Cirque du Freak
|Date(s):||4 January 2000 – 31 March 2004|
|Country of Origin:||Ireland|
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Cirque Du Freak (also known as The Saga of Darren Shan) is a young adult 12-part book series written by Darren Shan (pen name of Darren O'Shaughnessy) about the struggle of a boy who has become involved in the world of vampires. The books were published between January 2000 and March 2004 and quickly gained a following.
The Cirque du Freak series consists of 12 books, broken down into four trilogies:
- Vampire Blood
- Cirque du Freak
- The Vampire's Assistant
- Tunnels of Blood
- Vampire Rites
- Vampire Mountain
- Trials of Death
- The Vampire Prince
- Vampire War
- Hunters of the Dusk
- Allies of the Night
- Killers of the Dawn
- Vampire Destiny
- Lake of Souls
- Lord of Shadows
- Sons of Destiny
There is also a prequel series of four books called The Saga of Larten Crepsley, and a number of short stories published to the author's website.
In 2009 a film based on the first three books of the series (the Vampire Blood trilogy) was released. This was met with mixed reviews and was a commercial failure. Rotten Tomatoes assigns the film a 38% rating based on 139 critics, stating it "suffered from poor characterisation". Metacritic had a similar consensus with a score of 43 out of 100. It was criticised by fans as being unfaithful to the book series, as they added characters and had to condense the first trilogy into one film. However, it was listed as the #1 best vampire film on Netflix by in this Video Ink article. In Issue 244 - November 2020 Shanville Monthly, Darren Shan himself stated:
I've got say, while opinions of the CDF movie among fans of my books was (and remains) decidedly mixed, since it moved to Netflix, it's attracted a whole new audience, people who weren't (and maybe aren't) aware of my books, who enjoy it when taken purely on its own terms. I'd even go so far as to say that it's showing signs of becoming something of a cult classic.
Later in the blog post he stated:
As I've said many times over the years, I wasn't involved in the adaptation, and I regret that it was so unfaithful to my books, but I did enjoy it on its own terms.
2020 Fandom Resurgence
During the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic there was a resurgence in fandom activities. Fans started interacting on websites such as Tumblr. It is unclear exactly when the fandom started coming together again, creating fanfictions and fan art. In September 2020 there was a call for creators by Darren Shan to take part in a fanzine which came out on the 31st October 2020. There was also a Christmas fanzine, titled Secret Shanta, which occurred in December 2020.
Since the resurgence there has been a rise in Fandom Policing relating to Purity Culture in Fandom over certain ships involving characters who start the series as young children being shipped with some of the other vampires. Some of these ships are listed under the Ships and Pairings section.
Common Tropes & Storylines in Fanfiction
Fan Created Content
- Beg First fanfiction on fanfiction.net for the Mika Ver Leth/Kurda Smahlt pairing (warning for M rating!)
- Taste of Love first fanfiction on fanfiction.net for the Vanez Blane/Kurda Smahlt pairing
- The first fanfiction on fanfiction.net was Cirque du Freak: A New Friend by Trowa no Miko, posted in 2002.
- The first fanfiction on Archive of Our Own was New World View by Terra(KittyKat748) in 2011.
- The earliest Darren/Larten fanfiction is Annoyance by NinetailedPanther in 2010
Ships and Pairings
As a result of the male-heavy set of characters there are fewer het pairings. Canon character/OFC is common.