I've been getting hooked on Darren Shan via his ZOM-B series, and have come to the Vampire novels really late in the day, but what a treat!
I read Cirque du Freak in one sitting this morning and adored it. Shan does a fantastic job of keeping the narrative genuinely frightening but at the same time pitching it at the perfect level for teenagers, I wish I could figure out how he does it and duplicate it. He makes it look easy, I can promise you, as someone who's constantly trying, it's not!
It's a fantastic series opener, and I'm already halfway through the second in the series. I love how Shan not only moves away from the more over-tired Vampire stereotypes, but at the same time keeps the traditional level of terror up nice and high. It's a fantastic read. And great to see YA for the boys as well as the girls.
Also, I've got to admit, the spider....the spider scared the bloody life out of me....