Friday, September 26, 2008

The Secret or "Stop Fingering That Damn Amulet!"


I’m back with more Fear Street Original SAGA to share! I have to apologize for not being as prolific of a writer as a certain Ms. L.K. Stine, however my only excuse is that going to my two classes and watching tons of TV takes a lot of time, okay? But getting on the terrifying second book of the series: The Secret! This is one of the books that I owned as a child. I actually owned the Collectors edition, which had all three books in one! Unfortunately, it was so thick that my copy broke into like 5 pieces. I remember being upset, I liked the series THAT much.

Cover is good. Most of it is again taken up by a pretty face, although this time I’m not sure exactly who this girl is supposed to be. I’m pretty certain it’s Elizabeth Fier, but there are so, SO many characters in these books, who knows? Some good fire and gravestone imagery in the foreground, but I don’t know what that weird flower holder thing-y is. Help here? Looks like it should attach to something. Needless to say, that is NOT important to the story. Why you gotta trick us, cover-artist?

Again these books are divvyed up with prologues, epilogues, and different time periods. Awesome! We start back in 1900…

Village of Shadyside, 1900

Nora Goode is still writing the history of the Fiers. She’s still stressed because she HAS to finish by sunup. Except she made that little rule up herself, so … she’s a little slow. Have I mentioned that? She stressed when someone walks past her room, because no one can see it before she’s done! Jeez, girl, relax a bit! No one has a gun to your head! Well, at least as far as I can tell.

Wickham Village, Massachusetts, 1737

So the Fier family is back! Ezra Fiers grandparents fled Wickham village many years before after killing innocents and stealing from everyone. And someone had the bad manners to put a curse on them! Anyways, Ezra has spent his whole life searching for the Goodes to get them back. He’s moved his entire family (Wife Jane, 12 year old John, 8 year old Abby, and 3 year old Rachel) like 4 times looking for the family. Question? Why would Ezra have looked ANYwhere besides the village that the Goodes were from? I hate Ezra. Who would marry this nutter?

So Wickham is now a ghost town. Except replace the word “ghost” with “rotting corpses” and you get the picture. Ezra still insists that they settle on the outskirts of (rotting) town, incase the Goodes left any ‘clues’. What, like a map? I love how Jane says she gets a “bad feeling” from the town. O RLY?! All the houses and hotels and common areas full of dead people gives you a “bad feeling”?! I see now why Jane married Ezra. She’s been lobotomized.

They find the Goodes house and realize that they were the only family to escape the ‘plague’. Ezra is PISSED and decides to settle in their house. Ezra displays some of that famous Fear Street macho charm: “From now on I expect obedience from all of you – obedience and nothing else!” Whatever, weirdo. Man, Jane must have had a hard time controlling herself in front of the kiddos. It’s mentioned that little red-haired Abby is the only one that Ezra really loves. Ooo BURN, blond haired Rachel!

Abby and John start going into the town every day to bury the bones of puppies they find. Which is heartbreakingly sad! (One of the best scenes: John goes to get a shovel from a house and when he opens a cupboard… a corpse falls out! Why the eff would a corpse be in a kitchen cupboard! It was a plague, not effing “Scream 4”). One day they find the bones of a little girl and Abby wants to bury her. When John is off finding a girl-sized box, Abby finds … a new friend! A little girl, her age has mysteriously appeared. I think you know where this is going…

Right, she’s a ghost. Unfortunately (for me!) not a zombie. Hester lures Abby to play at ‘her’ house and Abby never comes home. When Ezra and John go to look for her (in the graveyard, where else?) they find a gravestone for a Hester Goode. And beside it is … Abby Fier’s grave! They dig her up in a panic but unsurprisingly she didn’t make it through the afternoon in a grave.

Western Massachusetts, 1743

So it’s been a few years and the family has moved on. I mean literally, they’ve moved. Because from the sounds of things… Ezra has NOT moved on from his revenge fantasies. Every night before bed, Ezra tells Rachel the story of the family curse. WTF? That’s her bedtime story? “Well, we burned some witches, and then this dude got mad and murdered our family, and then your sister was buried alive when she was just about your age! Sleep tight!”

