Fear Street #22 – Bad Dreams

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The Cover

bad-dreams

The cover (pulled from its Amazon page) is pretty good. The girls look good, especially the hair on the one in front, and they seem genuinely afraid. I do love how they’re grabbing onto each other. The canopy post does good for implying a shadow or shape in the scene. All in all, I really like this cover.

Tagline

Don’t go to sleep!

I also really like this tagline! It’s a little generic, maybe, but it plays into the title, and there’s an urgency I appreciate.

Summary

We start with an unneccessary prologue. An unnamed girl sleeps in her bed, and is woken by a human figure in her room. She screams, “But you’re my sister!” and dies.

Smash cut to Maggie in the car with her family as they search for their new house on Fear Street. It’s just her mom and her sister Andrea and their dog Gus. I absolutely expected Gus to be horribly murdered in this book, and he is not. No animal violence at all. It’s a breath of fresh air.

The opening scene is just to establish that Maggie is the better sister. She’s a year older, a little prettier, she has a steady boyfriend, she’s doing well on the swim team, and Andrea is petty, mean, and has a complex. They’re moving out of North Hills, the swanky side of Shadyside, into Fear Street because their dad recently died. It seems like he had an anuerysm or heart attack, but they never really talk about it.

They make it to the house, and it’s a creepy old Fear Street house. They go up to find their rooms, and in Maggie’s room, the previous owners had left behind a canopy bed. It’s set up like the girls didn’t know what furniture they’d get, but later a neighbor tells them the house has been empty a long time, which means when they viewed the house, they would’ve known, but whatever, it’s an excuse for Andrea to complain. They fight, Andrea screams at her, their mother tries to settle them down.

They settle into the house. We’re introduced to Justin, Maggie’s boyfriend, and Dawn, who’s on the swim team with them. At night, Maggie’s exhausted, and she falls into her canopy bed. She has a dream where she’s walking through the mist and sees a girl with ash blond hair. She wakes up screaming, and her family rushes in. Andrea asks her to describe the dream and suggests she might’ve been thinking of Dawn, since she has blond hair. Her family comforts her, and she goes back to sleep.

There’s a nice moment with Justin, where he brings the family a bouquet of kitchen sponges, which delights Maggie’s mom, and she offers him something to drink with only two cans of Sprite in the fridge. They make out for a while, and when Maggie looks up, she sees the girl from her dream watching her from the shadows. Justin turns around and says hi to Andrea, and Maggie thinks she was spying on them. He’s friendly but curt to Andrea, who’s clearly hurt by it. He then scares Maggie by pretending to choke to death in front of her. That good ol’ Shadyside humor.

It’s swim tryouts day, and Maggie and Andrea are competing for a spot in the 200m swim. Andrea has a minor freakout where she accuses Maggie of stealing her swim cap before she finds it on the floor next to her backpack. There’s a long scene of them swimming, but the final result is Dawn, Maggie, Tiffany, and then Andrea. Dawn flips out at Maggie accusing her of interference, but the coach puts it down. They change, get ready to leave, and Maggie sees Dawn floating face down in the pool. She panicks and jumps in after her, only for Dawn to tell her she was practicing her breathing. They laugh about it.

Maggie goes to sleep again and dreams. She sees the blond girl thrashing in her covers, and a knife in the darkness, and she wakes suddenly to see the girl standing over her bed. She starts yelling, and then Andrea reaches down and tells her to stop. Andrea says she heard Maggie having a bad dream, and she came in to make sure she was okay. Maggie makes a crack that the house is haunted. Andrea worries it’s stress that’s making her dream this, and tells her to take it easy on the swim team, and Maggie flips out on her, telling her of course she would say that, so Andrea could finally beat her. Andrea says dreams are all wishes which is the wildest thing anyone’s ever said and accuses Maggie of wanting to stab someone. Maggie realizes she’s identifying with the person who was stabbed.

