hit the USA in 2010. A third, City of the Snakes, goes on sale in the UK in March 2010. His first adult books were released under the name of D B Shan, but they are being reprinted under the name of Darren Shan in March 2010, and City of the Snakes will be released under the Darren Shan name.
By the start of 2010, Shan's books were on sale in every continent, in 39 countries, in 31 languages, and have been children's bestsellers in America, Britain, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and other countries. The books have topped adult bestseller charts in Hungary, Japan and Taiwan. In total, Shan's books have sold close to 15 million copies worldwide!!!!
The movie rights to Cirque Du Freak were bought by Universal, and the first movie (which combines elements from the first three books in the series) was released on October 23rd, 2009, starring newcomer Chris Massoglia as Darren Shan, along with a wide array of established stars such as Josh Hutcherson, John C Reilly, Salma Hayek, Willem Defoe and Ken Watanabe. The movie was called Cirque Du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant. It was released on DVD and Blu-Ray in February 2010.
A big film buff, with a collection of more than four thousand movies at home, Shan also reads lots of comics and books, and likes to study and collect original artwork, especially comic art and impressionist and post-impressionist art. He has recently started adding sculptures to his collection, making use of the large, empty field outside his back door. Other interests include long walks, watching football (he's a Tottenham Hotspur and Ireland fan), listening to pop and rock music, theatre, worldwide travel, sampling the delights of both gourmet cuisine and finger-licking junk food, and dreaming up new ways to terrify his readers!!!
Shan spends most of his time in Limerick, Ireland, with his girlfriend Bas. He has no pets, but a neighbourhood dog called Goldie joins him on his walks most days. He also feeds a variety of wild birds, and spots the occasional hare and pheasant strolling through his back yard. In addition to his main home in Ireland, Shan has an apartment in London, to which he escapes for a burst of high-speed living every so often, when he feels the need to get his juices flowing!! Shan rarely writes when in London or on the road, preferring to tie himself to his computer when at home in Limerick, where he can work away solidly without any distractions in the peace and quiet of the Irish countryside.
Top Customer Reviews
Love makes many changes in Larten's life. He is no longer known as Larten Crepsley, but as Vur Horston. He is living in Paris, in the early 1900s, the Paris of Bram Stoker and his famous novel DRACULA. The beautiful Alicia Dunyck isn't aware of his previous life because the past he reveals to her is fabricated. How can he tell her he's a vampire? The relationship with Alicia is cemented once she meets the little orphan Gavner Purl, who, according to Larten, is his ward. Though Larten has watched after the child, he is also responsible for the deaths of the boy's parents and everyone on that ship in Greenland (that is yet another story). So he has carefully avoided any emotional ties to the child.
Alicia bubbles over with motherly love, and a stronger bond is formed among the three. This is all very nice except for the fact that Larten has lied about his past and feels tremendous remorse over murdering Gavner's parents and all the ship's occupants. Things still manage to go very well, and in an emotional moment, he actually asks Alicia to be his bride. For the reader, it's plain to see that something very wrong is going to happen, and it does.
One night, at an art exhibition, Larten encounters another vampire.Read more ›
Tired of the vampiric life, Larten no longer has the thirst for he hunt and hides out in Paris as a human. It is there where he finds love - and maybe even some happiness.
But how long can Larten really hide out as a human before his inner darkness and he's forced to return to the dark, to his clan. And will he be safe anywhere or will his enemies find him?
One thing's for sure, one way or another, Larten's path is sure to be perilous and lead to deaths.
Palace of the Damned is great, it brings out more of Larten's humanity while also contrasting that with just how not human he is. After the first book introduced us to Larten's true human life and his beginnings as a assistant and the second brought in more of the vampire politics, it's great to see a different side to Larten.
As someone who's reading this prequel series before reading Circque du Freak, I know that I am missing some of what readers of that series will get out of this series. The characters that are in this series, I'm sure will pop up in the latter series (at least some of them) and whether you read that first or this first, it'll be great to know their back stories as well.
It didn't feel like there was as much action in this installment as in the others, but it definitely brought a necessary bit of Larten's life to light.Read more ›
How I Acquired the Book: Borrowed from my town's library.
The Review: The Saga of Larten Crepsley is one of those series that will never become a classic. I'm not saying this in a bad way; I'm simply saying that these are the kinds of books that you read once because the plot is good, but the writing is mediocre. These are the kind of books that people only buy when it comes out, because they can't stand to wait for it at the library, then put it on the shelf as a dust collector, never to be touched or seen again.
But for the 200 pages or so the book lasts, it is a decent read. Darren Shan gives his readers exactly what he knows they want: blood, gore, and action. However, there's a little less action in this one than previous books in the series, and a bit more filler. Be cautioned that this series is also low on character development, though the main character, Larten Crepsley, is developed slightly. As I said before, the writing is mediocre--nothing special. It's something that your average literate Joe could write, with simple vocabulary and sentence structure.
However, I do see a possible way this book can be special, and that's hooking young boys onto reading. Parents could give this book to their reluctant reader child, and they'll be hooked! Do be warned, though, that there is some foul language, and of course, blood.
The last book in the series, Brothers to the Death, will not be high on my to-read list, but I'll pick it up if it comes my way. These books are not exactly my type of thing, but they still are a pleasurable diversion from the hectic pace of life.
-reviewed by a teenager.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Meant to put 5 stars ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok ok havenPublished 9 months ago by Zachary Moses
Not alot of excitement to speak of in this book. It was also a bit too mushy for me. Still a nice story, just not what I am used to in this series.Published 21 months ago by 224perweek