I’ve talked a lot about the good and the bad of Cirque Du Freak. However, one thing I always come back to is the characters. They are dynamic, unique, and interesting but they also invoke a very special connection with the reader. This is what makes this otherwise pretty standard vampire story so entertaining and why I come back to it year after year. So, I’m going to share some of my favorite characters from the series and why they’ve stuck with me the way they have. Huge warning, I cannot talk about some of these characters without major spoiler so if you have any plans to read the series you might want to avoid this list. That being said, let’s take a look at my top ten Cirque Du Freak Characters!
10) Desmond Tiny
The man who could be considered the main antagonist of the series, Desmond Tiny always knows more than he lets on. He clearly has everyone in his back pocket, making him one of the most terrifying characters Darren comes in contact with. However, he doesn’t have an overarching presence in the books. He seems to just appear whenever Darren needs to shaken or when needs a big revelation given to him. As intimidating as Tiny is, this lack of presence does underplay him.
A minor character who really doesn’t do much in the series. However, I love her because of one special moment in the series. When Darren is grieving Crepsley’s death, Truska is the one person who is able to get through to Darren and allow him to properly mourn his loss. This one moment in the tenth book in the series has cemented her as a favorite in my book.
8) Sam Grest
One of the fascinating things about Sam is how inconsequential he seems. At first, he plays as a foli to Darren who has now joined the cirque in book two since he’s now a vampire. Sam loves the idea of joining the cirque because it sounds exciting while Darren wants nothing more than to go home. Their relationship results in Sam’s death and Darren having to drink Sam’s blood in order to keep a part of him alive in Darren. It’s an interesting take on what it means to drink someone’s blood and this character allows Darren to finally embrace being a vampire.
7) Evra Von
A young freak and Darren’s closest friend at the cirque, Evra is a snake boy who is one of the few comedic characters. He sticks with Darren for a while when he and Crepsley leave the cirque, giving Darren someone besides his master to spend time with. Evra is the kind of friend that will do anything he can to try and cheer Darren up, but he also isn’t afraid to challenge him. It’s a genuine friendship that many stories don’t seem to focus on anymore.
6) Harkat Mulds
Another character that develops a close friendship with Darren, Harkat is a character that is shrouded in mystery and leads to an incredible revelation about the vampires and Tiny’s role in the entire thing. But that’s not why I love him. Harkat is fiercely loyal to Darren, even when Darren acts like a total idiot. The entire series has people questioning Darren and putting down his opinion. Granted, it’s sometimes valid because Darren can be nieve but it’s good for him to have someone who is almost always on his side. Harkat would do anything for Darren and Darren, in turn, would do anything for him.
5) Lady Evanna
This is a character I like more for design and purpose as opposed to who she is. She’s described as almost a swamp witch and is unlike any other character we see in the series. She has a sort of divination ability, but it doesn’t come across as too vague to be annoying or too broken to give Darren all the answers. Later in the series, it’s her relationship with Tiny that kind of kills her in terms of being an interesting character for me. It loses some of the mystery surrounding her. But, for what she is, Evanna was unique in a series full of freaks.
4) Debbie Hemlock
One of the few characters that actually doesn’t change in the series, but still is substantially impacted by Darren. The two of them meet shortly after Darren becomes a vampire and she helps him to loosen up and even have a bit of fun despite not being human anymore. Darren returns to the town she’s in and, despite it being more than ten years later, he has barely aged while she is now an adult and a teacher at the school Darren is forced to attend. Their relationship is more developed in the manga and actually seeing Debbie struggle with her feelings for Darren has more impact than just reading about it. Again, this is a character that Darren impacted and she impacted him, which are my favorite relationships in the series.
3) Larten Crepsley
It’s impossible not to like this guy. He does everything for Darren, even when it seems like he’s being condescending or dismissive. He has nothing but respect for his pupil and treats him like a son. At the same time, he will do anything to protect him even at the cost of his own life. He’s a character who will put others before himself and it’s evident that he has learned from several past mistakes, even if they don’t go into the details of all of them. He’s an excellent mentor and a wonderful father figure to take care of Darren.
2) Steve Leonard
This is the real antagonist of the series. Originally Darren’s best friend, he now swears to hunt down all vampires because he was denied the chance to become one. As a result, he blames everyone. He blames Crepsley for denying him, he blames Darren for abandoning him, I think to a point he even blames his mother for being such a terrible parent that he had to become the person he is. I love Steve because he is evil because he is basically petty. I miss villains like that. He is essentially a child when he makes the decision to hunt and kill vampires so why wouldn’t he stay driven by this petty motivation? I adore this and think it works perfectly in contrast to my favorite character.
1) Darren Shan
Predictable though it may be, when a hero works they work. Darren is nieve, short sighted and stubborn for the first few books. As time goes on, he learns from his mistakes and tries to become a stronger vampire. However, he does fall back into the same trap of being a little too nieve. I love this because this is rooted as part of who Darren is. Becoming a vampire doesn’t take that away from him and even all of his experiences don’t completely take that away. It’s keeps this kind of innocence to the character that is rare in vampire stories. Usually, the protagonist is too enthralled by becoming a vampire or they eventually become so jaded that they see the world as nothing but misery. Darren never stays that way. Even at the very end when he has to fight his best friend, he knows that this is for a greater good. It’s not a “too cruel” world, it’s what he needs to do to protect the people he loves. There’s so much more about Darren that I adore, but there’s twelve books that cover that and I highly recommend checking them out.
Thank you guys so much for checking out Cirque Month! I would love to do more series like this and I do have some stuff planned for the future. Let me know in the comments if there were any characters I didn’t talk about or if there is a topic you guys would like me to take a look at for a month theme.