Friday 11 May 2012

Attention Grabber: Cirque Du Freak by Darren Shan

Attention Grabber is my sort-of-weekly feature where I post what I think is a great opening paragraph to a book, the sort of opening that pulls young readers in and hooks them from the start.

As I posted my review of Brothers To The Death by Darren Shan on Monday, this week I thought my attention grabber should be from the books that started it all, Cirque Du Freak. By this I mean much more than it being the start of the hugely popular The Saga of Darren Shan - it is the book that in my opinion opened the door for the majority of the brilliant children's and YA horror books that have been released since. With so many great horror books available these days it is hard to believe that before Darren Shan's vampire saga there was little blood splatter or gore in books for young readers.

The opening chapter to Cirque Du Freak is a little different from most books as it serves as an introduction to the author, and his claim that what follows is a true story.  However, before we get to that claim we are treated to a stomach-churning passage about spiders:

"I've always been fascinated by spiders. I used to collect them when I was younger. I'd spend hours rooting through the dusty old shed at the bottom of our garden, hunting the cobwebs for lurking eight-legged predators. When I found one, I'd bring it in and let it loose in my bedroom.

It used to drive my mum mad!

Usually, the spider would slip away after no more than a day or two, never to be seen again, but sometimes they hung around longer. I had one who made a cobweb above my bed and stood sentry for almost a month. Going to sleep, I used to imagine the spider creeping down, crawling into my mouth, sliding down my throat and laying loads of eggs in my belly. The baby spiders would hatch after a while and eat me alive, from the inside out."

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