Thursday, May 17, 2012

Brothers to the Death ~ Darren Shan review

Brothers to the Death (Larten Crepsley #4)
Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
May 15, 2012
272 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or on Amazon

* My reviews of Birth of a Killer (#1), Ocean of Blood (#2), and Palace of the Damned (#3) - this review may contain spoilers for some of those *

 Just when Larten is finally ready to make his way back to Vampire Mountain and his vampire kin, he's pulled into a very human conflict. The Nazis are coming to power and while the vampires have made it their way not to interfere with human struggles, the Nazis have made their own efforts to pull the vampire in, though, so they can't completely turn a blind eye.

The impending human war is not the only one to worry about. The vampires and vampaneze conflict still has not gone away. Some are even back to calling for all out war. Both wars will take their toll on Larten and those closest to him as he finishes his journey towards becoming the vampire from Cirque Du Freak series.

Brothers to the Death pulls in a almost all of the characters (vampire as well as a few human) who were involved in the three previous books of this series. It's great to see how they've all progressed and how they're relationships all weave together - sometimes causing conflict.

This last book, more so than the others, involves current events - from World War II era and both before and after - to help shape Larten and tell his tale.

The story covers a long time period - about a century - while focusing on a pretty contained set of events and their aftermath - so readers get a great sense of how those things affect Larten and how he both deals with them and grows from them without the story getting too bogged down in the day to day (or even week to week or month to month) which wouldn't fit with the character.

We've seen Larten as a young, impoverished boy working with silk worms in a factory, we saw him as the young Cub vampire finding his way - drinking and making a general ruckus - we saw him find love and now we see it all come full circle, really. Whether readers have read the Cirque Du Freak series or not, this is a great either introduction to or expansion on the Larten Crepsley character. You really have a great sense of not only who he is but why he is that way and how he got that way, where he's come from after reading this prequel series.

This series works well as a standalone but likely much, much better as a supplement to the original or a brilliant introduction for new readers who have yet to start that series.

Rating: 8/10

Thank you to LBYR for my copy of this book for review :)

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