Fear Street Sagas #3 – Forbidden Secrets

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Y’all, I want to apologize in advance for this one. I actually read this in October with the intention of writing up a recap then, but this one was so bad I couldn’t justify it. I’ve honestly debated skipping it because it’s that bad, but I set out to read every Fear Street story, and that includes this one.

The Cover

forbidden secrets

The cover (taken from Simon & Schuster’s website) I actually like. The contrast is on point, the delicate woman next to a rose dripping blood is classic, and while the creepy doll is out of place, at least it’s something. It depicts a woman being consumed by darker things, and I appreciate that.

Tagline

She learned to love, honor… and fear.

I also really like this! The ellipses are unnecessary, but it plays into the themes of the novel without revealing too much. A great start to a terrible book.

Summary

We open in Blackrose Manor, where an ancient woman rambles on about how she misses her home in Whispering Oaks. She murmurs her story to absolutely no one, but starts the tale of Savannah and Victoria, and how they met Tyler Fier. She mentions that both girls were in love with him, which I think is to keep us on our toes on which sister survives???? except Victoria at no point is like “he’s evil but I’m still into it”.

We start our story proper on the Whispering Oaks plantation in 1861. Remember how I was mildly uncomfortable in the last book because it was sent in the south during the Civil War, which meant all our characters’ loyalties belonged to the slave owners? So in this book, the main characters are slave owners, and Tyler Fier comes from the north, which puts us in a fun wacky “who’s the real monster” kind of mindset (It’s still Tyler). The previous book managed to avoid it by having no real mention of the Civil War except in scene setting and Stine not pulling a Django Unchained, but the main plot of this book sort of hinges on that, so like.

Which is to say, it’s Savannah’s birthday! The slaves are setting up for the party while Savannah waits for her brother Zachariah and his friend Tyler to return from their ride. She’s sort of how Scarlett O’Hara presents herself, and when she suspects the boys are coming back, she goes inside to gather a parasol and make herself a grand entry. She’s stopped by her mother, who asks about her sister Victoria. Savannah’s worried about her sister because she “was fascinated by the dark arts some of the slave women practiced”. Oofadoof. But she ignores her mother’s request to find her sister and greets Tyler. The two of them take a walk together into the woods, where they start macking. He says he must leave soon, and she’s heartbroken until he asks her to marry him. They’ll announce the marriage at the picnic. But Savannah hears something behind her and sees her sister darting through the trees. She follows her into the slave quarters and hears something squeal in terror, and whens he pushes open the door, Victoria is covered in blood.

The word voodoo is never said, possibly because Stine knows as much about voodoo as your average non-practitioner, but we see Victoria holding a piglet in a half circle of candles. She takes the blood of the piglet and sprinkles it on the candles, saying words we recognize: Dominatio per malum. She brings a knife over the piglet, but Savannah knocks her over. Victoria is still in her trance as Savannah tries to wake her, and Victoria shouts that Tyler is cursed, that all the Fiers are cursed, and they will be cursed if Savannah marries him. Savannah’s pretty sure Victoria’s just jealous, to which Victoria repeats that his presence only means death. Savannah’s not convinced otherwise.

As they leave the shack, they see Tyler and have an exchange that might be the best in any book:

“I want to make your sister happy,” he told Victoria firmly.

“Then leave her.” Victoria walked away without another word.

Drop the mic Victoria! The two lovers turn to each other and say they’ll be together forever right as a rider gallops towards them screaming, “War!” Also holding up a newspaper? Someone will have to fact check for me the rate of information travel, but that feels a bit much for me. He tells them that Fort Sumter has been fired on, and Savannah realizes with dawning horror that her beloved is now officially a soldier. He asks if she’ll wait for him, and she says of course, and he’ll fight alongside her brother, to which he responds no. He’s from the North. His loyalties lie with the North. He offers to marry her today, and then they’ll leave for his home in Massachusetts, and Savannah becomes livid. Her home and family is in the South. She can’t just leave that. Her rejection makes him angry, and he demands that she come with him one more time. Savannah runs away. But Tyler screams at her once more that she’ll regret choosing her home and family and everything she knows over him, and that he is a man who keeps his promises.