Maggie’s exhausted at school to the point where she doesn’t remember her locker combo. She’s trying to get to her next class when she sees her sister up ahead and runs into Dawn on the stairwell. She starts talking to Dawn right as she starts to fall. For a moment, she doesn’t move, and then she starts wailing that she was pushed. Her arm is broken. Maggie sees her sister, and it looks like she’s happy about this. Dawn accuses Maggie of pushing her.

Maggie talks to her friends, who tell her Dawn was probably angry and concussed, which was why she accused her. Tiffany assures her she had no reason to push Dawn. Maggie gets home and naps, and her mom wakes her up by making spaghetti and vegetarian meatballs. She goes outside and takes a nap as well, and is woken by a strange man who is reaching down for her. She panicks, but he tells her he’s her neighbor, and he was worried she was baking too long in the sun. He introduces himself as Milton Avery and invites her over to meet the missus. He tells her a terrible thing happened in the house, and it’d been empty so long it might as well felt haunted. Mr. and Mrs. Avery keep calling Maggie a “pretty young girl” and I half expected a shocking swerve where they were the murderers or something, but they’re just old. They tell her the Heifers lived there before, and their daughter Miranda was stabbed in her own bed.

Maggie meets up with her friends again. Dawn apologizes for accusing her, but Maggie isn’t sure if she means it. Justin tries to make out with her, but Maggie is still thinking about Miranda. He gets mildly weirded out with her ghost talk. When Maggie sleeps that night, she wakes up with Andrea standing over her, and the gleam of a knife in her hand, but Andrea tells her she’s borrowing her curling iron, and Maggie breathes a sigh of relief. Her dreams aren’t getting any better. She goes downstairs and reads Moby Dick at the suggestion of her late father, who called it the most boring book, a sentiment I heartily agree with. She goes back upstairs and finds her bed messed with and a knife sticking out of her pillow. She runs to her mom’s room and accuses Andrea of doing this, and when they return to the bed, the knife is gone, and the blankets are back to where they were. Maggie wakes up Andrea and screams at her.

Maggie’s too tired to race properly, and her coach tells her to get plenty of sleep. Her coach tries to talk to her, and when they come back out, Tiffany is laying down on the floor with blood pouring out around her. Maggie reaches down to help her when her coach walks in, and she immediately starts yelling that she didn’t do it. It’s not at all suspicious. At home, Maggie’s mom tells her no one suspected her, and it’s such a tragedy, and Andrea gets off the phone with Tiffany, letting them know she’s fine. Andrea’s clearly happy despite everything and says she won’t pretend to be excited now that she’s swimming the 200 IM. Maggie shouts at her for it and storms off.

At night, Maggie dreams again, and this time she starts in a dark tunnel. She watches Miranda run away from someone wielding a knife, and then falls into the canopy bed. Miranda wakes up and sees someone standing over her, with ash blond hair, and she asks if she’s a ghost. The figure nods and raises a knife. Maggie starts screaming, and her mom runs in, but now the ghost has disappeared. Maggie’s mom tells her they’ll get her all the hep she needs.

Maggie goes on a school trip to some caves. She’s distracted, thinking about the ghost, but she’s put in a group with our two faves, Deena and Jade. They walk through the tunnels, and Miranda gets dizzy. She sits for a moment. When she looks up, her group is gone. She runs to catch up, and she’s reliving her dream, feeling like someone is chasing her, footsteps behind her, and she slams into a dead end. She panics as the person gets closer and closer, but it’s only Justin. The group had noticed she’d gotten lost, and he tells her everyone is waiting back at the bus. They walk out together.

Maggie starts seeing a therapist. She talks to Justin about it, but while they’re hanging out, she sees the ghost. She runs after it, leaving Justin behind, but Miranda is gone. When she gets home, she sees her mom with Mr. and Mrs. Avery, and they have dinner together. Maggie’s quiet, but Andrea’s ecstatic. Maggie’s too tired to continue, and she tells her mom she’s going to lie down. When she gets to her room, she finds the canopy bed is gone. Moved. Maggie’s mom had some movers come over and they put it in the attic. I don’t know why she didn’t take it to a resale place or smash it into firewood, but the rest of the plot needs to happen. Andrea convinces Maggie to come back down for dinner, and at night, when everyone is gone to bed, Maggie sneaks up to the attic.

