________________ CM . . . . Volume IX Number 19 . . . . May 23, 2003


Tunnels of Blood. (The Darren Shan Saga, Book 3).

Darren Shan.
Markham, ON: Scholastic Canada, 2003/2000.
215 pp., pbk., $8.99.
ISBN 0-439-97408-9.

Subject Headings:
Freak shows-Fiction.
Horror stories.

Grades 5 and up / Ages 10 and up.

Review by Ann Ketcheson.

**** /4


"I like your girlfriend, Darren Shan," it said with a giggle and I knew instantly who was down there. "A very tasty dish. Good enough to eat, wouldn't you say? Much tastier looking than your other friend. Much tastier than Evra."

It was Murlough the mad vampaneze!

Darren Shan continues the chilling saga of his life in the world of vampires. Darren has now left the Cirque du Freak behind as he, Mr. Crepsley and Evra head for the city.

     Darren is just settling in to enjoy his urban life as a half vampire, half human when he sees news reports that a murderer is on the loose. Several bodies have been found hidden in an old building, and all have been drained of blood. Mr. Crepsley disappears every night, unwilling to explain why. Darren and Evra decide to follow him and learn the truth, however horrible it may be!

     This adventure brings Darren into contact with Murlough, one of the hated vampaneze. Through him, Darren's courage and loyalty are tested to the limit, and some brilliant maneuvering is necessary for Darren to avoid torture and death.

     Again, Shan gives readers a cliffhanger of adventure and action. Darren has superhuman strength and ultra keen senses and needs to make use of all of these just to survive. Tunnels of Blood is an easy reading book which will appeal to many reluctant readers with its themes of vampires, murder and mayhem!

     Fortunately, Shan adds some depth to Darren's personality which makes this more than just an action adventure. The concepts of loyalty to one's friends and always being truthful are woven into the story. Darren is half vampire, but readers also see his human side, especially when he meets his girlfriend, Debbie.

     The novel is, therefore, a good mix of character and theme, although it remains essentially driven by plot. Shan has expanded the vampire world to include the vampaneze and Vampire Generals so the reader realizes there is plenty of potential here for many sequels in the Darren Shan saga.

     Author Darren Shan was born in 1972 in London, England and now lives in Limerick, Ireland.

Highly Recommended.

A former teacher of high school English and French, Ann Ketcheson is currently the teacher librarian at Peterborough Collegiate in Peterborough, ON.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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