Palace of the Damned (The Saga of Larten Crepsley #3)
Before the Cirque...
Before Darren Shan...
Larten Crepsley was a young man.
After failing his mentor and killing the entire crew of a ship in a bout of revenge for the death of his assistant, Larten is bereft with guilt. He no longer has the drive to live the vampiric life, and hides out in Paris, masquerading as a human. There, he finds some happiness, even falling in love with a girl. But the darkness inside him is too great for humanity, and he is forced to make a choice: hide in the shadows of the human world, or take his place among the vampire clan and protect those weaker than himself. But enemies are waiting, traps are laid, and Larten's path is bound to be strewn with bodies.
This is his story.
After suffering though the cold, he finally comes upon an opening in a cave. He is astonished to find the missing ice tomb of Perta Vin-Grahl. He views this as good as any place to lay to rest the child and take his own life, but is shocked to realize at the last minute that he repents and actually finds reason to continue. Thankfully Desmond Tiny steps in to save the day. Larten soon finds himself alive and still in charge of the baby boy. I was shocked when I found out that the baby was none other than Gavner Purl! He is a highly respected General in The Cirque Du Freak series!
Larten soon makes a life for himself and Gavner in Paris. He now goes by the name of Vur Horston in an attempt to leave his ugly deeds in the past. Although he tries to find a better life for the young boy, he shows him no compassion and keeps him at arms length. In an attempt to protect the boy’s feelings he believes this is the right thing to do, but ultimately he is hurting the boy far worse by pushing him away. Larten falls in love with a young woman named Alicia Dunyck who immediately accepts Gavner as her own and soon finds himself engaged and prepping for a human life. Alicia is not aware that Larten (Vur) is a vampire, nor does she know that Vur is not his real name. Everything seems to be going great for the couple until an old friend makes a reappearance.
Tanish Eul disappeared long ago after shaming himself in front of his fellow cubs. Now he is back wealthy, cold hearted, and obese; a completely different man than Larten remembers. He propositions Larten with a partnership. Tanish runs a couple of casinos and “escort” services. Larten reluctantly agrees against better judgement. I found this hard to accept. I am always one to follow my better judgement, and I was upset that Larten so foolishly threw his aside. He would have found himself in a better position had he heeded his conscience.
Larten soon realizes that something is not right. Women that work for Tanish are disappearing. He approaches his friend and brings to light the evidence he has come across. He is taken by surprise by how uncaring Tanish appears to be after hearing the information. Larten decides he can only take matters into his own hands. Tanish is still a coward and is still allowing others to fall in his stead. I despise Tanish’s character. He represents everything I hate in a person. He is arrogant, cowardly, pompous, and has no heart. I was secretly hoping for his untimely death. We see Larten’s true character shine through in this moment. He has compassion for others and does not stand by while others perish. He wants to help make matters right. I was happy to see his honor shine in a moment like this. It made his character all the more likable! Larten ends up having to answer for his heroism though.
Tanish betrays Larten in a moment of pure selfishness. He attacks Larten just when he receives the upper hand in battle against a vampaneze. In a show of mercy, Larten refuses to turn on his friend and loses everything. Tanish murders an innocent and accuses Larten of being a vampire. He has no choice but to flee and leave his family behind. My heart broke at this part for Larten. Although he was destined for greater things, Alicia did make him happy and he did love her. He knows that things will never be the same after she finds out who he really is. I was so disgusted with her at this point. Loving a person means you love them even in their times of pain and shame. She turned her back on him in the moment of his greatest need. That said to me that she did not love him as much as she claimed.
Larten decides it is time to return home to Vampire Mountain and continue his training to become a General. He found his way on his journey back. He realized that becoming a General and seeing his friends is what he has been missing all along. Larten is concerned that his past sins will be what condemns him to death once he reaches the Mountain and so he shows up with a heavy heart. Yet, even the worst sins can be forgiven when the sinner has truly repented as Larten soon comes to find out. After completing the rest of his training, Larten finally becomes a General. He has come a long way since first being blooded.
Arra Sails also shows back up in Larten’s life in this book. She is now a vampiress and is on her way to becoming a General. I was really hoping that this would be the time for them, but she is very focused on her training and so asks Larten to give her time. I like Arra Sails. She gives Larten a challenge in his life. She is exactly what he needs to bring him out of this pity party he has for himself.
I was quite saddened when Larten goes back to Paris to find out what happened to his lost love. He comes to find out she got remarried and had a child. I could not imagine the pain this would wreck if I were in the same position, but Larten decides he must find them to make sure they are alright. What he finds is not what he thought. Alicia is widowed and left with a young child and Gavner has run off. He went away with Tanish when he made a reappearance in their lives a couple years after everything hit the fan. Larten is livid. How dare he come back for the boy!
When push comes to shove, this book sent me on a roller coaster of emotions. I was so upset with the injustices Larten had to face. He lost so much and all for nothing. He has suffered immensely. The way that he downgrades his character is dreadful. We as readers can see the good and just in him. We see how caring and compassionate he really is. I was touched by the brief encounter Seba and Larten shares when he makes it back to Vampire Mountain. This was definitely a good book, and I would recommend it to any reader.