Friday, November 27, 2009

Midnight Games or "Team Ada!"

The second book in this trilogy is actually a little better than the first. Which is unusual, I usually feel like the second anything in a trilogy is the weakest. For example: Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom? No thanks! The Empire Strikes Back? Snore. … Those are really the only two I can think of, but you get my drift.

But this Midnight Games… well it was full of gruesome and increasingly odd murders. This always equals AWESOME. These covers aren’t very interesting, though. They aren’t hilarious paintings, which is lame. And they have some weird shiny purple stuff all over it. I prefer my R.L. to be classic, but maybe that’s just me?

The book starts off from Nate’s point of view. He’s haunted by the thought that Cindy died, and she wasn’t even evil. (She was kind of a bitch though) To escape his terrifying nightmares, he goes to Nights, the new Fear Street bar. Where they only cater to minors apparently. On his walk over to the bar he gets attacked! Which sounds awful, but then we find out that he’s being attacked by a bird. With one-eye. Really? A pre-injured bird? It scratches up his face (a minor annoyance) and he races out of the woods…only once he gets out, he can’t remember what happened to him in there! He knows he was scared, and now his face is bloody, but he can’t quite remember… Personally, I blame all the underage drinking.

When he gets to Nights, he sees all his friends: Shark, Lewis, Jamie and his new girlfriend Ada! They ask what happened to his face, and he tells them he fell in the woods. Wouldn’t you assume you had some sort of concussion? I know weird things happen in Shadyside but cut head+lack of memory usually = concussion. Go to the hospital! Nate freaks his friends out even more when he sees the one-eyed bird appear at the door of the bar. He, of course, screams bloody murder even though he’s not sure exactly what he’s afraid of. It turns out it was a girl who walked into the bar, not a bird. The girl makes a beeline to their table and Jamie introduces her cousin…Dana FEAR! Dun dun dunnnnnn!

Part Two of the book is told through Dana’s eyes. She had to come live with Jamie after her mom died and her Dad didn’t want to take care of her. Needless to say, she’s a little bitter. Dana is ultra nervous about starting at a new school, so Jamie throws her a welcoming party so she can meet all of her friends. Dana has an insta-crush on Nate because he reminds her of her old boyfriend Dustin. When she hears that Nate is dating Ada, she decides she probably isn’t going to like her. Uhh…more like she isn’t going to like you, homewrecker!

The party basically consists of the Shadyside kids being creeped about because Dana is a Fear. That sounds… unfun. Dana and Nate bond alone, but he creeps HER out by asking way too personal info about her Fear family. And guess what? Ada sees them together outside, and shocking doesn’t like Dana! Things take a turn for the weird though, when Ada falls down a flight of stairs … and Dana’s at the top. Ada says that Dana pushed her but Dana conveniently can’t remember a thing!

The next few days/weeks are rough on Dana because she starting at a new school. And because a bunch of kids think she tried to kill Ada. It gets even more awkward when Dana tries out for chorus (which Ada and her bitchy friend Whitney are in) and it’s revealed that all three of them are trying out for a singing scholarship. After her tryout, Dana runs into Nate. Even though he hasn’t talked to her since Dana may have/may have not tried to kill his girlfriend, he asks her out to a skating party on Saturday. Dana says yes but asks about Ada. Nate charmingly says that Ada “doesn’t own him”. He cheats on his own accord! Dana tries to tell Jamie her good news but Jamie is busy in her personal pottery studio in the backyard garage. Jamie is super squirrelly about the studio and won’t let anyone in. As in when Dana tries to get in, Jamie gets enraged. Hmmm. Not normal.

Dana meets up with Nate and the boys at Nights again, and her and Nate are super flirty. Ada happens to walk in at an inopportune time; just as Nate is kissing Dana on the cheek! She proceeds to ream him out in front of the bar and Dana wonders what she will EVER do about Ada? Except you’re kinda the villain in this story, darling. New in town, trying to take her boyfriend AND her scholarship? I am totally Team Ada. I might even have a shirt made up like that!

Saturday arrives and Dana is late to the skating party. Nate and her take off for some skating/makeoutage across the lake but Jamie interrupts them to tell them that Ada arrived and is PISSED. Nate (again, what a gentleman!) tells her that he doesn’t need this and takes off. Unfortunately for Dana, she’s a shit skater and she gets taken down by Ada in a mad rage. Dana is getting choked by Ada and feels all woozy and blurry…

She gets woken up on the ice by Jamie, who comes back because she heard screams. They discover Ada’s body nearby…with a skate driven in her skull. BLERG. Dana again has to admit that while she’s innocent, she has no recollection of the accident. Does that excuse really work? Well, it is Shadyside. So yeah, it probably works 95% of the time.

