Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Fear Street Saga: Daughters of Silence, or “Why So Boneless?”

Okay, when I first started reading the Saga series, I was just not that into them. At this point, though, I can’t even remember why. They are SHEER AWESOME. The plots are completely cracked out, the characters ridiculous, and you can’t help but love how hard the ghost writers did not try to come up with believable historical setting and backdrop. It’s like teenagers in the 90s – with dresses and maybe an accent or something. Daughters of Silence does not in any way disappoint.

Shadyside Village, 1878

Jenna and Hallie are the bestest of friends, so close they could be sisters, they always say. Hallie very sadly just moved to Shadyside Village, but it’s all good, because Jenna goes to spend the summer with Hallie’s family, the Hallidays. And I just picked up that Hallie’s name is Hallie Halliday – were her parents retarded? Anyways, the girls are excited to be together again, and on her very first night there, Jenna is taken on an adventure by Hallie. They go to the Shadyside Cemetary, where Hallie tells her some of the stories she’s heard about the infamous Fear family that live alone in the Fear mansion, particularly about the mysterious deaths of their daughters. Supposedly they died in violence, with one of them killing the other. See The Burning for an account of that. Also, the bodies were missing their bones. Now, I have read that story before, but not in The Burning. Has there ever been an actual account about why the bodies had no bones? How did that work, and why? Somebody please tell me.

Anyways, they sneak up to the scary Fear crypt and sneak in, where they immediately have the living shit scared out of them by a very insane Angelica Fear. They apologize, and try to get away, but she goes from being furious to all crafty and fake-nice once she really sees the two girls in front of her. She keeps on repeating “like sisters” under her breath. Hmmm. She invites them to come visit at the Fear mansion, which is the polite thing to do when you find someone trespassing in your crypt.

Hallie really wants to go to the Fear mansion, because she has no friends in Shadyside yet, and thinks hanging out with uber-creepy people would be an ice-breaker. She might want to rethink that plan, but let’s go with it. They go to the mansion the next day, where they meet Simon Fear, who is creepy and mean, until Angie comes around and meaningfully tells him these girls are “like sisters.” He goes all sleazy polite, and the girls are invited in and fed lots of nice food. For an added treat, the Fears show them to their dead daughter’s bedrooms, which are still done up like they’re alive. In Hannah’s room, she has a voodoo doll collection, with long silver needles stuck into places they shouldn’t be. That Hannah was always a charmer. Hallie is given a heart-shaped locket of Hannah’s, which she puts on and loves immediately. Then they go to Julia’s room, where Jenna is given a crystal bracelet of hers – but she doesn’t want to put it on, because the whole thing is really inappropriate. They make her, and she immediately feels like she’s burning up in flames. The Fears pass this off as overheating, but that doesn’t stop Jenna from taking off the bracelet as soon as they are out of sight. Hallie acts weird and out of it, and agrees to return soon to the Fear mansion.

The girls get into a fight on the way home, because Jenna rightfully points out it is weird for the grieving parents to give away their daughter’s stuff to them, but Hallie wants them to give her more presents. So, Hallie is greedy, opportunistic, and a bit of a social climber. What a lovely girl. She runs off, leaving Jenna alone in the woods. She takes a tumble, and lands in a puddle of blood on the forest floor. A tree nearby has a perfect bloody handprint on it, and a long silver voodoo needle stuck into it. Jenna screams, then screams some more when she sees a man in the woods and flees. He chases her down and tackles her. It turns out he’s just a helpful, attractive boy her age. He must be from Shadyside – they always chase down women and tackle them when they want to help. It's like how they say hi.

He tells her his name is Rob Smith, and he works for the Fears as their grounds keeper. Then he blacks out. So, he’s sketchy too. Apparently he has amnesia, has no idea where he comes from, and occasionally just passes out. What an intriguing back story. He walks her back to the Hallidays, but you know he’ll be back. Jenna wants to talk to Hallie about the voodoo needle, but Hallie suspiciously has no recollection of the voodoo dolls. As she excessively fondles her locket.

