Sons of Destiny: Disappointing finale

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsSons of Destiny by Darren Shan children's horror book reviewsSons of Destiny by Darren Shan

Sons of Destiny is the twelfth and final (finally!) book in Darren Shan’s CIRQUE DU FREAK horror series for children. If you haven’t read the previous volumes, but you intend to, you have no business being here. Go away. If you have read them, you probably don’t care at all what I think about Sons of Destiny. It’s not like you’re NOT going to read it, right? But, since I’ve reviewed all the novels so far, I’ll talk about this one a bit, just for a sense of closure.

We know what needs to happen in this final volume: Darren must kill Steve, his former best friend but current archnemesis. One of them must die. The other will become the dreaded Lord of the Shadows who will bring chaos to the world and destroy it. Why must it be this way? Because that’s what Mr. Des Tiny (get it?) says.

At first, the plot begins to fall out like anyone would expect it to. The main characters gather for a final battle between Darren and Steve and it looks like one of them will triumph. Darren has a chance to kill Steve when Steve’s back is turned, but he doesn’t because that would be dishonorable. (Apparently, it’s better ethics to let the mad homicidal tyrant who will destroy the world have a chance to kill you before you kill him.) There’s a lot of gruesome fighting while Mr. Tiny claps. (His villainy is really over-the-top in this final novel and it’s emphasized by Ralph Lister’s over-exuberant narration in Blackstone Audio’s recent version.)

As I’ve mentioned before, the Destiny thing, which has become more contrived and nonsensical with each book, has been the series’ downfall, in my opinion. (But clearly, based on the popularity of this series, my opinion is the minority one.) All the Destiny and Fate gets even more bizarre in Sons of Destiny. The rules keep changing and the plot gets sillier and sillier as Mr. Tiny and his daughter reveal more information to Darren and Steve. It doesn’t seem fair to the reader. It also doesn’t make sense. For example, we learn that Mr. Tiny can go back to the past to change events he doesn’t like. If that’s the case, then there are many times when he seemed to forget he had this power.

At the end author Darren Shan throws in a big weird plot twist and completely turns the story around in a way that I didn’t expect (and I doubt most others will either). This big weird twist will seem clever to many fans, but will infuriate others. Obviously, I can’t tell you what it is. But it doesn’t really matter because like I said above, we all know that anyone who’s read up to book 11 isn’t going to stop there and, even though I didn’t like Sons of Destiny, I wouldn’t suggest that you stop either— you need closure, too. Just be aware that Sons of Destiny has a lot more Destiny and a lot less exciting plot than the previous CIRQUE DU FREAK books. I thought it was disappointing, but I hope you like it better.


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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches and conducts brain research at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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