I have read this whole series and I loved it! Easily one of my favorite series.
In my opinion the first book is just there as the 'set up' book for the rest of the series, it’s where we meet our main character (Darren) and his best friend (Steve).
They attended a freak show that’s in town for the night and there they see Larten Crepsley (the 204 year old vampire but only Steve realizes this). Larten Crepsley is preforming with his rare poisonous spider, Madam Octa, Darren has always been amazed by spiders and has never seen anything like Madam Octa, after the show he decides to sneak into Larten’s room after the show for a closer look. When Darren can hear people coming he decides to steal Madam Octa!
While in Darren's care Madam Octa bites Steve which leaves him in a very dangerous coma. Darren’s only choice is to return to the freak show before it leaves town and ask for the antidote from Larten Crepsley.
Larten Crepsley agrees to give Darren the antidote but only if he becomes his assistant... Darren reluctantly agrees, he has no chose its either become a vampires assistant or watch his friend die. (something he already blames himself for)
Basically once we get passed all that (in the first half of the book) it transforms!
We are introduced to our new home at the travelling show and there we meet all kinds of interesting characters - including a lizard boy and a tremendous show conductor. The series itself revolves around a bigger vampire story but there is no sparkles or teen drama in this vampire story.. the strongest will only survive in this story.
Suitable for Pre-Teens and great for reluctant reads