The next morning, they go to a barn raising. What fun! Except all Hallie wants to do is visit the Fears, because she is so totally under their thrall. At the barn raising, Hallie acts totally out of character by coming on STRONG to Rob, then terrifying a group of girls by bringing up her acquaintance with the Fears. Hallie then turns on Jenna, screaming and her, then cursing everything and anyone around them.

Jenna watches as a shadow steals along the frame of the barn, as the frame starts shaking uncontrollably, then collapses. The barn raising turns into a good old fashioned rescue mission, getting all the men buried under the wreckage. Jenna finds Rob, and he’s all romantic and gracious, saying he’s in her debt. One man is found impaled on a two by four, which sets Hallie off into hysterical giggles, then sobs. She wails she made it happen, then basically goes comatose.

Hallie is taken to bed, where she lies in a deep sleep. Jenna stays with her, and finds Hallie keeps on getting up and trying to leave in her sleep. She sees that Hannah’s locket has left a deep, heart-shaped bruise on Hallie’s skin, which would give me chills. Inspecting Julia’s crystal bracelet, Jenna finds her hands try to put it on her of their own accord. She tosses it away, and tries to remove the locket from Hallie. This seems to cause Hallie severe pain in her sleep, and she starts to cry tears of blood. This also gave me chills. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that this book actually freaked me out a little.

Jenna is freaked out too, so decides to go find Rob to see if he can help. She is found by Angelica instead, on the Fear property, and is invited in for tea. This time, she goes to refuse, only she’s compelled to walk inside. The Fears are unhappy that she’s not wearing Julia’s bracelet, and even less happy when they discover Jenna is friends with Rob. Jenna finally gets the willpower to stand up and leave, and both Simon and Angelica are upset by this – clearly she is not under their thrall. They call her Julia on her way out.

Jenna continues her mission to find Rob, but instead finds an empty, decrepit cottage. It is not full of helpful dwarves, or handsome men for that matter, it is full of bones. From their daughters??!! I am so curious about these bones things. She flees once more, and does manage to find Rob’s cottage. He vows to protect her, but for a moment he goes – blank – like he’s not all there. Then he starts right back up again, like nothing happened. This sets all kinds of warning bells off for Jenna – a girl’s gotta trust her intuition after all – and she’s seen so much weird shit that night, she takes off.

And is chased through the woods by a giant bird or something. I’m still not convinced a bird can chase you to the extent that it “herds” you to a place, which seems to happen an awful lot in the saga series, but when Jenna stops running, she is standing ominously in front of the Fear crypt. The stone angel turns to look at her, and the trees around her start bleeding. Ominous indeed. Jenna turns to flee once again, but she is chased by a black mist that chokes her with the smell of rot and waste. I bet it’s the same black mist that eats people from House of Whispers. A skeletal hand grabs her skirts, but Jenna manages to make it to the cemetery gate, where the mist doesn’t follow.

Safe? Of course not. Because who should be sleepwalking up the street but Hallie, who is at this point totally gone, and is just an evil puppet of the Fears. Hallie is super strong as she grapples with Jenna, and in the fight, Jenna rips the neck of Hallie’s nightgown. She is pretty horrified to see the heart shaped locket has been covered by her skin, and is glowing in her chest. Bet she’s pretty darn happy she took off that bracelet! Hallie starts to strangle Jenna to death, but Simon Fear arrives to stop her. The Fears welcome them as daughters, and then the stone angel jumps to life and surrounds them.

Jenna wakes up in the basement of the Fear mansion, with Hallie all blank and doll-like next to her. Valiant Rob comes to rescue her, as he has heard the Fear’s nefarious plan to take Jenna and Hallie’s spirits and put them into their daughter’s corpses. Just then Simon walks in, and Rob goes to hide. Jenna accuses Simon of being evil, and he’s pretty much: “Yup, for sure.” Which was kind of awesome. Rob chooses this moment to run at him with a shovel, but Simon commands him to stop. Oops, he’s enthralled too, which isn’t that much of a surprise, and is forced to put Julia’s bracelet on Jenna. The truth comes out about Rob: He’s actually some dude the Fears killed, then brought back to life as an experiment. Only it wasn’t permanent. As Simon says this, he fingers the famous Fear amulet (!!) and Rob dries up and dies in front of them.

