Review: Ocean of Blood by Darren Shan

Ocean of Blood (The Saga of Larten Crepsley #2) by Darren Shan How did I get it: I ordered it for my library’s collection and then checked it out first.

Why did I get it: I have read a lot of Darren Shan and I loved the Demonata series. I also really enjoyed The Birth of a Killer.

How I would rate it: 2 out of 5 stars.

Summary:

Before Larten Crepsley was a vampire general…
Before he was Darren Shan’s master…
Before the War of Scars…

Larten Crepsley was a teenager. And he was sick of the pomp and circumstance of fusty old vampires telling him what to do. Taking off on his own with his blood brother, Wester, Larten takes off into the world to see what his newly blooded vampire status can get him in the human world. Sucking all he can out of humanity, Larten stumbles into a violent, hedonistic lifestyle, where cheats beckon, power corrupts, and enemies are waiting.

This is his story.

Review: I need to point out two important things before my actual review. Thing 1 is that the summary for the book is so much more exciting than the actual thing that I could just cry. Thing 2 is that I could not be more depressed about my rating for this book. It would literally not be possible.

Unlike other books I’ve read by Shan, Ocean of Blood was pretty much an endless sea of summary with the occasional pool of blood thrown in. Just about anything interesting was summarized including battle scenes. Some of the details were occasionally amusing and I do like Larten, but the characterization throughout Ocean of Blood for basically everyone was dreadful and not in a skin-crawling way. Instead of anything feeling authentic or even interesting, everything seemed forced, rushed, and stilted including anger, romance, and misery. 

Characters rarely spoke more than one sentence at a time, and flashes of insight into their thoughts were offered up at inconvienient times. Such as when they were dying. Or instead of saying anything when the people they allegedly liked or cared about to make bad decisions or were treated badly, they would think about how they ought to maybe someday say something.  Thus making all of these insights as incredibly useless as possible.

Around the very end of the book, things got a bit interesting since Larten ended up on a boat and also finally killing people. By then actions were finally occuring at a normal pace with actual conversations too so I definitely appreciated Larten creating an almost literal ocean of blood. Then I realized something even more horrific than anything else. I realized that this actually awesome section meant that everything else I had read had been filler of the worst kind whose sole purpose was to delay a few worthwhile moments and yet another cliffhanger.

Overall, I still feel bewildered and a bit used. I spent most of the book wondering how something so short could be so absolutely pointless. I kept wishing I could figure out what went wrong. How could Shan write a book about blood, war, vampires, piles of corpses, and history and let it be so dull? What happened? Does this series only exist for making money off of teens who liked other Shan books and who will now pick them up no matter what? I hope that isn’t true and because I am desperate to be wrong, I will be continuing on and reading Palace of the Damned in October.

In conclusion, Ocean of Blood was nothing remotely like Shan at his best. If you want something enjoyable, horrific and actually good? Read his Demonata series.

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About April

I'm a librarian, reader, and writer whose main goal in life is to be able to swim in books the way Scrooge McDuck swims in money. Although my reading choices will always be wildly eclectic and I never plan on leaving any genre unexplored, my favorite reads tend to be Fantasy, Young Adult, Science Fiction, Gay Romance, or Historical Fiction. You can e-mail me at inspector[dot]librarian[at]gmail[dot]com.
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9 Responses to Review: Ocean of Blood by Darren Shan

  1. Pingback: Reader’s Progress #18 | CSI: Librarian

  2. Oh wow. Sorry to hear it didn’t live up to his past works. Thanks for the review. 🙂

  3. Joe lance says:

    Your wrong just because you only appreciate the blood and gore doesnt mean its a bad book. You forget that larten and the other vampires are the good guys who respect human life, this series never was going to be as gory as the demonta I say this story is just as good and I would give it 4 out of 5 stars

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  5. Pingback: Review: Palace of the Damned by Darren Shan | CSI: Librarian

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  7. Amy Leigh says:

    I totally agree, I’ve been trying to find a review with similar opinions, hoping it wasn’t that I hadn’t read a Darren Shan book in a while. I find his stories unique, captivating, easy to follow, and wonderfully visualized. This book was so rushed, and I also found Birth of a Killer to be a bit too summarized for my taste. I’d like to note that readers are told that you could read this series without having read Cirque du Freak, but I disagree. They skip over ideal years is Larten’s life that new readers should have experienced, such as his blooding (that was a BIG surprise to me), listing off various abilities that vampires obtain (such as their breath). The initial experience of being blooded, the stronger senses, testing out powers, from such a child-like perspective, was one of the things that I loved about the previous Saga. I absolutely LOVE the Darren Shan Saga, but it seems as though Darren wanted to skip to Larten’s adulthood, or at least put much less detail into his childhood. I’ll give him credit, though, because he put the character Darren’s blooding into a trilogy, whereas he has to fit the majority of a vampire’s lifetime into four books. I’m not as happy with these new vampire books as I have been, but I’ll be purchasing Palace of the Damned, for sure. Once a Shan fan, always a Shan fan.

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