Darren Shan is the author of the New York Times bestselling Cirque Du Freak series. He was born in London but at an early age he moved to Limerick, Ireland, with his parents and younger brother. He grew up watching old Dracula horror movies and reading spooky comics, which were the inspiration for his books. Darren is currently working on the second book in the Demonata series, Demon Thief, coming spring 2006.
Gr 7 Up-When sneaky teenaged Grubbs Grady finds himself mysteriously dumped on his aunt's doorstep, he can't help but steal back home to figure out what's going on. Unfortunately, when he arrives, his parents and sister have been horrifically killed in true Shan form: their bodies ripped to shreds by an evil demon named Lord Loss and his vile henchmen. Grubbs somehow manages to escape the fiends and goes to live with his Uncle Dervish, a peculiar dandy who lives in a creepy country mansion whose secrets may hold the key to the murders. Chock-full of family curses, werewolf lore, and stomach-turning gore, Lord Loss is exactly the kind of horror that "Cirque Du Freak" (Little, Brown) fans will love. Characterizations may take a backseat to fast pacing, but this first installment in a new series is still guaranteed to gross out anyone aged 12 to 20.-Hillias J. Martin, New York Public Library Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
The author of the popular Cirque du Freak books launches another no less gruesome series with this first installment in the Demonata books. Readers meet teen narrator Grubitsch Grady ("Grubbs") in a bad spot-he's in the principal's office, caught smoking cigarettes-but things are about to get far worse. Grubbs seeks revenge against the informant, his sister, Gretelda, by smearing her bath towels with rat guts. He feels guilty about this when, just a few pages later, Gretelda, Mom and Dad are killed in appalling fashion by Lord Loss, a "demon master," and his grotesque familiars-Vein and Artery. Grubbs is sole witness to his family's execution and his narrow escape, by means he doesn't quite understand himself, nearly drives him mad. He goes to live with insensitive Uncle Dervish, who regales his newly orphaned nephew with stories about the "long and bloody history" of the house that Grubbs will now call home. Written mainly in sentence fragments with an excess of exclamation points, the narrative is a mish-mash of occult motifs. Halfway through the story, werewolves make an appearance. It's tough to take any of this seriously: the cartoonish villain stages high-stakes showdowns that mix slasher flick-style battles with chess matches. The author introduces threads about rare books and a missing treasure, then drops them, presumably to pick them up in the following volume, due out next year. Ages 15-up. (Oct.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.