Maggie’s certain she just needs to see the rest of the dream, and she climbs the creaking staircase to open the door, only to find someone already sleeping in the bed. She wakes Miranda, who jumps out of bed, knife raised, and starts singing that someone stabbed Miranda. She’s not a ghost after all, and she’s not Miranda either. Gena was Miranda’s sister, and she starts singing that she has to kill the mean sister, and Maggie’s mean like Miranda was. She’s been sleeping in the attic this whole time. Andrea hears them and runs upstairs as well, and Gena tells her she’s going to kill Maggie for her. Maggie struggles against Gena, and Andrea manages to tangle her up in the bed, and they wrap her up as their mom comes up to see what the noise is.

The police take Gena away. The women sit around and discuss what just happened. Maggie thanks Andrea for saving her life, and offers her the canopy bed. Andrea politely refuses. Finally, they head back up to bed.

Favorite Line

“Dreams are all wishes, right?”

Fear Street Trends

Our faves Deena Martinson and Jade Smith are back, of course. They don’t do much. Not too many outfits are described, but my favorite is Andrea’s “short-short khakis, and orange tank top, and gold hoop earrings.” To which she says, “I was feeling like dressing up a little.” Justin wears some generic white boy clothes, and Maggie wears some faded jeans and “a green-checked vest” which is definitely something I wore in the 90s.

Rating

This one was kind of meh. I wasn’t sure what I was hoping for, but this went by pretty quick, and I was surprised at how quickly I got to the end. All in all, I’m going to give it two stabbed pillows out of five.

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Fear Street #23 – Double Date

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The Cover

double-date

The cover (pulled from Goodreads) is kind of meh. Bobby looks like a mannequin, and the girls are just kind of doing nothing. It should be sinister, but it’s far too bright, and the people don’t look real at all. There’s few salvageable things about it.

Tagline

Two’s company. But three can be murder.

I do actually kind of like this. It’s a decent play on an old saying and sets a tone. It’s only extremely out of place on this boring cover.

Summary

We’re introduced to Bobby forcing a girl named Ronnie into a locker and then kissing her. Our hero. He talks about how he dated Ronnie pretty much only so he could say he went out with all six cheerleaders. For the first time, I think, we get to see Kimmy outside of the cheerleaders books. She yells at Bobby for standing her up last night and going out with another girl. He brushes her off and goes to band practice with his two main dudes, Arnie and Paul. Thus begins the running gag of bands changing their names, which is a thing in just about every teen fiction I’ve ever seen. They changed their name from “The Cool Guys” to “Bad to the Bone”. They’re going to need a lot more help.

Bobby is all about music. He has a white Fender Strat “like Jimmy Hendrix”. Arnie is Bobby’s best friend and clear supporter, but Paul kind of thinks Bobby is a narcissistic skeeve. They start to practice, and two girls enter the room. Bree and Samantha Wade moved to Shadyside a year ago, and they’re looking for one of their teachers. Bobby takes the moment to chat with them, but they leave to get done what they need to do. Arnie and Bobby joke about going out with twins, while Paul is clearly agianst the idea. As practice finishes up, they’re visited by Melanie, who Bobby used to go out with, and who is now dating Arnie. She’s antagonistic towards Bobby, and when she hears Bobby might ask out both twins, she tells him to stay away from them.

He promptly ignores her and runs straight into Bree. He invites her to see their band play that Friday, and after they can go out. He goes home and tells Arnie, doing a weird victory lap in his room. My favorite moment from this scene is a line that paints Bobby as an absolute narcissist:

Arnie is my biggest fan, Bobby realized. That’s why we’re such good friends.

It’s honestly so enjoyable to read what a terrible person Bobby is (unlike say Paul from Haunted) because the piss is clearly being taken out of him at every turn. He calls himself Bobby the Man and struts around singing “I’m cool” while Paul and Melanie are in the background lamenting any association. Lines like that paint him as such a loser.

