This story is brilliant in its simplicity. It's clear from the beginning that this series was written for the Goosebumps graduates. The writing is simple and well paced. There isn't a lot of down time with the plot. It moves along well. That combined with the familiarity of the vampire, makes this quite easy to follow.
I liked Darren in the beginning. I felt like he was the sensibility to Steve's recklessness. He thought things through. He was kind to his sister and tried to be fair with his friends. He was the All-American Boy. Then Madame Octa happened.
He acted like any other boy his age would. He saw this crazy cool spider and had to have it. He stole it, which was wrong, but given that this whole story is kind of remarkable, I can forgive him that trespass. What got me, though, was 1) that he'd refused to give up information they could save his friend's life and 2) how easily he accepted becoming a half vampire.
Steve would have died before Darren admitted that it was a spider bite. That seemed very selfish to me. Then when Mr. Crepsley told him that he must become his assistant to save Steve, Darren didn't seem all that upset about it. I would have expect at least a little internal conflict. But no, he just went with it.
Other than those two details, I really enjoyed the book. I really hope Darren and Mr. Crepsley catch up top the Freak Show. I think that would be a wonderful setting. The idea is original and unique. I can't wait.
I also want to get to know the other performers. They sounded fascinating.
The end left a lot of room for good action. Will Darren adapt easily to the life of a vampire? Struggle? Will Steve make good on his threat? Will Darren see his family again?
I can't wait to find out.