Dana is upset…mostly because Nate didn’t call. Really? After everyone (but the police) think you murdered his girlfriend, you’re SURPRISED he didn’t call? She sees him at Nights and while their talking they get confronted by Whitney (bitchy friend of Ada’s who sings). Whitney tells Dana that they know what happened to her boyfriend back home! Say whhha? Yes, apparently Dustin, who Nate reminds her so much of, drowned in Dana’s pool a few years ago. Hmm that doesn’t help her story of “innocence” so much, does it?

The next week, Dana and Whitney compete for the very prestigious singing scholarship which I can’t be bothered to find the name of right now. Dana sings first and takes her seat afterwards. Whitney starts to sing…but keeps violently sneezing! After a few sneezes she pulls a feather out of her nose! And keeps pulling out feathers until they turn red with blood and the blood pours down her face and she screams out that “Dana FEAR is doing it!” Yeowza! That would be dramatic. I would totally believe Whitney in this one too. I think I just don’t like Dana…

The kids have some more fun out at Nights and Nate freaks everyone out by hallucinating one-eyed birds again. This part is kinda dull. No one cares Nate!

But then we get to the good stuff again. Dana goes to watch a bunch of people play basketball, including Nate…and Whitney. Whitney does the mean girl thing, where she throws the ball at Dana and then claims it “slipped”. Ugh I hate that! Just punch her in the face. Get it out in the open. After the game is over, Dana is waiting for Nate to come out of the showers and Whitney is working on her jumpshot. Dana starts to feel woozy and blurry again…

She gets woken up by Nate this time. And looks over to see Whitney’s body on the floor…and her head in the basket! Nice! Sports themed murders!

Somehow the police STILL don’t detain Dana, even though there is a clear pattern here: Other girls up for the singing scholarship. Dana can’t sleep well that night, so she goes to wake up Jamie to talk about her problems. Hmmm. That’s never a very welcome idea. But when she goes to Jamie’s room, she sees her rocking and chanting around…and her face isn’t her face. It’s an old woman’s face! Dana creeps back to her room only to see Jamie come in a few minutes later. Jamie/old woman chant creepily again and pour powder all over the clothes Dana picked out for the next day (who does that by the way?).

Dana decides she needs to get out of that house! Unfortunately for her, her dad still doesn’t care about her and won’t come get her immediately. And worst of all, he calls Jamie’s mom to tell her that Dana accused Jamie of poisoning her! Ooo now Jamie hates Dana too. Jamie’s family starts to prepare to cart her off to the mental hospital, which I think is a little harsh. They make her stay home from school that day, but it works out perfectly because Dana can now search through Jamie’s room! She finds the spell Jamie was casting the night before. It was to make someone forget things! She figures out that Jamie was the one killing the girls but can’t imagine why.

Dana goes to confront Jamie that afternoon. She picks Jamie’s studio, I suppose for the drama. Against the backdrop of the burning kiln (aka hell) Dana sees three sculptures of the dead girls heads: Candy, Ada and Whitney. When she gets close, she sees it’s the girls heads FOR REAL! Ooo Jamie was out grave-robbin’!

Jamie transforms in front of Dana’s eyes to…you guessed it, Angelica Fear. She explains to Dana (so helpful!) that she’s been killing everyone who took her things from the Fear Mansion all those months ago. But I guess Angelica isn’t too picky, considering Dana wasn’t around back then…

Angelica tries to push Dana into the kiln, but due to some fancy footwork, Dana actually pushes HER into the fire! Angelica screams and lots of green and red smoke billows out. Then the door opens, and Jamie emerges. Unscathed? Apparently! Jamie doesn’t remember anything since her accident when she fell into a pit full of skeletons. Dana tells her the whole story, which kinda sounds really unbelievable. Especially if you don’t remember any of the incidents. Like, if you woke up next to a kiln, you’re burnt, you’re surrounded by decapitated heads, and you’re cousin that you haven’t seen in years is bending over you, telling you that you did this while being possessed by a spirit? I would kinda just BEAT IT. Dana totally looks guilty.

The book ends on a creepy note when the three decapitated girls re-animate and start to chant “The evil lives! The evil lives!” Does it? I guess we’ll find out in… Darkest Dawn!

