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Birth of a Killer by Darren Shan

title: Birth of a Killer
written by: Darren Shan
series: The saga of Larten Crepsley #1
genre: young adult, historical, fantasy
page count: 261
publication date: October 5th, 2010
my rating: 3/5 stars

Before Cirque Du Freak...
Before the war with the vampaneze...
Before he was a vampire.
Larten Crepsley was a boy.
As a child laborer many centuries ago, Larten Crepsley did his job well and without complaint, until the day the foreman killed his brother as an example to the other children.
In that moment, young Larten flies into a rage that the foreman wouldn't survive. Forced on the run, he sleeps in crypts and eats cobwebs to get by. And when a vampire named Seba offers him protection and training as a vampire's assistant, Larten takes it.
This is his story. 

Before reading this book, I read the entire 'saga of Darren Shan'. This series is a prequel to that series. I liked the saga of Darren Shan, but it wasn't one of my favorite series of all time. Still, I read all 12 (!) books, and I enjoyed them. Then I found out about this prequel series, that spotlighted Larten Crepsley, a character that has always fascinated me, and I just had to read it. So I did. And I liked it :)

As the story begins, Larten is just a normal poor factory worker in the 18th century (not sure about the exact time). He doesn't know anything about vampires, or his own future, while I, as a reader, did. That's what I enjoy most about prequel series, I sort of know what's going to happen. I like to 'predict the future' in books.

What I also liked about this series was that I already knew a lot about the main character before I opened the book. This way it was easier for me to 'jump into' the story, as I did not have to get to know all new characters. I also really liked to see back some of the characters that always fascinated me in the saga of Darran Shan. Some background information is always welcome :)

The plot of this book wasn't very surprising. My brains weren't overprocessing information, neither were they doing nothing. It was historical fiction, which I usually enjoy, although I tend to prefer contemporary fiction or dystopia. As the story proceeded, it was easy to predict exactely what was going to happen, which of course also was because the book was a prequel. Altogether this book wasn't the best of Darren Shan's works, but it definitely wasn't the best of them!

Shan's writing style is very easy and uncomplicated. I can read it 100 pages/hour in English, which is very quick for me. And since I read this book in Dutch, I finished it in under 2 hours. (Dutch is easier to read for me). But I am not sure if I like books to be such quick reads. Fat books sometimes scare me, so I tend to read thinner books, but not this thin... Anyways, this is a novel that hovers in between middle grade and young adult, in my opinion. Just like the first 3 Harry Potter books. It didn't bother me though.
I would recommend this books to people who have already read the saga of Darren Shan, or to anyone who is doubting whether or not to start reading it. Also, I would recommend this book to children aged 8-12 who are looking for a quick read full of action. I give this book 3 stars!


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