Before we get to the review, I just want to throw in one little disclaimer about it being “a day late.” Shift work is really great as a secondary job for an author. Typically, it’s not too demanding on the psyche and leaves plenty of room for writing. Unfortunately, it makes it next to nearly impossible to keep a set schedule for things like a blog no matter how hard I try. As soon as I set something, my shift schedule changes on me, and things get all out of whack. So the three weekly posts I’ve set up (Recipe, Review, Promotion) are going to be a bit more…fluid. One of each every week, but it might be Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, or it might be Monday, Tuesday, Friday, or whatever. If I try to restructure it, my shift schedule will change again, so we’ll just keep it night and loose from here on in…
Anyway, I owe you a review:
“The odd sound repeated in a rhythm with the shadow.
Then she raised her eyes and saw what was casting the shadow – and started to scream.”
The Fear Street Saga #1: The Betrayal by R.L. Stine
You’d be pretty hard pressed to find someone from my generation who didn’t recognize the name R.L. Stine. His Goosebumps series was practically the Harry Potter of the 1990s, pulpy tales of cheesy terror eagerly gobbled up even by kids who didn’t read much, the stars of any Scholastic book fair, but for those of us a bit older or advance, there was also the Fear Street series, marketed toward teens with a great scary slasher movie tilt that sometimes bordered on the supernatural. While I definitely ate up a lot of the Fear Street books myself, I was really more into fantasy at that stage in my life, especially since I’d discovered DragonLance and Wheel of Time, which gave me more than enough material. But when the Fear Street Saga came out, a trilogy of books that told the dark history of the curse that lead to all the terrifying events around Fear Street, I fell utterly in love. This series, in conjunction with the video game Phantasmagoria, inspired in me an idea for my own cursed tragic horror story spanning generations, which has stuck with me even today in the form of my WIP Rosewood Manor.
So discovering all three books of the trilogy in a Half-Price Books not too long ago brought out the bookish teenage delight of reading them years ago, and I just had to have them, and set to the task of devouring the first of the series. Oh, man. What a blast from the past. It’s no surprise these were considered my “light” reading, as the prose is incredibly simple, and at time absolutely ridiculous, but isn’t that part of the fun? It has the same level of “shock value” as a B horror flick…and who doesn’t love a good B horror flick every once in a while?
The Fear Street Saga has the added bonus of a little history, which is why it appealed to me with particular strength. The first book, The Betrayal starts back in the 1600s, in a small Massachusetts colony where the Fier family has swindled everyone out of their money and left two innocent women to burn as witches. The husband and father of these women has sworn vengeance on the Fier family, sparking the centuries long feud that carries on all the way to present day, though the story is framed in the telling of Nora Goode, a descendant of the burned women and the “latest” victim of the curse in 1900. We get to witness the first effects of the curse through the next generation, with a hint of what terror is to come in the generation that follows.
Since the book is mostly establishing the curse, the reader doesn’t encounter any real gory terror until past the middle mark, but even my older self who vaguely remembered the book was still pleasantly pleased when we got to “the good stuff.” Still, it’s pretty tame considering it was written for younger teens, but surprisingly satisfying all the same. The book isn’t literary gold by any means, and I love it for the nostalgia factor more than anything else, but I still enjoyed it and cannot wait for the next books, because I remember liking them even more, and it’s also where I started my spark of love for New Orleans, which was then cemented in a little later when I discovered Anne Rice.
Books read: 005/100.