He calls the Wade household and gets Samantha on the phone. He asks her to a movie Saturday night, and she gets instantly nervous. She tells him Bree’s really looking forward to their date on Friday, and asks if this is a bet or a dare. In the end she agrees to go out with him and promises not to tell her sister.

Friday comes, and Bobby and his band play on stage. He does a “Chuck Berry strut” and the crowd cheers. As they get off the stage, the club lights up. Paul tells Bobby he ruined the set with his showboating, which ends with him pulling his amp out accidentally, but Bobby won’t hear it. He and Bree dance for a bit, but she gets tired, and they walk out together. As they drive around Shadyside, and here’s where we get the craziest aspect of this story, which adds almost nothing to it. The kids in Shadyside are doing science projects, and Bobby has two monkeys he got from his uncle who is an animal importer for zoos. This already sounds highly illegal, but his his experiment is he only feeds one bananas and water, while the other has a mixed diet. Is his experiment the fastest way to murder a monkey? Part of me assumes Bobby only did this to show off at school, which wouldn’t be out of character for him.

They make out, Bree asks him out tomorrow, and he says no. The next day he meets Samantha, and they head to the movies. Samantha thinks they’re all really boring and instead they walk around the mall. They try on earrings at a kind of expensive store, and she gets yelled at for actually putting them on. She starts to leave the store, and they’re yelled at for shoplifting. They race through the mall as security chases them. They get out and run across the parking lot, where they run straight into a security guard, who chastises them for running. They walk away laughing.

They go back to his car, and Samantha demands to drive, a thing I highlight only because recently I’ve realized how strange it is that in straight couples the man will always insist on driving even if it’s not his car. They go to River Ridge to make out, and she warns him that Bree can get a little crazy when she’s hurt. She refuses to say anymore.

It seems like Bobby’s been dating the twins for a few weeks. Everyone at school knows about it, and the fact that the girls don’t seem to makes it all the more suspicious. After Melanie rags on him some more, he goes home and gets a weird phone call, where a whispered voice tells him three’s a crowd. He figures out pretty quick it’s his friend Arnie, who laughs at him. They talk a bit, and then he’s interrupted by someone knocking on the door. It’s Bree, syaing they have to talk. She says she’s worried about Samantha, who is seeing someone and refuses to tell her. Bobby plays it cool, and when it’s clear Bree doesn’t know what’s going on, he tells her he’ll try to find out for her. She leaves, and Samantha calls, warning him that Bree’s on her way. When he tells her it’s cool, she was here and left, Samantha says she’s sick of sharing and asks him to break up with Bree. The longer they drag it out, the more she’s worried she’ll get hurt, and the easier it’ll be for her to fly off the handle.

Bobby goes out with Samantha again, does some more shoplifting, and they run into Bree. Bobby briefly considers taking them both on a date at the same time, but they skedaddle together. He walks outside and finds both his tires slashed, and Melanie driving up. He’s convinced momentarily that it was her doing, and she’s probably still obsessed with him, but he decides girls don’t know how to handle knives, and thus she’s off the hook. At school, Bobby and Samantha sneak off. He shows her his monkey (hur hur), and she shows him the way to tell the twins apart. Samantha has a small butterfly tattoo on her shoulder. As they make out, she tells him again to dump Bree, and then she shows him her science project: a colony of cannibal ants eating a dead mouse. Shadyside really values its education system, huh.

The band, who have changed their name again to the Desperadoes, are playing at school, but the second Bobby hits his Fender, he’s electrocuted and jolted to the ground. There’s a brief interlude where he’s in a grey fog with ghostly faces all around him, but the second someone says the amp was cut, he sits straight up. They realize someone had deliberately cut it. He goes off with Samantha and asks if Bree was capable of this. She says her sister could do anything as Bree walks into the room.

Bobby and Arnie sit together in the cafeteria. Melanie comes in again and tells him she’s known the Wade twins since elementary school. She warns him again, and he tells her she’s clearly still in love with him. She calls him a pig and leaves.

