Shan, Darren. Palace of the Damned. (The Saga of Larten Crepsely #3)
3 October 2011, Little Brown
Larten, following the unfortunate slaughter of a family aboard a boat, is wandering the icy wilderness with the lone survivor, an infant boy, seeking his own death. He stumbles upon the legendary death palace of Perta Vin-Grahl, which he thinks is a good place to leave the boy and jump to his own death, but he is stopped by Desmond, aka Mr. Tiny. Determined to live, Larten goes to Paris in 1906, where he goes by the name of Vur, falls in love with Alicia, and wants her to take care of the boy, whom they name Gavner. All goes fairly well until, while working for Tanish, Larten finds out that the vampaneze are killing young girls and tries to stop them, since he still feels bad about the death of Gavner's family. Once Alicia finds out his true nature, he is forced to go to vampire mountain and live there, where he meets up with even more people from his past/future, including Arra Sails and Evanna. Larten returns to Paris after a decade and meets up with Alicia again, who tells him to kill Tanish if he ever meets up with him again. Perhaps this will happen in the final installment, Brothers to the Death,which came out in May.
Strengths: Shan's work is very popular among my reluctant readers, probably due to the gore and violence. I am still finding the whole back story idea of Larten's genesis intriguing. Also, while I normally don't like made up names, Shan does an exquisite job of keeping them internally consistent.
Weaknesses: This volume focuses more on Larten's relationships and feelings. While I liked this, the boys might think this drags a bit.