Darren Shan’s Procession of the Dead features Capac Raimi, the main character of the novel, as a seemingly lonely man that arrives in The City without any recollection as to why he came or what he was doing there. The City, in my head, seems to be an alternate world of a mixture between New York City and Chicago fused into one large, crowded metropolis with too many shady people. At the center of The City lies The Skylight, a fabulous hotel that only the most prestigious stay at, and Party Central, a large office building that houses the Cardinal, the leader of The City. The Cardinal rules over his city with an iron fist, knocking out anyone that gets in his way or threatens to take down his empire. He lives on the fifteenth floor with his puppets, and Ford Tasso, his assistant and right hand man. Capac meets up with his uncle, a lower-level gangster in The City. After a few nights with his uncle, Capac goes through twists in his life that have life changing effects. He meets the “leader” of the City, the Cardinal, a man that takes Capac under his wing almost as soon as he meets him. Life seems great for Capac until his friends start disappearing, and Capac is forced to make a tough decision: betray the Cardinal, or stay loyal to the man that trained him to be the gangster he is.
After reading many of Darren Shan’s novels, I can say that Procession of the Dead is one of my favorites of all of his books, excluding Cirque du Freak, which remains my all time favorite series. The characters he came up with all have stories of their own, and those tales come out through the description and dialogue within the book. There is diversity between each person, and Capac seems to make friends of all sorts, including a deadly assassin, a taxi driver, and a spy. Each chapter name is a month of the Incan calendar, which correlates with many of the names within the novel, including Capac’s. The creativity and research that Darren Shan put into the novel goes beyond many novels that have the same idea behind them, and he does this artistically. At first Procession of the Dead is slow just like other books that have a lot to introduce into the first few chapters, but the pace does pick up after several chapters. I wanted to give up on the book during the first few days of reading, but I kept strong and read through the slow areas. For that I was greatly rewarded with a story I will never forget, of a man that finds out who his real self is. There is beauty between the pages of Procession of the Dead, beauty that is relevant to today’s society, and yesterdays.
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