The old woman babbles some more. She says the slaves ran, their parents died, and the two began to starve in their home. They have no money left and no one to tend the fields, so the pair struggle to find food. There’s a scene where they eat worms that comes across as more comical than horrifying, which kind of undercuts the whole “slowly starving in our decaying mansion in the South” thing but it’s probably fine. Savannah sleeps uneasily and hears a noise in the hall. She opens the door to see Zachariah, but he smells of gunpowder and bleeding profusely. He opens his mouth to speak and blood pours out, and Savannah wakes. She half-tells Victoria her dream, not wanting to scare her, and notices a dark stain where Zachariah was standing in her dream. This does nothing and never really comes back, except they receive a letter from Tyler saying Zachariah’s dead and he saw it happen, making him realize she’s more important than any war. Victoria’s heartbroken about their brother, but Savannah is scared for Tyler. She begs Victoria to do some magic to see if he’s alright.

Victoria takes her sister to her room where she prepares a ritual. She holds up a pair of chicken feet for Savannah to kiss, which she does. Victoria then paints them in blood and makes markings on the letter. The room gets ice cold as she picks up the letter and burns it, sparking outrage from Savannah. She still thinks her sister is jealous, but Victoria tells her that Tyler Fier will destroy her if they allow him back. The old woman is back and says they’d be so much happier if they never received the letter. A bluebird flies up to her, and she tears its head off. I don’t know why.

It’s now 1865, and Savannah and Victoria have managed a small garden. Savannah’s working on it when a soldier approaches her. He tells her the war is over and he is going home. Savannah races up to Victoria’s room to tell her, only to find her sister rocking back and forth and talking to Tyler Fier, threatening to destroy him. When Savannah tells her the news, Victoria says that no one will be coming home to them. Only Tyler Fier. She hands Savannah a pouch to ward off evil. Savannah tells her she doesn’t need it. After a few weeks, destiny comes for them, and Tyler Fier arrives at the manor. He asks her again if she’ll marry him, to which she says yes, and he tells her he can’t wait to take her to Blackrose Manor. Savannah’s uncertain to leave behind her home, but last time it ended kind of badly, so she agrees.

They arrive at Blackrose Manor as a storm threatens them overhead. They enter the grey stone manor and see rows of portraits, though Stine refuses to elaborate so I can tell where Tyler fits into this weird family. They also meet Mrs. Moreland, who runs the house. Victoria is nervous, but Savannah’s certain they’ll settle in. As Victoria rushes into her room, Mrs. Moreland tells her she’s wise to hide, and that the two girls should leave while they can. Savannah refuses to be scared and tells her she can return to her duties. After exploring the house a little, Savannah goes to find Tyler, only to find him in front of the portraits, screaming at them to stop staring. He stabs one over and over again. He moans to Savannah that they don’t understand what he did during the war, and she comforts him. They hear screaming and run to the staircase, where we meet Lucy.

Lucy’s never really explained properly. She was the ward of Tyler’s parents, I guess, and he treats her as a little sister. She acts like a child and flings herself into Tyler’s arms as Victoria chases after her. Lucy stole her pouch of protection, and Tyler forces her to give it back and apologize. The ladies go upstairs to prepare for dinner. It’s a strange dinner, worthy of any unsettling Crimson Peak-esque melodrama if written well, with Lucy getting upset that Victoria took her spot and being obsessed with the candles, Savannah and her sister dressed up again for the first time in ages, them enjoying a meal with real vegetables and spices. Lucy gets upset when she’s chided by Tyler and knocks over the candelabra, screaming fire. When she’s scolded by Victoria, she tells them fire is so pretty and she likes the way it dances. They all decide the day has been too exciting and head up to bed. Savannah is woken by a maid and she asks her to press her dress, but they both find it torn and slashed. Lucy comes up behind them and shouts that the dress is ruined. Savannah says she doesn’t want to tell Tyler, and Lucy seems pleased to be given a secret, so she offers to show her the dolls.

