Review of “Cirque du Freak (The Saga of Darren Shan)” Manga Omnibus Vol. 3

This is a jam-packed volume. This post is going to contain spoilers so if you don’t want to be spoiled, please refrain from reading until you have read the manga for yourself.

In this volume, we get introduced to the Trails of Initiation, where Darren has to go through different gruelling challenges to prove himself worthy of respect from other vampires and to clear Mr Crepsley’s name for blooding a child.

As this happens, a plot against the vampires is underway and Darren stumbles upon some vampaneze in the outer areas of the Vampire Mountain who have links with Kurda Smahlt, a Vampire Prince-to-be. Risking the death penalty, Darren goes back to warn the Vampire Princes of the betrayal. Kurda’s plans dissolve and the vampaneze are killed, which is not without some casualties for the vampires. The disgraced Prince-to-be is executed as he forewarns the rise of the Vampaneze Lord, who will bring about the end of the vampires.

Darren, having helped the vampires greatly in exposing the plot and suggesting a strategy to ambush the vampaneze, gets promoted directly to become a Vampire Prince and evades his death penalty for failing the Trails and trying to escape.

The volume ends on a high note with a brief victory for Darren, but surely there will be more challenges ahead.

In the vein of the previous volumes, the drawings are detailed and dynamic, making it a joy to look at. The panelling is on point, making the fighting scenes flow smoothly when reading. The different quarters of the Vampire Mountain are brought to life with Arai-Sensei’s attention to detail.

The story is told in a natural way, although some of it seems a bit rushed as there is a lot to pack into the limited pages that Arai-Sensei is allowed for each chapter.

This is a volume that sets the tone for future volumes and briefly introduces the main antagonist in the volumes to come, namely the Vampaneze Lord, who is actually someone we were introduced to in Vol. 1.

If my memory serves me right the story gets even better starting from here and I’m looking forward to getting Vol. 4 of the Omnibus in October.

Hope you liked my review and if you like you can leave me a comment to let me know what you think of the volume if you have read it. Thanks for reading!

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