Bobby goes out with Samantha, but while they’re making out, he realizes her butterfly tattoo is missing, which means he must be with Bree. He asks her about it, and she gets confused, claiming she doesn’t have a tattoo. She acts hurt and gets him to drive her home. At school the next day, he’s confused, and when he opens his locker he finds it coated in blood with a monkey’s head laying on top of his books. A note reads “THIS IS YOU INSIDE”. For once, someone in Shadyside has a normal reaction to this kind of treatment, and he tosses his breakfast. Arnie comes along, confused, and picks up the fake monkey’s head. It’s a prank. Another disgusting Shadyside prank.

Bobby and Samantha go out, and she’s driving again. She takes him to a place out in the trees where there’s a small cabin. She demands to know why he hasn’t broken up with Bree yet, and then tells him they have to kill her. Bobby agrees, but it’s pretty clear he’s just going along, trying to get out of this situation. He sees the butterfly tattoo on her shoulder again. He asks her again, and she says of course she has a tattoo, she told him about it. They go inside the murder cabin and make out some more.

Bobby calls Bree immediately and tries to tell her what’s up. He picks her up to go dancing, and he explains to her that Samantha took him out and threatened to kill her, still kind of lying his way around the whole “cheating on you with your sister” thing. Bree tells him they aren’t twins, but triplets. They have a third sister named Jennilynn, the fakest, worst name I’ve heard in any of these books, which earn the prize in made up terrible names. She tells him Jennilynn is crazy, and attacked their parents, so they sent her away to live with their family on the West Coast. She says the real way to tell her apart from Bree or Samantha is that she has a butterfly tattoo on her shoulder.

He drives to Arnie’s after dropping her off and immediately spills the beans after promising not to. Melanie is there, and he asks her directly, since she admitted to knowing them since they were kids. Even though one threatened to kill her sister, and the other told him a story about their murderous triplet, he’s still not quite ready to give up dating the Wade twins. He meets up with Samantha the next day and tells her what Bree said about Jennilynn. Samantha is horrified, because there isn’t a Jennilynn. She’s Bree’s alter ego, which whom she acts out terrible fantasies. He checks her shoulder again. No tattoo.

Bobby has no idea which sister is telling the truth, and instead of maybe going to their parents and asking or forcing the sisters to talk to each other, he continues to date them. Samantha picks him up in the car and takes him to the cabin. He sees the tattoo on her shoulder again, and she says of course she has a tattoo, she told him. He realizes she’s still planning on killing Bree, but the second they’re at the cabin, she brains him with a bottle, ties him up in only a t-shirt and his boxers, pours honey all over him, and drops her cannibal ants on him.

Samantha/Jennilynn leaves, and Bobby manages to  break free. He runs free of the cabin, straight into Melanie, who says the twins had their car stolen, and they were pretty sure it was Jennilynn. She came to find him, and he says they have to go back to the house to warn the sisters. They run inside the house, Bobby shouting about Jennilynn, and is surprised to see both sisters and a lot of girls from school. The Wade parents are there, and they have no idea who Jennilynn is or what Bobby is talking about. They don’t even own a cabin. Also, cannibal ants are not a real thing. He points at the girls and demands to see which one has a tattoo, and they dutifully show their parents their bare shoulders. Melanie, Kimmy, and Ronnie each make fun of him for his appearance and for dating every girl in school. Samantha and Bree laugh about all the acting they had to do, with Samantha pretending to be a wild girl. This also means that either Samantha and Bree or every girl involved are the ones who slashed his tires, filled his locker with blood, and maybe tried to electrocute and then kill him? Troubling, of course. But in Shadyside, it’s not out of place.

At school, things seem to fall apart for Bobby. The band breaks up. He’s dejected. Bree and Samantha see him and bring him an envelope with a letter inside. It says they both knew from the very beginning what was going on, and on the inside is small temporary butterfly tattoo.

Favorite Line

Girls aren’t strong enough to cut tires that deeply, Bobby thought to himself. Girls don’t know how to handle knives.

