No refund for Sara!!

November 20, 2009 at 22:32 (1)

I received the following email from a lady called Sara this morning, which gave me a great chuckle:

After seeing the movie, The Vampire’s Assistant, I bought your book, read half and have decided to take a few moments to tell you what I thought.  I am SHOCKED that such a good movie could come from such a poor manuscript.  Are you aware that your main character is extremely unlikable?  He is selfish, whiny and mistreats animals.  This book is too violent for children or young teens and anyone older will be bored will it’s dull, plodding pace.  You’re book is in the trash, Mr. Shan, and I believe you owe me $12.99 as well as a HUGE debt of gratitude to the person who turned your drivel into a passable screen play.  What a wearying task that must have been.

Heh heh — now I know how the people at Universal must feel when they get fans of the books complaining to them about the changes made in the movie!!! Oh well — you can’t please everyone. My only regret is that Sara threw the book in the bin — in these days of global warming and emphasis on recycling, that seems highly irresponsible to me!! If I don’t like a book, I give it to someone else, or to a charity shop. Throwing away a book isn’t a blow against an author you don’t like — it’s a blow against the planet!!!!

Another person who liked the film, while not seeming to be overly enamoured with my books, was the writer Orson Scott Card. I must admit that I haven’t read any of Card’s work (at least not that I can recall) but obviously I’m very familiar with his name, having seen his books in stores all over the place — he’s one of those writers I keep meaning to check out, but haven’t quite got round to yet. He posted a highly favourable review of the film — you can check it out by CLICKING HERE. I don’t think the film’s potential financial tally will be quite as disastrous as Mr Card assumes — the film has been doing well outside the USA, and is still to open in more than 50 countries worldwide, so it could well hit big in some of the major overseas markets (e.g. Japan). But even if it doesn’t, it will be interesting, as he notes, to track its movements when it comes out on DVD. Though the film has divided people, there seems to be a lot of folks out there who really like it. They don’t seem to have been able to convince huge numbers of their friends to go see it at the cinema (perhaps because they were all going to Paranormal Activity, or saving themselves for New Moon), but maybe word of mouth will continue to spread and more people will give it a chance on DVD and Blu-Ray. I know the film-makers shot a lot more material than they used in the final cut, including lots of scenes of the circus freaks, so if they put together a varied, exciting package on DVD, that might add to the movie’s appeal.

I read an article about American Werewolf in London in Rue Morgue recently, and hard as it might be to believe today, that film received lots of terrible reviews when it first came out, and didn’t do particularly well at the box office. But it found a fan base and its legend grew over the years, and today it’s still going strong. There’s no denying that Cirque’s performance at the American box office was disappointing, but I’d be a lot more depressed and worried if it had done quite well on a wave of hype but wasn’t drawing good, positive reaction like Orson Scott Card’s. Really good films are those which make an impression on people and stand the test of time, and I think Cirque might well end up doing that yet.


  1. Smog said,

    After reading the Saga of Darren Shan (several times) i went and saw the movie. I am SHOCKED that such a poor movie could come from such a good manuscript. The film is too different for any Saga fans to be interested in it. Stick with the books! The filmmakers owe you a debt of gratitude for writing such a great book that they can turn into the piece of drivel that is the Cirque du Freak: The Vampires Assistant. What an incredible task that must have been.

  2. Smog said,

    Hang about, Sara says Darren (the character) is selfish? If i remember correctly doesn’t he erm… Oh yeah, give up his Humanity for his best friend’s life. Perhaps if Sara had read more than HALF of the book she would have had a different opinion of the book. How can she call Cirque du Freak drivvel?!? I’m amazed. The Saga of Darren Shan is brilliant. She’s missing out on 12 great books.

    Oh well, that’s one person the film hasn’t turned into a Shanster. I wonder if she bought the book with the new covers. She should have given it to me, i’d have gladly accepted it.

  3. Erik said,

    I can’t believe that someone could possibly dislike your books!!! Everyone has different tastes i suppose… but in my opinion, this is the best series I’ve ever read! My friends and I couldn’t put these down, we read them in about a week!!! I’m really looking forward to the series about Mr. Crepsley. Sounfs fantastic. You rock Darren Shan!!!

