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Sons of Destiny: Cirque Du Freak #12    by Darren Shan order for
Sons of Destiny
by Darren Shan
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Sons of Destiny is the twelfth - and last - of the Cirque Du Freak series, whose narrator, Darren Shan has evolved from ordinary boy to Vampire Prince fighting for the fate of the world against his childhood best friend and adult nemesis, the evil Vampaneze Lord, Steve Leopard.

This episode begins as our young hero declines to kill his shocked nephew (Steve's son) Darius, after Steve murders someone dear to him. In fact, Darren takes Darius back to his mother and explains why they're both still alive to his sister Annie. With no chance to rest - and still undergoing the debilitating purge - Darren must confront his enemy and Steve's vampaneze at the Cirque, where his friends - and his girlfriend Debbie Hemlock - are all trapped.

After a great deal of violence, Darren and Vancha face off against Steve and Vancha's brother Gannen Harst, after which Darren is left, weak and badly wounded, to his final encounter with Steve. Mr. Tiny has ordained that whichever of the pair survives will become the monstrous Lord of Shadows and destroy humanity. As Mr. Tiny reveals shocking secrets, Darren desperately seeks an alternative to this dark destiny - and, of course, he finds one.

All this happens in the first half of the book, and if it had ended there, it would have seemed a fitting conclusion to the series. But the story continues through a revival from the Lake of Souls to a final task back at the beginning of the series - and a chance to foil Mr. Tiny's Macchiavellian machinations. Though it's cleverly (perhaps too cleverly) plotted, it became way too much deus ex machina for my taste (and my son's) - but read it yourself and form your own conclusion.

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