Fear Street Trends

So many! I feel like it’s been so long since the kids have been described like this! No one looks like a celebrity, but Bree and Samantha are described in every scene. A lot of faded jeans, cut off shorts, and midriff-bearing blouses. Samantha is almost always described as wearing something low cut or that shows off.

David Metcalf makes an appearance, and Suki Thomas gets a special mention. The teen club in this is the Mill, when I think it’s usually the Red Heat. What surprises me the most is the mention of real stores. McDonalds, Waldenbooks, and the Gap all get a mention.

Rating

I think I loved this one. Bobby is a straight up narcissist and psychopath, and the twist at the end was probably one of the best in Fear Street history. I’m giving it five fake butterfly tattoos out of five.

Return of the Fear Street Cheerleaders!

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I went hunting for the next Fear Street book to read (and a digital version, since I ended up being pretty busy), and I found the summary for the next Fear Street novel through Amazon.

cheerleaders returned.png

The Fear Street cheerleaders are returning! It looks like the evil won’t be part of the plot of this one, but you know who is the main villain? Devra Dalby, not Reva, but I imagine they’re going to be just about the same character. I haven’t read any of the relaunch yet but am waiting for just the right moment to cover it here, but I did find an excerpt of the next book through ew.com. If you’re wondering, ‘has R.L. Stine gotten any better at writing kissing?’, the answer is a definitive no:

But instead he wrapped his arms around her waist, lowered his face to hers, and kissed her. The kiss lasted a long time. She gave herself to it.

I’m pretty excited for this, and it’s motivating me to read the relaunch. We’ll see as of April if this holds up to the high standards the cheerleaders have left before us.

Fear Street Sagas #1 – A New Fear

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It’s a new year and a new fear. You thought Daniel and Nora Goode were the last of it? I’ve found some contentious information about the Fear Street Sagas before I started reading this one. According to several sources, the Fear Street Sagas were ghost written, but none of those sources are what I’d call trustworthy. R.L. Stine himself has sad none of his books are ghost written, and since it only takes him a few days to chug out a book, it’s unnecessary. I do feel the writing style is different in this one, but I wonder if I only felt that because I’d read it was ghost written. Either way, we’re starting the new year off ghastly.

The Cover

a-new-fear

I won’t say I don’t like this cover (pulled from Goodreads). I think the composition of it is good, and the graveyard ad the lightning are striking, though I’m not 100% sure who the woman being struck by lightning is supposed to be. Nora? I think the man and the woman look good. Definitely a lot of effort was put into this cover.

Tagline

Evil was his birthright.

I like this too! It goes with the theme of a new Fear, it’s creepy, and it doesn’t imply too much to give away the plot. A+ all around.

Summary

It’s 1900 in the village of Shadyside, and Nora is still trapped in an asylum. Like before, she attempts to tell her story, to share it with the world, and like before she’s told she’s lying, that she’s stuck with her delusions. She has a child while there, a boy she names Nicholas, who has his father’s eyes. I do not know old-timey asylum rules about patients having children, but it seems a thing they either just would not allow happen or would not allow her to keep. I mean, they don’t. She’s told the baby’s going to a new home soon, far away from the asylum, which is probably for the better if we’re all being honest, but of course Nora doesn’t want to give up her son. She’s made a rope out of human hair, which I believe Mythbusters has said can be done, and tries to climb out, only to be stopped by the doctor.

She’s held down and has her hair chopped off and cries herself to sleep. She overhears the doctor and the nurse discussing it, and the doctor says they’re going to sell the child to a rich family. As the doctor comes in to get the baby, she fights him, ripping out a chunk of his flesh, and then the fire bursts out of the hearth. Daniel emerges, wreathed in flames, and he burns the doctor down to the bone in a gruesome sequence. He sees his wife one last time, and then Nora runs with the baby, screaming at the others to get out.