Friday, November 6, 2009

Moonlight Secrets or "Nate is Surprisingly Cool With Cockroaches"

Fear Street Nights Series! These little gems are pretty fantastic, mostly because they were written in 2005. What? I know! They have cell phones and everything. (Sidenote: Anyone read the updated Sweet Valley High books? They have cell phones too… which makes everything super tricky, because most of the shenanigans those girls got into could easily be solved by having a cell phone. So the story would always have to have a line about their phones being dead, or I think one time a cell phone flew out a car window? Classic!)

Anyways, R.L. must have realized that high school kids aren’t really the goody-goodies by day, mass-murders by night that he had been portraying them for all these years. So he has added…underage drinking! Dum dum dummm!

Moonlight Secrets doesn’t really have an interesting cover, just a girl mid-dance(?) and a picture of a BAR. Which is called “Nights”. Again with the terrible names for people and things. This has Bobby Newkick and his “Bad to the Bone” band disaster allll over it.

The book starts from the perspective of our friend Lewis. He and his girlfriend Jamie start sneaking out after midnight to have the town to themselves. They call themselves “The Night People”. UGH, really? Like 17 year olds would call themselves something that lame. Anyways, more and more kids start hanging out with them, wandering the streets at night. They would often end up on…FEAR STREET.

Since this book takes place a couple of years later, we find out that most of Fear Street has been torn up (that’s a bad idea if I ever heard one). They are getting rid of the neighbourhood to build a huge shopping complex. Soo, soon there will be Fear Streets about a haunted shopping mall? I feel a sense of déjà vu…

The last building to be torn down is the Fear Mansion. Lewis and Jamie and their friends start hanging out in the abandoned mansion, drinking beer and hooking up. Hey… that actually seems like something normal teenagers would do! One night, one of the juniors that hangs out with them, Shark, takes a tumble and discovers a hidden room! It’s full of jewelry, gold, expensive clothes and books on the occult. Since the building is about to be bulldozed, they figure it doesn’t count as “stealing” so they all loot the place.

It turns out that Lewis’ girlfriend Jamie is kinda obsessed with the occult. Her cousin died a few months earlier, and this girl promised Jamie to reach her from the dead. Hey. That is a promise that I want NO ONE to make to me. Any of you die? Don’t promise to come creep the fuck outta me later. I don’t want that. But Jamie was really into it, so she makes Lewis go back to the mansion after its been torn down, because all the ghosts will have been disturbed. Sounds about right.

They bring a tape recorder, and while they don’t hear anything at first, when they listen to it back in Jamie’s room, they realize they recorded a voice. FROM BEYOND. The voice says “If you took what’s mine, you’ll pay”. They have no clue what that could mean. REALLY? After raiding that same spot like 2 days previous? They couldn’t put these pieces of the puzzle together? UGH. I would be shoving the shit I took back into the smoldering wreck of a mansion as fast as I could.

They decide go back for more creepy voices since Jamie is convinces her cousin would try to contact her there. They don’t hear any voices but they do find a pit. Full of bones. Yikes! Instead of hauling ass outta there, Jamie decides that she really wants to see this cool silver pendent with blue stones on it…. (o we know what that is!)

Jamie predicatablly falls into the pit of bones. Surprisingly though, the bones come to life and start to strangle her! Ah! I see we have a “supernatural” Fear Street as opposed to the “regular, crazed murderer” Fear Street. Good to know. Lewis tries to fight the skeletons off Jamie, but ends up being choked too. The chapter ends with the pit collapsing on Jamie and Lewis, most likely killing them both.

One Year Later

Here, I’ll do you guys a favor and tell you up front that we’ve changed perspectives. Now the narrator is Nate, a senior at Shadyside. R.L. didn’t let the reader know this lil fact, so I read like 2 chapters thinking it was still Lewis and being ultra confused. (Although that I’m looking back, I realize that they were called the character Nate, and it’s my fault I didn’t catch on sooner. Whoops!)

Anyways. Nate is at the new Shadyside bar called Nights. Built right over top the Fear Mansion. Nate is friends with Shark and goes to hang out with him in the back booth. But before he can, Nate needs to kiss the picture of Simon and Angelica Fear. Apparently it’s tradition that everyone kisses it. Blech. I would so not kiss that thing.

Nate kinda gets us up to speed with “Nights”. The bartender Ryland knows that they all have fake IDs but he doesn’t care as long as there’s no trouble. And him and all his friends (The Night People) sneak out every night and come drink there WITHOUT permission from their parents!

