Sunday, June 21, 2009

Dance of Death or "What Do Ravens, Mirrors and Dancing Have To Do With This Book? Nothing."

L.K. and I have differing views of the Saga series. While L.K. was unsure of the historical novels, she has grown to embrace, and yes, even love her Fear Street sagas. I on the other hand, remembered the historical Fear Streets with fond memories and couldn’t wait to dive into my pile.

My, how things have changed.

It has taken me foreverrrr to finish this latest saga, “Dance of Death”. I literally tried to lose the book “accidentally-on-purpose” just so I had an excuse to put the book away and never look at it again. Now, normally I will read the book and make notes throughout when the funny/ridiculous events happen. Then when I’m writing my snark, I’ll have my notes, but I’ll also have the book out, to make sure I don’t miss any important parts. However, I only have my notes with me, and I really don’t care if I miss any events. Even if I don’t remember them, I know they weren’t important. That being said, I present to you… “Dance of Death”

Hey guess what? There’s no dancing in this book. Like, at all. Apparently, R.L. got so lazy with his writing that he didn’t even bother to think about a title, just slapped whatever popped into his mind first on the cover. Being an author is easy!

So is being a cover-artist it seems. I already mentioned that there was no dancing involved in this book, so that’s points off. Both of the main characters have the wrong hair colour. The broken mirror was no mentioned in the book either. Also, there was no killer raven drooling blood. Was this cover supposed to be for a different book?

1793 Shadowbrooke, New York
Tobias, has escaped from his enemy, who is unknown to us right now. Tobias has been stabbed in the neck with a scalpel (preeeetty good clue as to who did it…) and is desperately trying to write down the secret to killing his enemy. Who is immortal? Maybe.

1873 Shadowbrooke, New York
Madeline, the sad yet beautiful, black-haired orphan has come to live with her cousins Mark and Deborah in Shadowbrooke. (Now these two characters live together and have the same last name but I couldn’t figure out if they were brother and sister or married. I always think that if I can’t tell whether people are related or married, it’s creepy no matter what. Hence my aversion of the White Stripes.) Anyways Madeline self-monologues about how NOT crazy she is, which is a sure sign that she’s nutters. On the way to Mark and Deborah’s house, the horse gets startled by a man on the road and the driver yells to Madeline to jump out of the carriage. Which she does, and then she proceeds to get tramped by the horse. Somehow, I think that situation could have been handled better… Note also that the driver didn’t jump, so I like to think it was just a cruel joke.

She’s knocked out, but thankfully a doctor lives in the house next door and comes to rescue you her. Or just hold her head creepily. She comes to and meets Dr. Justin Fear, who is blond haired and blue eyed “just like angels”. (Did you know they don’t let brunettes into heaven?) Madeline immediately falls in love with the doctor even though his hands are cold and clammy, like a snake’s (or Death’s). She mentions the man on the road and the driver says there wasn’t one. Is Madeline already showing her crazy?

The doctor takes Madeline to Deborah and Marks house. This chapter was boring, so I’ll just write what my notes said instead of recapping: “Judgemental  M & D are old. Molly-maid  Fear is EVIL! An “illness” that makes his touch unpleasant.”
So apparently I think old people are judgmental (they are) and I was suspicious of Justin’s so-called “illness”.

That night Madeline gets woken up by the man she saw startle the horses. He tries to attack her then runs away, so OF COURSE Madeline follows. What else is a crazy girl with head trauma to do? She follows him into a dead end and he disappears. But don’t worry, things don’t go back to normal. Instead a REALLY crazy old woman comes wandering up, looking for TOBIAS.

This is Tobias, pre-scalpel-to-the-neck. He is Justin Fears best friend and they are working on the secret to eternal life. They live next door to each other, with a secret lab in the basements which connect to both houses. They may be in love, I’m not sure. Tobias isn’t exactly very confident since he’s terrified that his fiancĂ©, Honoria will leave him for Justin Fear, even though she outwardly says she hates him and can’t wait for them to move away from Justin. Tobias has got some self esteem issues.

After weeks of working on a manuscript, Tobias has finally discovered that the key to immortality is BLOOD. Delicious!

Deborah finds Madeline in the hallway with the nutso woman. Apparently, her name is Auntie and she came with the house. For Reals. It was in the agreement that they have to keep this old woman and let her live there. I hope they got a good deal on this house. Madeline actually thinks the same thing.

The next day, Madeline receives an invitation to visit Justin Fear at his house. Deborah gets her all dressed up in a nice white dress and sends her over. After Madeline and Justin exchanged a few passionate kisses (my word!) Justin gives her a rose. O, did I say gives her a rose? I meant, he mashes a rose into her hand so hard that the thorns cut her and she starts to bleed profusely. So, like any reasonable person, he starts to “greedily” drink her blood.

This part was also boring so I’ll just give you my notes again. I personally, think it makes for a better story. “The secret is vampire? Justin offers to share Hormonia.” It envokes images of some sort of vampiric-threeway, which really would have spiced up this story

Madeline is screaming at Justin for drinking all her blood, but he explains he “has to” because the rose was poisonous. (I’d be wondering why he gave it to her in the first place) Madeline also doesn’t like his excuse and beats it out of there. Once home, Deborah convinces Madeline that she was just flustered by the hot make-out action (Justin’s lips by the way, were “firm and demanding”). Deborah makes Madeline march right back over there and apologize.