  4. Miley said,

    Best series I’ve ever read… Haven’t seen the movie yet… Can’t wait for the series about Mr.Crepsley… Couldn’t put it down… Finished in a week… Same for all my friends…

    Miley and Marrissa a.k.a M&M

  5. Mathew Brack said,

    selfish? she’s talking about the guy who sacraficed his humanity for his friend right?
    the guy who went on to offer his life(repeatedly) and risk execution to save many of his friends.
    I can only wish I was that selfish…

    ‘This book is too violent for children or young teens’
    She’s evidently not a fan of the bible either then, doesn’t God kill everyone on earth apart from noah’s family at one point. Then theres the plauges, the sacraficing of sheep (:O can’t do that it’s mistreating the animals) and the crucifictions…

    Harry potter – Evil guy goes round killing people and trying to take over the world…

    Twilight(no where near as good as DS’s books) – Vampiric peadophile….


  6. Danni said,

    Sara is as barmy as the film. I must admit I haven’t read all 12 books of the vampire series but they are much better than the film. I do think they made the film more child friendly ha-ha.
    Right now I am converting all who I know into fellow Demonata fans like myself 🙂
    I absolutely love the series and have brought 4 of the books so far, I am hoping to have the complete series by Christmas.
    Also I am looking forward to be reading your new series ‘The Thin Executioner’ in May (which so happens to be my birth month, bonus!)

    Keep up the good stories Darren!

  7. Suzanne said,

    I just watched the movie, and I’m divided into two. As a fan of the books I was dissapointed in it, ’cause there were so many things I missed, a lot of creative use of the material provided. But on the other hand I quite liked the movie. It was open, easy accesable , funny, witty, the casting was amazing.

    I did got distracted by Darren’s post vocalic r , I didn’t do any background check on his background but he sounded really american while the rest of the cast didn’t. And by the girls sitting behind me screaming because there was a spider and that the beard lady had a beard (shocker there , right?)

    And Sara could at least have given it to some homeless person who could have made a fire with it after reading it ofcourse!

    So now you’ve heard my opinion. Keep up the good work and laugh at people like Sara.

  8. Ivor Bolton said,

    We’ll always stick with you, Darren !

    I haven’t seen or heard of Stephenie Meyer spending any of her time with readers, signing their books, chatting for hours, touring for weeks ! … Nor J.K. Rowling, Philip Pullman, Michael Morpurgo – or any other young person’s writer ! No successful writer needs to do what you do – but you do these things because you respect your readers.
    What more do we need to say , other than thanks again, Darren !

    ‘Keep the faith, Baby !’ … I’ve forgotten who said that, but it sounds right .. and we will !

  9. Robbie said,

    I and my friend finally met you Darren Shan, in Hughes And Hughes as well as Whites Hotel!!! WexWorlds was amazing I thought, Eoin Colfer was brilliant and I thoroughly enjoyed the free 8 page comic as well. Hope this is an annual festival in Wexfore for Science Fiction!!!

  10. Emily said,

    HA!!! I actually can’t believe what I’m reading!! Seriously!?! considering she only read half of a book of a twelve book series, I fail to see how she can judge the book at all, let alone so harshly. And I find the last two sentences very rude indeed. Demanding refunds? You go back to the place where you bought it Sara, not the author, everybody knows that, and you need to have kept the book as well!! Duh!!

