'Great Graphic Wednesday' is a weekly blog posting. Check here every Wednesday for reviews of recommended graphic novels, by members of the Tinlids Graphic Novel Book Club.
Cirque Du Freak Volume 1 Written By Darren Shan, Illustrated by Takahiro Arai
DETAILS: Reads left to right. Paperback ISBN 9780759530416 $13.50
SUMMARY (from book cover): Darren Shan was an average kid until destiny brought him to the Cirque Du Freak. Now Darren’s been immersed into a shadowy world inhabited by vampires, werewolves and strange creatures the likes of which he’s never imagined, and his life will be changed forever!
Illustrated by Takahiro Arai, the manga adaptation has already been a bestseller in Japan and is faithfully reproduced in this first-ever English language edition.
REVIEW: As a reader of manga, I’m usually unimpressed when a novel has been adapted into this format. I feel as if the novel should never have been given the manga treatment and doesn’t respect the “original” words of the author. That all changed with this adaptation of Darren Shan’s popular Cirque Du Freak series- it seems to have enhanced the story. The illustrations allow the reader to see how wild and weird the world Shan has created in his stories. Darren Shan’s stories were almost made for manga interpretations.
The books are rated “T” for Teen; however, any children who are reading the books, could easily read the manga editions. The novels don’t sugarcoat the horror of the characters’ lives and the weird world they live in. There are constant threats of violence but it is vampires, werewolves and strange creatures (who are all part of the traveling circus) that the reader is dealing with in the story. This isn’t real life.
And not to take away from the manga, there are a few pages dedicated to the prose version of the story. This allows the reader to choose what format they prefer to read. Whenever students come to the library and ask for a “scary” book, I recommend both the prose and manga version of the story. Many students choose the prose novel, but then, they go and read the manga version. As for students who read manga (and graphic novels) as their choice of reading materials, this is highly recommended. Weird, wild and freaky- no wonder this series has been an enduring hit for adolescent readers for over ten years (prose) and three years (manga)?
There are 12 books in the Cirque Du Freak series. Book 11 in the manga series will be out this October (2011) and the final book will be available in February 2012.
Fatma Faraj is a teacher-librarian at Royal Orchard Middle School in Brampton.
Order titles from the Cirque du Freak Manga Series from www.tinlids.ca today!