We are led to Lucy’s room, which is painted black and as gloomy as the rest of the house. It’s filled with dolls: porcelain, cloth, on the dresser, on the bed, all with black hair and dark eyes. Lucy says they can’t be friends because they’re sisters, which fills Savannah’s heart. She tells her she’s always wanted another sister. Lucy asks her to pick a doll, and the one Savannah lifts up has been smashed. When she asks Lucy what happened, she tells her that she killed it. The other dolls were happy when it got hurt. They were so happy Lucy got hurt. All the dolls are named Lucy.

Savannah’s pretty hardcore in denial at this point, saying all they need to make this place better is some new paint. Victoria’s gone the other way and won’t stop screaming about evil. Victoria points out that Lucy has a big ol’ crush on Tyler, which Savannah laughs off, until Victoria tells her that Lucy is really seventeen and wants Tyler for herself. Tyler keeps giving Savannah gifts, including a horse named Whisper, Lucy tells Victoria Savannah said she always wanted a different sister, Savannah feeds her breakfast to the cat and watches it die, indicating it was poison, and then someone sets her room on fire. She tells Tyler someone is trying to kill her, and he responds by moving up the wedding date.

The servants get killed one by one, even Mrs. Mooreland, whose death forces Savannah to wonder if Victoria is behind it. She goes to find her and sees Victoria holding a knife to Tyler’s throat. He laughs at her and wonders aloud if Savannah would still be so loyal if she knew Victoria was behind all the fire. Victoria screams that she must end the curse, but Savannah rushes her and knocks her to the floor. In the struggle, the knife goes into Victoria. Savannah wails as her sister dies in her arms and promises to return her to Whispering Oaks. Tyler comforts her by saying she saved his life. He still wants to marry her. Savannah says she’s tired of being unhappy, and they plan to wed after burying her sister.

The day after the funeral, Savannah is married in black. What should be the happiest day of her life is filled with longing and regret as she remembers all the family she’s lost and how they should be here. After their wed, Savannah tells Lucy they’re really sisters now, and Lucy makes her swear to never have children, lest they also suffer the Fear curse. As the couple goes to their wedding night, Lucy screams at the both of them. Tyler still treats her like a child and never allowed her to grow up. She says that he should’ve married her instead. Tyler manages to pacify her and takes Savannah to their bedroom. When she tells him what Lucy told her in the church, he tells her that Lucy killed her parents. He thinks it’s time she’s taken away, that she might be dangerous.

She’s not taken away soon enough. Savannah finds her dead at the bottom of the stairs and rushes to tell Tyler. Only he seems to be in a laboratory of some kind, with Lucy’s hand amid vials and potions. He tells her that he killed Lucy and Mrs. Mooreland and Zachariah for good measure. He did all that for… reasons and is now going to kill her. Savannah to her credit bashes him over the head with a torch and that stabs him with a pair of metal prongs, to which he laughs and announces he died at Gettysburg. Zachariah killed him, and he managed to figure out how to live forever. He planned to come back for Savannah and live with her forever. Tyler boasts that he’ll never tire and is immortal right as Savannah bumps into his table, knocking over his vials. One breaks in Savannah’s hands, and he screams that he needed that! He needed that to be undead! So now he has to kill Savannah. He grabs her, they struggle, and then he just kind of falls over? And is dead?

Cut back to the old woman, who reveals the person she’s been talking to all along was the skeleton of Tyler!!!! Aaaaah!!!!

Favorite Line

Tyler is now a solider, she realized with sickening dread. And soldiers die!

Fear Street Trends Anachronisms

I’m actually a huge fan of Southern Gothic so this could’ve been interesting, following post-war South as two girls struggled to make ends meet, being visited by a wealthy northerner who at first seems altruistic but slowly reveals his true intentions. It definitely shares elements from a lot of gothic literature, from the weird kind of but kind of not incestuous relationship between Tyler and Lucy to the strange servants who warn of danger, but it doesn’t actually go anywhere. Like the previous book, the whole North-South conflict is glossed over. Tyler and Zachariah are said to go to West Point, and I don’t know much about the lives of military men before the Civil War, but these things don’t happen overnight. You think there’d be some conflict there before war is broken out. A lot of things are super glossed over in this book.