    “This book is too violent for children or young teens and anyone older will be bored will it’s dull, plodding pace.”
    I actually don’t think she read the right book… and I would LOVE to read her reaction to the Demonata books if she thought the Saga was violent!!
    Thanks for telling us that Darren, it gave me a really good laugh : )

  11. Bella said,

    hey master shan,
    how dare that woman disrespect you like that! she doesnt know anything about horror stories if she thinks that Cirque Du Freak is an extreamly violent book. oh my god. i could have thrown my computer at a wall reading that horrible email she sent to you. holly crap…i cant get over how horrid she was to you. well, at least you have thousands maybe even millions of fans (including me) that support everything you do no matter what. so there mrs. i-hate-horror-stories-and-think-Master-Shan-is-a-horrible-author. keep writing master shan.we love you!!!
    -bella baltierra

  12. RamblinDad said,

    I took my son to see the movie, because as a kid I loved horror films. From the trailers the film looked like a good one to wet his appetite and see how he handled thrills. The flick wasn’t too gory and was a good story, with some thrills thrown in. To tell the truth I didn’t even know about the books. After the movie I figured it had to be based on a book, so I googled it and found the books.

    I just finished the “Cirque Du Freak” series today. Yes, I am an adult, but find many books written for the younger crowd to be a lot of fun. It also gives me an opportunity to share with my son. He is turning into almost as voracious a reader as I was at his age. It was a great read and I will be handing them off to my son to read.

    I thought the books were better than the movie, but the movie was good on its own. The email you posted was way off base. Too bad she didn’t read further, but hey different strokes for different folks. Keep on writing and this family will keep on reading.

  13. Miley said,

    Im trying to get my friend Krista to read these books… I keep telling her they’re awesome books and she finally said she would go to our public library… FINALLY!!!

  14. Miley said,

    The way I found out about your series was weird and totally random…two or three years ago My brother haf been talking about your books for weeks and all I really wanted him to do was shut up. Then one
    Day I was sitting in the car with my
    Sad, waiting for my brother’s soccer game to be over. I was really bored… And i happend to glance upon your first book. Thinking I could finally see what was making him so excited I picked it up and started to read it. Next thing I know I’m done with the first book and I’m sitting on the couch with the next!

  15. Kathryn Winstanley said,

    Hi, Darren.

    I, and all your fans, Darren, will strongly dissagree with Sara’s review. Your books are brilliant. And the number of books that have sold proves that.
    I suppose everyone’s entitled to their own opinion. But if she had taken the time to finish the book, and the series for that matter, I’m sure her review would compleatly change.
    I don’t think she has any need to say all she did about your book, especially after reading only half of it.
    I hope all’s well, Darren. Take care.

    From your big fan, Kathryn Winstanley.

  16. Katheryn said,

    i cannot believe some people can be so…. weird. I saw the film before reading the book. ironically enough i had bought the trilogy of books 7,8 and 9. i didnt even know it wasnt book 1 haha.
    i saw the movie title and went “omg i got one of those books” thinking i had the same book. nope.
    so i LOVED the movie, its simplicity and gore and O.M.G the guy played Darren *drools* lol sorry.. he is L.U.S.H!
    and whats his face O’Reilly… FAB as Crepsley. made my mum like the character anyway, since she wasnt much of a fan of the actors other films, but now i love him 😀
    Then went home and found out i had the wrong book, so went out and got the others. loved the books and read them all in 2 weeks, slower than some but only really read at night. and had a dream about my saving a friend from a spider.. i know right, odd!
    i know the first 3 books were a lot different to the film, but theres only so much you can fit into a 90minute movie and i wasnt too fussed that they sqaushed it in. was a bit confused by the plot tho, cos at first i thought it was just books 1 and 2 in the film, then found it was 3 aswell. so made more sense. didnt expect Gavner Purl to be in the film so soon… and wasnt how i pictured the character at all. Although Wilam Defoe is a great actor.. i didnt feel he was the right person to play him.
    If they do make more of the movies… i am sooo gonna cry when “you know who” dies on the stakes (if they do the plot correctly that is) and gonna cry EVEN MORE when the other main “you know who” dies at the end… OMG why cant you bring him back? why why why why? im having withdrawal symptoms and even missed him somuch i decided to write my own fan fiction just so i could change the ending of book 12! hahahahah
    but only one of my friends has read the saga.. so only one friend reads it, which suckks!

    so thats my talk.


    From katheryn xxx

    (p.s. cheered with joy when i found out you were releasing books on crepsley (L))
    pps.. please tour Essex, England PLLLLEAAASE 😀 THANKS

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