They’ve just moved into their new house and a neighbour comes to the door to welcome them. Well, what do you know? It’s a hot teenager the same age as John! Coincidence? Probably. Hot girl’s name is Delilah. She says her last name is Wilson but we know better. You KNOW she’s a Goode. John thinks about how poor she looks, but is okay with it because she’s super hot. Wow! She must be REALLY hot for someone to be overlooking her poverty.

Creepy things keep happening around the Fier homestead, like mysterious animal screams (do animals scream?) and their well bucket is full of blood in the morning! Ezra thinks that the curse must have caught up with them, and fingers his amulet. You know, the one that says “Power through evil”? Their family motto? Ever wonder if the bad things are related to that, EZRA? Throughout this time though, John is falling in love with Delilah as they take daily walks together. John confides in Delilah, telling her all about the curse and their recent bad luck. Probably a bad idea, John. Things take a turn for the TERRIBLE, when they can’t find their mother one morning. My guess was Jane had enough of crazy, verbally abusive Ezra and took off.

Nope, I got it wrong! They find her drowned in the well. They were able to pull her out using the formerly-filled-with-blood well-bucket. How big is that damn bucket? John visits Delilah to seek comfort but guess what she tells him. You’re never going to guess! She’s a GOODE! Whoa! To be honest, I bet that blew my 9 year old mind back in the day. But she didn’t do anything to his family, she just loves John. They decide to end the curse by marrying.

Ezra catches wind of these shenanigans and storms the church with a rifle! Stay classy, Ezra. John and Ezra fight which ends with John stumbling around with a rifle and it going off randomly. Who wants to bet Delilah kicks it? Yup, she goes down! The minister, who is conveniently her father, cowers in terror since Ezra is still trying to kill all the Goodes in town. The minister confesses that they aren’t Goodes (WHAT?) but were using that excuse so John would marry Delilah even though she’s poor. Aw, poor Delilah! Didn’t she realize that being super hot in Fear Street is almost as good as being super rich? Ezra runs from the church only to be trampled by a horse. Random. John decides that the curse ends HERE and buries that GD amulet in the garden, under the apple tree. At least someone in the whole book had a little bit of sense!

Village of Shadyside, 1900

Nora is STILL stressing about writing this book before dawn. Shut UP about your self inflicted deadlines! She does something useful for once and explains that the curse was dormant for 100 years from that point. My explanation? R.L. realized that if he had to think of stories to cover the years 1600-1900, it was going to take a shitload of time and books. I bet this whole “curse dormant for 100 years” was thought up mid-book, after 12 coffees, some writers block and a fast approaching deadline.

Western Massachusetts, 1843

We meet the new generation of Fiers. Simon (O we’ve heard that name before, haven’t we?), Kate and our stories ‘heroine’, Elizabeth. Liz is outside digging in her garden (right were the old apple tree used to be. Weird!) when she finds an old amulet. She doesn’t know what the saying means, but wears it anyways. When she puts it on, she feels immediately like she’s being consumed with fire. BUT DECIDES TO KEEP IT ON and forgets about the incident. WHAT?

Soon a drifter comes to the door asking for food in exchange for doing some work. These Fiers are kind-hearted and give him food, a bath and a bed for the night. His name is Frank and Liz is all titillated by him. She even saw his BACK in the bath! (peeping? Nice). This part of the book is a little different because we get to hear Frank’s perspective. And thank goodness, because Frank is a total psycho whose last name happens to be… Goode! Liz and Frank start going for walks every day, which in those days I guess meant dating? Or full on engaged? I have no clue, all these characters ever do is walk in the woods, then decide to get married. Here is some classic Fear Street courtship:
‘“Someday you might need a real protector. The world is full of danger, Elizabeth.” His eyes were shining as he said this, and Elizabeth’s heart swelled.’
BLECH! Who thinks that’s romantic? His eyes were shining thinking about killing you, then bathing in your blood! (well I don’t know this, but I can only assume!)

