Thursday, 24 March 2011

Death's Shadow, Darren Shan: More Rancid, Bubbling Flesh than a Kebab Shop

I don't fancy yours much.
Death's Shadow is the 7th book in Darren Shan's Demonata series. I didn't know this when I ordered it, I just thought, "People keep talking about how gory these kid's books are, I'd better check one out." so when I got it and noticed that it was the 7th, I thought I wouldn't understand what the hell was going on. But I read it anyway as I wanted to see if anyone gets peeled by a demon in it. There should be more demons peeling people in books.

Fortunately it seems that the series isn't weighed down by an over complicated back story. In fact it's basically a bunch of magical people fight demons, hoping to stop them destroying the world. In particular it is told from the viewpoint of a druidess, Bec,  who died in a cave yonks ago and has just recently (probably the last book if I'm any judge) inhabited the body of a boy who more recently died in the cave. She starts hanging around with the cool magical people and then stuff happens.

But Dazzler's (as his Essex mates call him, if he has any)  simple formula is effective when married with the skips of gore and violence he throws at the reader. Just 50 pages of back-story and exposition, then the werewolves turn up. From then on it's demons, zombies, werewolves...etc trying to eat as many eyes and thighs as they can. They really like going for the eyes.

The gore aside I found it a bit (woolly liberal mode on) worrying that the good guys spend a lot of time torturing demons trying to find out about their new and mysterious enemy. Fair enough you've been saving the world for the last few millennia this way but maybe if you changed tactics and tried to get the weaker, bullied demons on your side you could gain the final victory. Or maybe that is tried in one of the earlier books and didn't go well.

Anyway, ignoring my conscience, Death's Shadow is an enjoyable gory romp through a horde of demons and is so bloody you'll need to wrap yourself in plastic before opening it. You might want to read the first six first though.

You can get Death's Shadow for about £4. The Other books in the series are:

  1. Lord Loss
  2. Demon Thief
  3. Slawter
  4. Bec
  5. Blood Beast
  6. Demon Apocalypse
And  some others that come after Death's Shadow I guess. All can probably be found here.