Review: Ocean of Blood by Darren Shan
Published April 28th 2011 by Little, Brown Books for Young Reader
I’ve been an almost life-long fan of Darren Shan’s books. The first time I read The Vampire’s Assistant I was around eight. After that first encounter with the wonderful world of vampires that would live for centuries but were more like warriors than the aristocrats most books make them out to be, I was smitten with his writing.
But it seems like Ocean of Blood was a bit of a miss for me. Usually when I write a review the second paragraph is filled with the basic plot premises. This time, I’m having trouble thinking anything up besides: Larten is sad. Because that’s pretty much what this book is about, Larten being sad and mopy and restless. He runs around doing stuff, but almost everything is told, not shown.
That’s where it all went wrong with this story. There is no connection made with Larten. Firstly because in opposition to the Cirque Du Freak books, The Saga of Larten Crepsley is written in third person. I miss the intimacy of actually feeling like him, being in his head. There is an omniscient narrator here, that just floats in and out of people’s heads, but never sticks around long enough to actually make us connect with the characters. Secondly there is no action. There are no happenings that grip you or keep you engaged. Most of the exciting stuff is told as an afterthought, like Larten’s trials he must conquer to being a real vampire. The vampire party goes by in a blur. About seventy percent of the book is told, not shown.
That leaves the last quarter of the book being a place where actually something happens – and this is the part that got Ocean of Blood a three-star rating instead of a lower one. When the action finally kicks in, it really kicks in. All of a sudden the horror master I came to love is back in full force. The ending of Ocean of Blood makes me very curious to the third book in The Saga of Larten Crepsley, because that one does seem like a lovely action-packed book.
I would only recommend this to people who have read all of the Cirque Du Freak books. Especially this instalment will make near to no sense to you if you’re not already familiar with the world. Unless you’re a hardcore Larten fan, I’d just skip this part (or just read the ending) and continue with the third one, as nothing of note happens in Ocean of Blood.
Before Larten Crepsley was a vampire general…
Before he was Darren Shan’s master…
Before the War of Scars…
Larten Crepsley was a teenager. And he was sick of the pomp and circumstance of fusty old vampires telling him what to do. Taking off on his own with his blood brother, Wester, Larten takes off into the world to see what his newly blooded vampire status can get him in the human world. Sucking all he can out of humanity, Larten stumbles into a violent, hedonistic lifestyle, where cheats beckon, power corrupts, and enemies are waiting.
This is his story.
- Review: Birth of a Killer by Darren Shan (4/5 Stars)
- Review: Demon Apocalypse by Darren Shan (4/5 Stars)
- Review: Alienation by Jon S. Lewis (4/5 Stars)
- Review: Ashfall by Mike Mullin (4/5 Stars)