She goes back to Fear Mansion to apologize for being mad about him sucking her blood, when she gets accosted by that darned man that keeps popping up everywhere! She notices for the first time however, that he’s floating about a foot off the ground, and is obviously a ghost. She runs away from him, but somehow falls into a giant hole. Justin again comes to rescue her. He “forgives” her for acting rudely when he was sucking her blood, and asks her to marry him.

Madeline is so excited and says yes. She tells herself that she’s sure he’s the one and that they’re not moving too fast. Even though they met yesterday and half and hour ago he drank your blood. DRANK YOUR BLOOD.

When Madeline tells Mark and Deborah the good news, they’re over the moon for her. Auntie isn’t too happy though, and warns her that Justin is a “soul thief”. Well, that’s ominous.

Tobias and Justin are fighting over Honoria. According to Justin, you can only steal the soul of very beautiful girls. Honoria’s all “Deal with this then!” and slashes a huge cut down the side of her face. Justin’s all “Noooo!” which is hilarious. Then he stabs Tobias in the throat. Tobias knows he needs to write down Justin’s weakness before it’s too late.

Justin and Madeline have an engagement party, although I have no idea who would go. Deborah and Mark? During dinner, Madeline goes upstairs to investigate her future husband. She finds a pitch black room, filled with four portraits of women, in wedding dresses, with Justin. Surprise, they’re all dead! (No polygamy here) There’s also a blank portrait with her name on it…

Madeline tells Mark and Deborah her fears at home that night. Her fear that Justin is trying to steal her soul because she’s sooooo beautiful. Mark and Deborah tell her tough titties, she’s getting married. I never really understood what they were getting out of this arrangement with Justin. Madeline is having a crisis. She knows that if she scars herself ala Honoria, she’ll be safe from Justin. But she’s just not sure it’s worth it! …Okay…
The “cousins” lock her in her room, but luckily, Madeline finds the secret passageway that leads to the shared basement from Tobias’ time.

She sees the ghost again, who was obviously the ghost of Tobias. Justin also bursts into the secret laboratory and he and Tobias wrestle. Which seems odd for a ghost to do. Finally, Justin “plunges his hands into Tobias” and Tobias disappears. Is that really how you kill a ghost? Punch it?

Justin goes to kill Madeline but bad-ass Auntie comes running out of nowhere and attacks him. Justin manages to throw off Auntie and tries to hypnotize Madeline to give him the knife. He promises that they’ll get married…! Madeline ain’t fallin’ for his shit anymore though, and proceeds to slash him across the eyes. Also bad-ass! Anyways, all the blood of his victims come pouring out and he dies. The tree roots come to life and kill Mark and Deborah. Then Auntie dies, but it’s okay because she’s reunited with Tobias. You see, Auntie was… Honoria! Didn’t see that one coming.

The book ends with Madeline starting a new life in a new town. A town called… Shadyside. Dun dun dunnnnnnn!

Yeah, I can’t stand these sagas anymore. I think, thankfully, I don’t have that many more left. I’m for sure doing a regular Fear Street for my next one. Dance of Death gets 12 un-read journals written by Tobias with a scalpel sticking out of his throat out of 43. Because, after all his effort, no one read his blood-soaked journal.


Anonymous said...

I guessed that Honoria would be Auntie (sans scar?), but I didn't foresee tree root deaths. Or, for that matter, a fierce wrestling match with a ghost. Hmm, I think one of the cancelled Sagas was meant to have involved a Fear who was a doctor... and the title had ravens in it! So I don't know.

HelenB said...

Tobias has finally discovered that the key to immortality is BLOOD.

Oh man, the secret to immortality is always blood. R. L. Stine has some serious issues but I guess you already knew that.

Maybe he was contracted to write a book called "Dance of death", but wrote a completely different story to the one he was intending?

Anonymous said...

Could be. Sometimes a book can change completely from an early synopsis, but it's rare for the title to change too. So yeah, I'd guess this was farmed out to maybe a ghostwriter who was given a few plot elements but didn't end up including a dance. Or, you know, it's a metaphorical dance, and it's the cover artist who had no idea what they were doing.

L. K. Stine said...

O my goodness, that book was the biggest wtf! I'm sorry you had to read that, but the recap made me laugh. I especially like your notes you make, I think you should make that a feature. Did you know you referred to Honoria once as Hormonia? That was awesome.

A. M. Stine said...

Hahah I actually knew I referred to her as the wrong name at one, but by the end of the recap I just didn't care. Could not be bothered to find the mistake.

Sadako said...

"Could not be bothered to find the mistake."
This still makes you about a thousand times better at fact checking than R.L.

Anonymous said...

I read a Goosebumps book recently in which R.L. got the name of one of his own characters wrong, so reviewers can be excused for such mistakes.

Mr. Green said...

Honoria sounds like gonnorhrea........ewwww......

The World of Lurlene Mcdaniel said...

This one was actually my favorite fear street saga book out of them all. I'm a sucker for sappy romances and i thought the plot was really good.

my other favorite is the awakening evil because it explains all about sarah fear and everything. So yeah.

great blog post by the way.

Broken1again said...

I didnt really like this book that much either, I started it, stopped, read another then came back to this one. on a note: they did actually dance at the engagement party. (Chapter 20 pg 18) Which lasted a few moments b4 she ran upstairs and saw the dead brides...I did alot of skimming in this book because I didnt find much interest in the whole story...the only good part I think was the ending with her moving to great ol shadyside