Friday, 15 May 2015

Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan (Saga of Darren Shan, #4) - Book Review

5/5 Stars

Already we've found that
we're not the only creatures of the night
on this cold, blood-drenched path...


Edition: Paperback
Pages: 162
Chapters: 20 (Plus a prologue.)
Publisher: HarperCollins

Book Links: Goodreads
                      Author's Website


I should not have made the mistake of choosing a favourite, like I did with Tunnels of Blood, especially since I was only 3 books into the series. I also should have known that the series would only get better, as it has. Vampire Mountain is superb. A perfect blend of story development, character development and a definite darkening of tone. The first three entries read like children's fiction, as they are, but with Vampire Mountain I feel like that 'sound' is maturing along with everything else. 

It gives me another reason - like I needed any - to repeat to adults who might be hesitant to start the series, to start it.

In fact, everyone, read The Saga of Darren Shan!

Oh, and The Demonata series.

...maybe just read everything by the author...

SPOILER WARNING - At least for previous instalments, with some minor ones for this entry.

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

One morning, it's life as usual for Darren Shan: Half-vampire.
The next, Mr Crepsley informs him they'll be leaving for Vampire Mountain promptly.
Shocked and intrigued, Darren packs.
Every so often the vampires hold Council.
And Darren must be presented to the vampire Princes.
Only the road is harsh.
And the creatures on that road may prove to be harsher...

Plot - 5/5 Stars

The Saga of Darren Shan's blurbs always get you in the mood for the books' contents, and Vampire Mountain is no different. Instantly, it offers a compelling adventure, trials for our beloved cast and a much more concentrated look on vampires. It doesn't disappoint. The book is full of the encapsulating history of Shan's vampires: Politics, hierarchy, traditions, everything you want to know. It's fascinating. 

We also get a little more history on the Little People, which caught me by surprise, but is a fantastic revelation. Harkat, aka 'Lefty', climbs the ranks to be a heavy favourite of mine.

I am quite surprised by the jump forward in time. Four books in and eight years have passed, six of which occurred after the events in Tunnels of Blood. It's interesting to see how this affects both Darren and the world around him. Time and age are focused on within Vampire Mountain, especially since Darren has barely aged.

The journey to Vampire Mountain is filled with mystery, excitement and cute-as-hell wolves. 

Pace - 5/5 Stars

The pace, as usual, is great. There's a lull in the beginning, with the journey being more reflective than action-packed, but the anticipation of where our characters are heading makes up for it.

The action then kicks in, and it's as pulse-pounding as ever, thankfully breaking up the juicy exposition.

Plus, you're going to love Darren's fight with Arra. My favourite part of this entry.

Characters - 5/5 Stars

The cast, as is becoming pretty standard, is diverse and fascinating. I was initially worried, what with Darren and Mr Crepsley leaving the Cirque and not bringing anyone with them (apart from Lefty and another Little Person), but a lot of new, brilliant characters are introduced. 

Darren himself, sounds older, despite his outward appearance of perpetual youth. He's smarter, stronger and more resilient, and he continues to grow. He even ditches the pirate outfit - grudgingly - for other attire, more dark and adult-like attire.

And Mr Crepsley is a joy to read. Once at Vampire Mountain, he's an almost completely different character. Warmer and relaxed in the company of fellow vampires, both family and friends. 

No two characters are similar, and all are as captivating as the rest.

Writing - 4.5/5 Stars

The tone and general feel of the novel is darker. It's not glaring, and could possibly be my imagination, but the progression of the story, the characters and their voices, all show signs of maturing.

And like I said up top, this makes it even easier for the adults who found the earlier entries harder to read. Personally, the writing for me has been great. I've never had a problem with reading young adult books or adult books and switching between the two.

Overall - 5/5 Stars

Vampire Mountain kicks Tunnels of Blood off the top spot for me. It's a hooking adventure with some great action scenes, awesome characters and a darkening tone that alludes to something terrible on the horizon.

Plus, that cliffhanger-like ending will have you ravenous for more.

Previous Instalment: Tunnels of Blood
Next Instalment: Trials of Death

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