Anyways, Kate, Liz’s sister that we didn’t care about until now, comes rushing in a few days later announcing she’s engaged to Frank. Liz is all WTF, bitch!?!? and runs out into the woods. Kate rushes after her. Simon goes to get the girls after a few minutes and sees that Kate has been stabbed through the heart with a knitting needle! Simon is a little wary of Liz… Liz comes back home all crazy (“Kate was a liar. Frank loves Elizabeth") but still maintains she didn’t kill Kate. Simon flees the craziness while their parents discuss what to do with their nutter daughter.

Simon wanders through the woods and is accosted by an old woman who the townspeople think is a witch. This “Aggie” tells him that Liz is innocent and Franks is a GOODE who’s out to kill his family. She lets him in on a secret: Since their name “Fier” can also spell FIRE, that is how his family will be destroyed. Riiight. She also gives him a dagger that has poison on the very tip, so he only needs to scratch his opponent. Aggie isn’t so trusting of Simon’s killing Skillz, is she?

Simon runs home to discover Frank menacing Liz with an axe. “The axe he had used to murder Simon’s parents.” How did Simon know that automatically? Anyways, he scratches away at Frank (a plunge to the heart would have worked just as well Simon) but nothing happens at first. The poison, knowing all along what it was doing, waited until for the most dramatic second, right when Frank is about to kill poor Lizzy, to kick in! Breathe sigh of relief! Franks collapses, totally dead. Liz gives Simon her amulet to “protect” him, and Simon realizes that “Goodness is weakness.” …Yeah, that was the lesson to be learned here. He also decides to change their last name so the curse won’t affect them anymore. “Now and forever I will be known as Simon FEAR.”

Village of Shadyside, 1900

Nora cries into her book and wishes Simon FEAR had been right. But she does tell us that the tale of Simon FEAR is the most horrifying of all! Can’t wait!

Confession time. While reading this book, I TWICE had to put it down because it was creeping me out! Of course, I was reading it at night, but even still… it was shameful, okay? But it means it was good. How good? 15 poison daggers out of 17!

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Maybe the curse on the Fiers is one of stupidity, causing them to forever be doing foolish things that bring death and misery upon their heads.

Also, he's concerned about his name Fier, so he changes it to Fear? Does that strike anyone else as not an improvement? He could have called himself "Fir." But then maybe his family would be destined to die via fir trees falling on them.

LAK said...

So, this is the best Fear Street ever as it was actually almost a horror novel?

One has to wonder if RL had someone do some ghost writing for him. It seems there are the really good books and the ones that are so horrid they are actually hard to read. For example-perhaps he wrote this one himself? Compared to say, The Surprise Party?

A. M. Stine said...

You're giving the credit to R.L. Maybe he wrote the Surprise Party and everyone was like "OMG you are SO dull." so they just put in ghostwriters after that. I'd believe it

Anonymous said...

this was my first Fear Street book and I loved it so much!! that you for recapping it!

Anonymous said...

I really loved this book. Aside from the fact that this Trilogy itself is quite awesome (okay the 3rd one isn't THAT good), This book was awesome due to Jonathan Fier.

That dude has got to be the best character ever from all the Fear Street books. With a year like 1690, we all knew there'll be a time-skip, I'm just gonna drown myself in the awesomeness of how Jonathan actually stopped the curse for about a 100 years. Hardcore, man. Hardcore.

bardicfeline said...

Hey, random question...I vaguely remember reading one or two of these Saga books way back in Junior High, so I've forgotten a lot of the plot, but I remember weird details. And for some reason, I remember one of the Saga books (I THINK it was this one) having a part where the characters are celebrating something (I want to say it may have been the part where Simon Fier renames himself FEAR, haha), and they are drinking wine. One of the characters comments on the taste and wants to know what kind it is, and other is like LOL IT'S BLOOD, and the first character is WEIRDLY COOL ABOUT THIS and I think they share a laugh and keep drinking.
So my question: Did something like this ACTUALLY happen in the book, or did I completely imagine it?

ayi oyeah said...

Bardicfeline, you weren't just imagining it. The characters you were talking about are Simon and Angelica Fear, celebrating their victory after Simon killed Angelica's father.