Rating

Like I said, I don’t like this book. Everything from the characters, the plot, the subject matter, and the pacing was totally and completely off. I’ve enjoyed the Fear Sagas so far, especially where they expanded on the Fear family, but who even is Tyler Fier? Who even are these ladies? Where does this fit into our timeline? It’s bad, I hated it, and I’m going to have to give it one creepy doll out of five.

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Fear Street Sagas #2 – House of Whispers

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The Cover

house-of-whispers

I kind of adore the cover (pulled from the Simon and Schuster website). I mean, the girl falling out the window is hella goofy, but the girl in the foreground is spooky, serious, and while it’s clearly meant to be Amy, there’s a danger to her. I also adore the title, though it has very little to do with the actual book. All in all, still a good cover.

Tagline

You will never be allowed to leave.

Again, standard, but still pretty good. Creates a sense of danger without doing very much at all.

Summary

Amy Pierce is the protagonist of this story, and we’re back in 1863. Amy’s traveling to New Orleans for the first time to live with her cousin Angelica, now Fear, for reasons. We’re told Simon is off to help in the war effort, that being the Civil War, and since all of our characters are from the South, there are many mentions of them being suspicious of the Union. People suspect Simon of selling supplies to whichever side that pays, and Amy finds it hard to believe he’d support the North. This is only mildly uncomfortable for the few times its mentioned.

Of course the Fear children are still alive. I will admit, though this probably makes the continuity all kinds of wacky, I was super disappointed in the original Fear Saga when we jump from Angelica and Simon getting together to Angelica being insane and her family falling apart. In this we get to see a lot more of Angelica, and we also get to see a lot more of the children, the girls especially, though I feel like their dynamic is slightly altered. I was re-reading my own recap of The Burning to remind myself what happened, and I did feel slightly denied of any actual interaction with Angelica. It makes this story kind of refreshing, especially since Simon is ushered out.

Anyway, Amy arrives to town, the villages warn her not to go up to the castle, Angelica greets her warmly but also in kind of a creepy way, and Amy makes nice nice with the servants. Amy’s family is stated to be poor, and she’s a little uncomfortable having Nellie make up her things and dress her. I guess she and Nellie are the same age, but Nellie’s given no actual description in this book, so I had a hard time with that. It’s only important because they bond and then Nellie dies (spoilers).

The girls are off to bed, but Julia comes by to warn Amy. As you remember, Julia is the un-favorite daughter, who makes pottery and isn’t very pretty, and she tells Amy that she should shut her door at night and lock it, because a thing made of black smoke and many faces walks the hallways at night consuming people. Before she drops that, she and Amy bond a little, and Amy gives her a silver bracelet, claiming it’s good luck. Still, Amy’s freaked out, and when she lays down she does hear crying outside her door, to which she opens it. There’s no one there, and she goes back to sleep.

The next day Amy finds Angelica in her library, and Angelica’s playing with tarot cards. She tells Amy to ask about her father, and she shows her how to use the deck. Amy feels a physical reaction to this, and she realizes she knows exactly how to read the cards despite never seeing them before. Angelica tells her that in the Pierce family, one or two women of each generation are born with an innate power. She tells her it’s a gift, and offers to teach her of the power, which is honestly really interesting, especially since we know Angelica was practicing magic before she ever met Simon. But Amy’s too scared, and she runs off, finding the children instead. They play a game of hide and seek, and Amy runs across the neighbors, who live behind a white garden fence. She sees a woman screaming in the yard, a snake coming at her. Amy cuts its fucking head off, spraying snake blood all over her, and helps the old woman up.

