The Lake of Souls: A side-quest

fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsDarren Shan The Lake of Souls Children's fantasy book reviewsThe Lake of Souls by Darren Shan

In The Lake of Souls, the tenth book in Darren Shan’s CIRQUE DU FREAK series, we take a little breather after the horrid events at the end of the previous novel, Killers of the Dawn. Darren has just lost someone who’s really important to him and he’s grieving. So, when Mr. Tiny shows up and tells Harkat it’s time to find out who Harkat really is, Darren wants to go with him. They embark on a quest where they cross weird landscapes, meet weird people, and complete weird tasks. Some of it is like a scavenger hunt.

We do, indeed find out who Harkat is, and the answer will almost certainly surprise you. It shows that author Darren Shan has been careful with his plotting so far and it will be interesting to see what role Harkat plays in the future. The little guy is growing on me and I appreciate his developing sense of humor.

Personally, I don’t particularly care for the parts of the story that have to do with Mr. Tiny, the witch, and their prophecies, mainly because the characters lose their power over the story when the plot is driven by destiny. This destiny part is not the author’s best story-telling. The drama between Darren and Steve and the impending war is much more compelling.

The Lake of Souls is a departure from Darren’s frantically paced story so far. Some readers will be pleased to have a break, but others are likely to wish that this story advanced the plot as much as the previous books did. Fortunately, the next book, Lord of the Shadows, is available, so eager readers don’t have to wait to get back to the main story. If you’re loving this series, as so many youngsters are, there’s no reason to stop now.

The Lake of Souls is the longest book in the series so I felt like the audio version was actually a good deal this time (six hours of audio). Ralph Lister’s overly dramatic style is growing on me.


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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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