The Fears then bring out their daughter’s skeletons. So, is this the story I was waiting for? The daughter’s bodies were found without bones, because their parents’ removed them while planning to evilly resurrect them? That’s … so very creepy, and exactly perfect for Fear Street I think. Well done, ghost writer. The black mist comes up, and surrounds the skeletons, making them get up and walk around. Julia’s skeleton goes towards Jenna, while Hannah goes after Hallie. The girls are glowing, which Jenna realizes is their spirits leaving their bodies. The skeletons get all excited, talking about how they will be alive again. Until – Julia Skeleton sees her pretty trinket on another girl’s wrist, and snatches it off, screaming that it was hers and she wanted it back. Suddenly, Jenna is free and crashes into Hallie, taking the skeletons out at the same time. So – it’s pretty ironic that their parent’s long planned resurrection of their daughters is ruined because said daughters are psychotically spoiled, hey?

Simon grabs for Jenna, but she manages to take his amulet. He orders Hallie after her, and the girls struggle on the floor for a bit, until Jenna grostesquely rips the locket out of Hallie’s chest, leaving an open gaping wound. Yikes. But it works, as Hallie comes back. The Fears throw black fire at them, but they manage to escape.

The girls run to the Halliday’s place, where Hallie’s parents are super mad at them. They think the whole “The Fears tried to remove our spirits and put them in their daughters’ skeletons which they removed in order to resurrect them” is just a line to get out of trouble for being out late. I know I’ve used that line many a time before. Then Jenna has the idea to show them the gaping wound in Hallie’s chest. Only it’s not a hole anymore, it’s a perfect heart shaped black mark over her chest. The Hallidays are horrified and hightail it out of Shadyside. I like these Hallidays, they seem like sensible people. The girls are safe, but they realize there will be others that fall victims to the Fear’s evil.

Awesome! I swear this book actually scared me. A little. Like, sometimes, I was kind of holding my breath, and had to tell my self that breathing was a good thing. Pretty sure that’s the sign of a good horror. This is why I’ve grown so found of the saga series. And can we please talk about how freaking creepy the girls on the cover are. I can almost here them saying "The dead are listening" in creepy little girl sing song voices. Chills. 18 spoiled skeletons out of 18.


Alex said...

Thanks for doing this book,I want to read it now. =]

HelenB said...

Jenna sounds surprisingly smart for a Fear Street heroine! She's practically a miracle all by herself.

Anonymous said...

Oh wow, continuity-heavy Fear Street! I'm impressed.

Devika said...

I don't know if it's just me, but anytime I see or hear the name "Rob Smith" I think of The Cure, which is certainly less frightening than a reanimated corpse.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and I didn't think the girls on the cover looked that creepy. Maybe a little glassy-eyed.

ktq101 said...

Loved your review, it was great! :)

I was reading through the books and it turns out that Rob is actually one of their sons. I'm not sure how he died, or what happened with that, but there you have it! Great site!!


Patricia Joanne said...

this is my first Fear Street book that I read, I remember. After this book, I feel that Fear Street is not bad like I think. I love Fear Street now!

Patricia Joanne said...

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Pomelo said...

Bleeding trees? Eurgh, that's not right. Why do I find that image creepier than anything else?

Mikey B. said...

"So – it’s pretty ironic that their parent’s long planned resurrection of their daughters is ruined because said daughters are psychotically spoiled.." I have been systematically reading every single sarcastic synopsis, laughing until my vision is obscured by tears of mirth. If you were so inclined to tackle V.C. Andrews with your hilarious wit you would pretty much have covered every sub-literary author I read in Middle School. You might wonder where were my parents while I was reading Fear Street, Flowers in the Attic and other demented supermarket paperbacks intended for adolescent girls (P.S. not a girl), they were probably being crippled by state bureaucracy or Union internal politics I imagine. Thank you, for this hilarious blog!

Unknown said...

They weren't found in the woods with no bones. It is just a story that people in Shadyside tell time and time again. It is folklore from people who don't know the truth. Like you said the real story is in the Burning.

Anonymous said...

The girls on the cover are hannah and julia. Simon's and angelica's daughters