She makes it, at least, and stows away on a ship. She’s freezing and starving, and she kills a rat to drink its blood. A man comes in and finds her, threatening to throw her to the sharks, and then he steals the necklace that belonged to Daniel from her neck. The rats come out in droves, scurrying all over the man, and then devouring them. The other men find her and drag her out. They call her a witch and threaten to throw her to the sea, but the sea hits first. They’re all thrown from the boat, which crashes beneath the waves. Nora puts her child in a trunk and ties it to her, thankful that it floats. She manages to weather out the storm and wakes up on a beach, gathering her son and the amulet. She throws it into the ocean, saying she doesn’t want evil to be part of his heritage. They are now Nora and Nicholas Storm.

It’s now 1919, and Nicholas is a fisherman, who hates fish and hates working everyday in the small town. He loves Rosalyn, a rich woman, who came from Spain, and whose father would never allow them to wed. He comes home to find his mother collapsed on the floor. Nora tells him in her dying words that she never told him about his family, and that his father left a legacy of… and then dies. It’s actually kind of sad, as Nicholas says he only worked to get rich for her, and there’s no one else to mourn her.

It’s fine though, because Rosemary runs up to Nicholas and tells him to get the fuck out of town. He asks her what happened, and she tells him her father engaged her to a wealthy man, and she blurt out that she loved Nicholas. Now her father wants to kill him. He promises to go and win a fortune, and she promises to marry no one else while she waits for him. Nicholas runs to gather his things and is stopped by a phantom in the road, one that looks just like him. The man only says “Shadyside” before disappearing. Nicholas buys a ticket to Shadyside and is greeted again by Rosalyn, who gifts him her favorite necklace. Its a flat silver disc with blue stones and an inscription: “Dominatium per malum”. For once, he actually translates it. Rosalyn most definitely knew what it said too, and she’s just been carrying out this “power through evil” necklace for a long ass time.

Nicholas arrives in Shadyside and walks through the streets, stopping to see the ruined mansion at the end of the road. The mansion looks so familiar to him, and he approaches. He explores the ruins, only to be stopped by a man in a wheelchair, and then a woman runs at him with a knife. She screams at him, calling him Daniel Fear, and he manages to calm her enough to ask her questions. She reveals Daniel Fear married Nora Goode, and he starts to put the pieces together. He immediately changes his name to Nicholas Fear, even though he has no other proof of this and knows no one in the community. He gets a room in a boarding house under the name Nicholas Fear. Betsy Winter runs it with her mom and starts hitting on him super hard. When he says his name, she asks him if she’s related to the crazy people, and her mom sends her off. Betsy also tells him the Fear land was bought up by Andrew Manning.

Nicholas goes to meet Andrew Manning, hoping to regain his legacy. Again, he has no real proof, and clearly no business sense. Mr. Manning is very welcoming and open to him, but laughs in his face when he asks for the money he’s owed. He tells him there’s no inheritance, and the only thing waiting for him is back taxes. Still, he gives him a job in his lumber mill. As Nicholas leaves, he runs directly into Ruth Manning on her bicycle, and he refers to her as similar to a fish, though he’s kind to her. She notices his necklace, and he tells her it’s a gift from his fiance.

Nicholas goes to his job at the mill and meets Jason and Ike. They show him the ropes, with Jason being overly cautious, and Ike is a wise guy. Betsy arrives to give Nicholas a handmade lunch, and the others comment on it. Jason is annoyed by it, and Nicholas wonders if he’s jealous. As he returns home, a rock strikes him, and Nicholas finds a note attached to it, telling him to leave Shadyside. Nicholas asks Betsy about it, and she tells the Goodes and the Fears have always fought. She tells him the Fears practiced dark magic that required blood. She mentions her mother is a Goode.

Nicholas and Ike are chopping the wood, and they stop for lunch. Nicholas tries to learn more about Jason, but Ike only makes fun of Betsy making his lunches. They switch places after lunch, and Nicholas feeds Ike the boards. One board sticks, causing the saw to jump free, slicing Ike’s fingers off. Nicholas feels a lot of guilt over this, since he’d checked the boards before starting, and the men also seem suspicious of him. He runs into Mr. Manning, who introduces Ruth to him again, and he realizes he’s trying to set him up. Betsy walks up as well. Nicholas now realizes Betsy thinks he’s flirting with him, after he told Mr. Manning about Rosalyn, and now he looks two-faced in front of both of them. Luckily Jason calls Betsy over and seems to have an argument with her.