The woman is Claire Hathaway, and her son David comes out to help. Amy and David have a moment until Angelica comes running in. She pulls Amy away, and Amy sees David’s anger at that. Nellie comes in to help Amy change out of her clothes and starts to warn her about David Hathaway. I was waiting for the shoe to drop that David and Angelica had an affair, or that he and Nellie did, making Angelica jealous, but Angelica’s animosity towards him is never really explained, and what Nellie tries to warn her about is left a mystery. He does have a temper, but for a Fear Street love interest it’s like a normal human temper, especially since he’s hinted at suffering from PTSD. Anyway, Angelica warns Amy that David killed in war and will likely kill again.

Amy seems undeterred by any of this, and when Claire Hathaway invites her over to thank her for saving her life, she accepts. David is there as well, and at first he seems standoffish and and avoids her gaze, but she realizes he’s scarred on his face and turns his head to hide it from her. She tells him she doesn’t mind, and the eyepatch gives him a “rakish” look. He seems pleased that she doesn’t hold her tongue. He walks her back to the house, and they have a moment until they see Nellie plummeting from the third story of the Fear home.

Like The Burning, the descriptions in this book get practically gruesome. Amy runs up to Nellie and sees her eyes were shoved “deep into her skull” and white bone is exposed in her hair. Angelica runs to the rescue again, and she orders David to take Amy inside. Amy looks back and sees Angelica dabbing Nellie’s eyes with her handkerchief, which she pockets. David tries to explain to the children what happened, and Amy runs up the stairs to the study. She finds the tarot cards and feels compelled to use them. What happens next is a cliche, but the effect its used to is actually fairly well done. Amy removes the first card, and it’s Death, of course, why put a tarot deck in here if you aren’t going to use the Death card. But she pulls the second, and it’s also Death. Hands shaking, she flips the third. And its’ Death.

Things seem to calm down in the week following Nellie’s death. The family is going to a ball, and Angelica dresses up Amy, putting rosebuds in her hair. It’s hard to tell how much Angelica is grooming her, but she also puts down Amy easily, reminding Hannah that she’s prettier than her. They go to the Harvest Ball where they see David dancing with Bernice Sutherland, and Angelica’s friend Chantal Duvane comes up to speak with her. They gossip about David, and again, they sort of hint that he might be something of a playboy, or possible he’s just the most eligible bachelor in New Orleans at the moment, and every woman wants a piece. They’re all surprised when David comes up and asks Amy to dance. Angelica’s salty about it, clearly.

The song is over, and David offers to get her something to drink. Amy watches as he goes to the drink table, and then Bernice leads him away. She becomes upset, until someone screams fire, and they see Bernice running through the crowd aflame. We watch Bernice melt as Amy tries to save her, and then David saves Amy as the building crashes around her. As they run away, Amy thinks she sees flames leaping out of Angelica’s eyes, but when she looks again, her face is normal. Amy realizes she turned the Death card up three times, meaning there is one more death waiting.

David comes to comfort Amy and kisses her right after they watched a woman burn alive. Romantic. He says he’s leaving for a few days, but to meet him at the fish pond. She agrees.We then cut to her waiting at said fish pond, and David does not arrive. Instead of seeing him, she has a vision in the pond. She sees Chantal drowning. She also sees David pulling her down into the depths. Amy tries to put the vision out of her mind, but the next day, she finds Chantal in the lake, her eyes eaten out by fish. And again, she sees Angelica taking blood from the body.

Amy becomes convinced David is the killer, since all three of the women had a connection to him, and the vision showed him drowning Chantal. Amy goes again to the tarot cards to find another vision, but she feels a force stopping her, freezing her in place. She remembers what Angelica said, that the power is hers, and she breaks free. She turns over the card which I think is the High Priestess. She is then given another vision of Chantal drowning, this time existing in the vision as Chantal. Then Chantal changes to Mrs. Hathaway, and Amy realizes she’ll be the next do die.