Jamie comes into the bar, which I guess means she survived her brush with skeletons! She walks with a limp, and doesn’t remember the accident, but besides that both her and Lewis are fine. Which I guess is pretty lucky! She sits with Shark, Nate and this HAWTie Nikki and Shark tells the table how he screwed over his ex-girlfriend. I guess this girl, Candy, dumped Shark and then wanted him back. So he told her to meet him at the movies, but never showed! Ha.Ha.Ha. Hilarious. No one has ever stood up a date before.

Oooh, he also changed his voicemail to “Have a nice day, Candy, you slut.” Which is actually pretty brutal because everyone else who called him would get that message too! After he finishing telling this story, guess who storms into the bar? No other than our lovely lady Candy. She is mega pissed off. Jamie momentarily destracts her by asking about her cool pendent necklace! Candy says she got it at a store, and then goes back to being crazy. She exacts revenge by…making out with Shark? O wait, its so violent that she basically rips off his lips and has blood running down her face. Blech. When she takes off, Shark and Nate go outside and throw bricks at her car. Nate’s smashes in her back window and she vows revenge. Never a good idea to get into a revenge-match with a woman with blood running out her mouth…

Candy makes Nate and Shark pay for her broken window (did she have to pay for Shark’s medical bill?) because she threatens to tell everyone’s parents about The Night People. I’d call her bluff. No one would willingly piss off that many people. Shark pays for it though and decides to exact MORE revenge! This time by putting Candy’s face on a pic of a pig and sending around the school. Really? Is this the 1890s? I’m sure Shark has some sexting photos from Candy on his cell phone. Common now.

Somehow they track the picture down to Nate’s computer, and rather than rat out his friend, Nate takes the blame. And Candy’s wrath. She confronts him at Nights but Nate isn’t very apologetic. He should have been. Cindy watches him from another booth which smiling and playing with a pendent around her neck. With blue stones… And then Nate starts pulling cockroaches out of his mouth. BAH! Again with the cockroaches! He leaves the bar and pukes cockroaches everywhere…

The next day he seems fine though… did he forget what happened? He doesn’t even bother to explain it. He, Shark, Jamie and their friend Ada decide to skip a class and go down by Onononka River to hang out. It seems fun, until they try to leave. Then when Nate tries to back out onto the road, the car will only go forward. And the brakes won’t work! So they take a lil dip in the good ol’ Onononka! Ada, Nate and Shark all manage to get out, but Jamie has a little more trouble. As in she’s trapped and they have to go back to rescue her lifeless body. They actually manage to revive her, and she of course, doesn’t remember anything. Jamie decides that Candy is a witch that has put a curse on Nate. I would stop hanging around Nate.

Suspecious things continue happening around Nate. Candy extends an olive branch to him and Shark, and invites them to a party she’s having. Right after they laugh in her face and say no way, blood starts spurting out of both of Nate’s ears. Splashing Shark and Ada and everyone else around. Blerg. Also, when they’re friend Galen comes into Nights to tell Nate that he’s “figured it out” his lips get stuck to the portrait of the Fears. Like to free himself, he rips off his lips and they STAY ATTACHED TO THE PORTRAIT. That might be the grossest part of the book.

When he’s finally able to talk again, Galen tells Shark and Nate how Candy has been doing all this legitimately evil witchcraft. He found a pic of Angelica Fear and she’s wearing the same pendent that Candy wears! Unfailable proof of eviltude, for sure!

The next night, Shark, Nate and Nikki (the girl Shark is kinda dating) decide that they have to break into Candy’s house and steal the necklace so she can’t be evil anymore! That’s not really the kind of date I’d want to go on with someone I was casually seeing. It’s oddly easy to break into Candy’s house, as there is a ladder leaning up against the side. It’s like they’re asking for it. All goes well for our young robbers, and they manage to get the necklace from Candy’s room. Unfortunately… she wakes up. And is pissed off at the Break and Enter! She and Shark struggle for the necklace. Candy manages to grab it back… but unfortunately takes a tumble down her stairs. (I’m always telling you guys. Never lunge at the top of stairs/cliffs! You always go over!)

Candy breaks her neck on the way down. She also broke…the pendent. Turns out it was just a cheap metal and plastic knockoff! It wasn’t really evil magic at all! The book ends with our three thieves and now accessory-to-manslaughterers fleeing the scene. And realizing that Candy wasn’t to blame… O and then Nate finds a slaughtered pigs head in his bed. TO BE CONTINUED!

So this one was good right? I always enjoy a good supernatural one.