When Nicholas arrives home, exhausted and nervous, he finds Betsy on the ground, strangled by dough, an odd way to go and I’d have to check the ballistics on that. Instead of going to the police, he runs to Mr. Manning, which may be the right thing to do in this scenario. Mr. Manning is ill, but he agrees that Nicholas should have come to him. He invites him to stay in his home. A funeral is set up for Betsy, and at it, Jason confronts Nicholas, telling him he should have died instead. Betsy is his cousin, and his hatred of Nicholas comes from the fact that he’s a Goode. Nicholas tells him to hit him if it’ll make him feel better, and Jason backs off. He walks back with Ruth, only to find her father dead.

After the body is cleared up, they sit together, and Ruth tells him her father’s last wish was that he marry her. He finds her repulsive to look at, and he tells her neither of them would be happy if they married. She agrees and invites him to stay as a guest in her house. Nicholas is now sure Jason is the one who’s behind the murders and goes to confront him. They wrassle, and then talk about their feelings. Jason says he loved Betsy and would never wish harm on her. Nicholas insists he’s innocent, and they both agree to investigate it, right as someone runs out of the shadows, stabbing Jason. Ruth kills him, and tells Nicholas he now has to marry her, or she’ll tell everyone that he did the murders. She killed everyone: Ike, Betsy, her father. She wanted to force him to depend on her, and eventually they marry.

Nicholas agrees to marry her, thinking he’ll kill her on his wedding night, take her money, and marry Rosalyn with it. They get married quickly, and Nicholas is overcome with a horrifying vision of Ruth covered in maggots. As they return to the house to celebrate, he coats her wine glass in rat poison before pouring the wine. As they prepare to toast, they’re interrupted by someone knocking at their door. Rosalyn is here! Nicholas begs her to leave, telling her he’ll come for her in the morning, but Ruth interrupts, revealing their wedding. Rosalyn is clearly struck, and Ruth offers her the wine glass to toast their happiness. Both she and Ruth drink, and Nicholas no longer knows who has the poisoned glass, but don’t worry, it was Rosalyn. She keels over immediately.

Ruth reveals to Nicholas his heritage, the necklace Rosalyn wore, that he now wears. The power is his, his birthright, and he accepts with nothing else left, he has to use that power. He doesn’t kill Ruth, instead accepting her as his evil wife, and together they break ground on what will become Fear Street. She tells him she’s pregnant with his child, and the book ends. DUN DUN DUN.

Favorite Line

As Ruth waited for his answer, an idea began to form in his mind.

A powerful idea.

An evil idea.

Fear Street Trends Anachronisms

We get some repeats of the Simon Fear myth, and Betsy says again that his daughter’s bones were missing when they were found in the woods, which is an insane image I struggle to form in my head. I did look into the history of ear piercing because Rosalyn is mentioned to have pierced ears, and it’s about the time for that to spring up in popularity, so I’ll give it to Stine. It doesn’t really feel like we’re about to hit the 1920s. It still kind of feels like the old timey pioneer days of the early books, but I’ll give it a pass for its small town aesthetic.

Rating

Like his ancestor before him, Nicholas isn’t much of a protagonist. It felt like a retread of other Fear books, and I don’t know if this added anything to the mythos. Nicholas is a dummy, though Ruth was an interesting antagonist in he end, but it didn’t quite hit it off for me. I’ll give it two wine glasses of rat poison out of five.

As a note for future updates. November and December cleaned me out physically and emotionally, and I’m trying to get back on top of projects at the moment. For the foreseeable future, I’ll be updating every other week to give myself a little more time to read and write these. 2017 is going to start a little rough for me, but I’m hoping to swing back into it soon.