Cels Reviews: Darren Shan's - "Ocean of Blood" and "Birth of a Killer"


Larten Crepsley has never had an easy life. His family is dirt poor and like the rest of his siblings, he’s been sent out to work for the cruel and vicious supervisor, Traz, since he was only eight. When his cousin Vur is murdered at Traz’s hands, Larten retaliates and suddenly finds he too is a killer and on the run from the hangman’s noose. All alone and not knowing where to turn next, Larten encounters the mysterious Seba Nile who introduces him to the ways of the vampire clan. But Larten will have to turn his back on his humanity in order to belong- and there is no going back. This is the blood-soaked tale of the vampire who changed the world from the very beginning.

If you have never entered the wonderful world of Darren Shan before, well you are in for a treat, even if at times it is a quite disturbing one. If you have enjoyed the magic and mayhem of this unique breed of vampire before, welcome back. The thrills are bigger and better and this in-depth look into Larten’s world is sure to excite. His world building is superb and the plot will sweep you away from the very start.

Shan’s amazing gift of imagery is reminiscent of Stephen King. It holds that same magic that not only snares you firmly in the world and its horrors and delights as you read, but entwines itself so deftly in your subconscious it stays with you long after you leave the page. Here we are gifted with a breed of vampire that breaks away from the preconceived notions of modern vampire tales and are reminiscent of ancient warriors. Their society feels primitive and yet at the same time timeless.

Parts of the tale are quite dark and confronting and the 19th century setting can be unsettling. Here we are firmly planted in a time of bleak prospects for the poor, child labour, short life expectancy and the heyday of the freak show. I found myself somewhat haunted by some of the scenes yet not in an overly nightmarish way. You will find yourself very thankful for the life and time you live in though. The two instalments flow from one to the other and you’ll be swept up into the action right from start to finish with both books. I highly recommend reading them in order to truly immerse yourself in the amazing tale. Larten’s tale is darkly poignant and even if you know where his tale ends, this prequel is more than worth a read. Now the agonising wait for the next instalment.

Birth of a Killer                                             Ocean of Blood

Harper Collins                                               Harper Collins

253 Pages                                                      198 Pages

ISBN:978-0-7322-9110-5                            ISBN:978-0-7322-9111-2


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