Amy runs to the Hathaway house in the middle of the night and sees Mrs. Hathaway standing on top of the long staircase, David behind her. She screams at her to stop, sees David reach out to her, and then pull her back. David tells her she was sleepwalking, and she would’ve died down falling down the stairs if not for Amy’s arrival. They ask Amy why she’s there. Amy tells the truth. She tells them about the cards, about Angelica, about her powers, and David asks if Angelica could be the killer. Amy tells them to pretend nothing has changed, that she’ll wait for her parents to send for her, to keep Angelica’s wrath off them. David walks her back and tells her he’s in love with her. He gives her his mother’s ring. They embrace one more time, and when Amy returns to the house, Angelica is waiting for her.

Amy is sent to her room, where Julia finds her and gives her something. It’s a burnt letter. Amy’s parents have sent for her, but Angelica has been burning their letters. She’s both angry and relieved, and she considers going to David to tell him, when she sees him and Angelica arguing. Again, I was waiting for the shoe to drop that they were lovers or something, but they just have an intense argument, and he leaves. She sees Angelica do some kind of spell that summons an invisible monster. She takes out the handkerchiefs dotted with blood, and it confirms that she’s evil.

Amy manages to meet with David, warning him not to come into the garden or come to the house at night. They discuss leaving and going to her parents, and she tells him Angelica is too powerful. As she returns to the house, Angelica is waiting for her and claims they are celebrating All Hallow’s Eve. Amy is instantly suspicious, as the house is empty, including the servants and children. She makes an excuse to leave and goes to the tarot deck one more time, and every card she turns over is Death. Angelica catches her and summons her monster, the spirit made of black smoke and many faces. Angelica admits her anger over Amy’s affair with David is because she was saving David for Hannah, who would then inherit the Hathaway fortune. She killed all those women who were interested in David, or who were trying to warn Amy. The monster is set on Amy, and the black pillar absorbs her.

Amid the smoke monster, Amy sees the faces are people she knows, Chantal and Nellie and the other people Angelica killed. The faces lick her, which is super weird and creepy, and try to tear her skin off. But Amy taps into that Pierce power and sends them all away in a column of flames, knocking Angelica back. She runs, straight into David, who’s possessed by Angelica and drags her back inside. Angelica tells him to bring her to me, she says no David I love you, he breaks free. He pulls out his revolver and shoots Angelica, and they run, grabbing his mother, getting in a carriage, and get the fuck out. They see Angelica, alive and unharmed, and Amy wishes she could’ve taken Julia with her, but they say they can never go back, and they can only hope to be safe. They swear to never speak the Fear name again, and presumably go off to live happily ever after.

Favorite Line

“You have freckles,” he said.

She covered her nose with her hand. “I hate them.”

“I like freckles.”

Fear Street Trends Anachronisms

I have a lot more to talk about on this one. I mostly want to talk on the strange “All Hallow’s Eve” point at the end. It’s used to seem witchy, an old-timey way to see Halloween, but the truth is All Hallow’s Eve is a religious holiday. I talked about all this over at my old west supernatural serial, discussing specifically when Halloween and its celebration as it grew in America, and I’ll sum it up like this. It’s doubtful before the 1870s that Hallowmas would’ve been “celebrated” except with solemnity and contemplation unless the family was Irish. Pierce could be an Irish surname, but we’re not given the trappings of an Irish celebration. And honestly if this were the 1880s and set in a Victorian Halloween, I’d actually enjoy that, thanks to the Victorians loving to make everything about romance, but it’s just a few decades too early to get away with it.

I will say the Civil War stuff seems to be on track, if, like me, Stine or his ghostwriter had only read the Wikipedia page for this sort of thing. It is weird reading a book where all of the characters fully believe the subjugation of an entire race of people, but Gone With the Wind is a lot of people’s favorite epic romance, and that does a lot more preaching towards the beauty of pre-Reconstruction south that people are totally willing to let slide.

Rating

I was honestly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. It wasn’t great, but as a reprieve from the usual straight line we have to take to get the full Fear story, it was nice. I did feel in the original saga that Angelic was denied an actual interesting story, and it was nice to see her evil while free of Simon. It muddles the continuity, sure, but it was an interesting story that was genuinely disturbing in some places. Four exposed skull spirits out of five.

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.