Wednesday 2 December 2015

Review Time! (Woo!) - Vampire Mountain by Darren Shan

Vampire Mountain book coverTitle: Vampire Mountain. (US Link.)

Author: Darren Shan.

Genre: Kids, Paranormal, Vampire.

A few starting notes:

This is #4 in The Saga of Darren Shan (US link) series - so my golden rule of sequel-reviewing applies: spoilers for previous books will be confined to the level of information found in this book's blurb.

The series is split into a number of trilogies. This is book #1 of the second trilogy (The Vampire Rites Trilogy (USA.))

This book can be read as standalone, should you wish, though it clearly leaves room for the book after it, and does make reference to the events of previous books.

This is a kids book - probably suitable for age 11+ - but obviously, age shouldn't be a barrier if the kid is mature and/or capable of reading to this level.

And, of course, this book is suitable for adults who refuse to be bound by the restrictions of age (like me!)


Darren Shan (the author's pen-name doubles as the name of our young protagonist,) a half-vampire child, must make the dangerous journey to Vampire Mountain (hence the name,) to be presented to the Vampire Princes by his mentor, Mr Crepsley.

Best bits:

The whole vampire society is clearly understood by the author - and that makes this world both believable and absorbing. Not least because of the names and histories of the vampires in this world (the names are great: Larten Crepsley, Gavner Purl... the kind of names that make a book otherworldly and rich in detail.)

The story is interesting - which is always a plus. This alone may be enough to tempt even a reluctant reader through the chapters (which are fairly quick and pacey.)

The dynamic between Darren and the world he now inhabits is well portrayed - with particular room for expansion in the relationship between Darren and Mr Crepsley.

I also like the female vampire Arra Sails, because she's pretty damned cool. And I love the challenges Darren faces as a slow-aging kid-vampire - it adds an extra dimension of feeling older than the world perceives you to be.

Not so great bits:

Some of this verges on the gory, and there is some violence, mentions of killing, etc. - which might upset younger and/or more sensitive readers.

What I object to, though, is the treatment of the old, the infirm, and the 'mad,' vampires - politically correct this is not; euthanasia is not a topic which should be treated in a manner that's quite this blasé, and almost cold. This isn't integral to the book as a whole - it's more of a side-detail - but it p**sed me off.


A pacey and enjoyable kids' book which is equally entertaining for the adult. A vivid world with a gothic edge, this might be useful to tempt the reluctant reader, or boys.

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