Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Can You Keep a Secret? or "Random Acts of Werewolf"

Okay, it’s definitely harder to blog when you are not doing it often, like once a week the way we used to. Now that RL has his new line of Fear Streets coming out, it takes me approximately the same time to write a blog that it takes him to write a novel. I’m not sure what that says about either of us.

So, we’ll start with the cover, definitely good and creepy, a knife jammed into a tree carved with a heart. It’s simple, it’s mysterious. It doesn’t have any goofy kids from the 80s in various states of open-mouthed astonishment, as per the old books, so the cheese factor is way down. Also the tagline is fantastic: “or are you dying to tell?” I love it! I’ll admit that I feel the revamped Fear Street got off to a rough start, but this one has already captured me. I’m always willing to give RL one more chance, but then again I am an eternal optimist.

Part One

There is a spooky dream with lots of moon and wolf imagery. Omg, is this book about werewolves? I think I LOVE werewolves, which were surprisingly underrepresented up until now in the Fear Street omnibus. I can only think of that one Super Chiller, Bad Moonlight. Come to think of it, that’s a shocking lack of werewolf books. I mean, vampires and zombies are everywhere, but where’s the love for the humble lycanthrope?

So anyway, in this dream, the girl and the wolf have the same startlingly blue eyes, then the girl becomes the wolf. The girl wakes up from her nightmare, then wakes up her sister, Sophie. Sophie goes to comfort Emmy, the shaken dreamer. Emmy is horrified to see her sheets are completely shredded.

Emmy is the elder sister, at 17, and Sophie is 15. I love a good sister drama, doncha think, AM? They have the same black hair and blue eyes, but Sophie cut her hair extremely short because she was sick of being constantly confused for her sister.

Emmy has been having wolf dreams since she was five, when she was visiting her creepy great aunt Marta in Prague and was bit by a dog, although she doesn’t remember it. Ooh, Prague, v. old world. Definitely about werewolves! On that note, there is a news report that a dog had been torn apart by a black wolf in Shadyside Park.

Enter Emmy’s new boyfriend, Eddie. Emmy’s mom doesn’t like him – he is the best friend of Emmy’s ex, and he is POOR. A fatal flaw in Shadyside. His stepdad is a cop but suspended from the police force for beating a teen, charming. Eddie works at a pet cemetery, which is awfully convenient.

Emmy goes to visit Eddie at his work and smells something evil in the air, feels strongly that Eddie should probably get a new job. Of course Eddie is at the moment burying the recently killed dog. Emmy sees the corpse and takes off running, as the thing had been skinned. Blerg. They then change the mood entirely and discuss doing something naughty that night.

Part Two

Ah, so naughtiness is an all-night party in the Fear Street Woods – always a terrible idea. Eddie is in a frisky mood, wants to play his favourite game, Can you keep a secret. Doesn’t sound like much of a game, you have to reveal your deepest darkest secrets for the other to keep. His secret is that he lost his drivers license (he tells her as he drives her mom’s car). They then start making out.

They are terrified when they are attacked – nope, just surprised by Emmy’s ex Danny and his new girlfriend Callie. Apparently Danny has a temper and Emmy really likes Callie and thinks she’s good for him. Riley and Roxie round out the crew. Riley is a huge football player and Roxie is tiny and cutesy, so they make a mismatched adorable couple. I like how Emmy is very open about how great the other girls are, no jealousies there. And my my what’s with all the names ending in -y or –ie? How bout we get a names book or something.

They unload the beer because this is Fear Street of the twenty-first century! Now Eddie brings out his next secret of the night. Oh look, he stole a gun from his stepdad. Well that’s not going to end well. Emmy questions her judgment at being with Eddie, because he has a temper and is poor. The gun would have done it for me, but whatevs. Then Emmy sees the black wolf and Eddie shoots it. Oh, it was only a raccoon. But Emmy is back to loving Eddie again.

Everyone else is fighting so they take off. Eddie pulls her to a clearing and calls it their secret place. He then creepily pulls out a knife … and carves Eddie heart Emmy. How sweet! The tree, of course, turns out to be hollow and housing a briefcase full of cash. Emmy is all: peace out, put it back, but Eddie thinks that she’s nuts. Before they resolve this, everyone else finds them. The boys are crazy happy with their luck, the girls are not and want to take the money to the police.

Inevitably, a fight ensues, Eddie and Danny grapple and the gun comes out. Danny gets shot … oh no wait he just crumpled in fear when the gun accidentally went off. They all vote, and since only Emmy and Callie want to take the money to the police they decide instead they should hide the case at the pet cemetery until they know where it came from.

Sophie calls Emmy just then in a panic, saying she saw the black wolf on her way home. Emmy gets all dizzy and wants to howl at the moon. Callie grabs her, breaking her out of her trance, but Emmy decides to go home. The sisters are emotional together, laughing and fighting, and Emmy feels guilty that she’s not more supportive of Sophie.

The guilt doesn’t last that long, because she goes to Eddie’s house for dinner the next night instead of Sophie’s track meet. Eddie’s stepdad tells them of the robbery. It was a few nights ago, a hit on an armored truck, one guy with a gun. Emmy and Eddie go for a drive where Emmy finally figures out the inevitable – the robber with the gun will come after them, since their names are carved on the tree where the cash was hiding.

Part Three

Eddie and Emmy freak out and decide to put the cash back in the tree. They go dig up the grave and of course the case is gone. They go to Danny’s, where Riley shows up and they all fight a lot about who took the money. Secrets and greed are tearing the group apart!

Sophie is still awake when Emmy gets in. Emmy caves and tells her everything. Emmy dreams that night she’s a wolf and wakes up howling. Also, there’s a letter from Czech Republic – Great Aunt Marta is coming to visit. She has some suspiciously convenient timing. I’m kind of feeling that this book is disjointed. There’s two entirely different things going on, sort of smushed together. There’s the werewolf thing, then the money/greed thing, which is actually a really common theme in Fear Street novels (along with crazy people taking over other’s identities). I’m just not sure that the two plots have anything to do with each other.

Eddie and Emmy go through the cemetery security footage the next day, and are surprised to find that it’s Riley who took the money. Their plan is to let everyone else know then all go to confront Riley. Emmy goes with Sophie, but starts to feel funny then blacks out. All of a sudden she’s in someone’s yard, and Riley’s body is draped over the hedges, clawed to pieces.

The official story is that he’d been mauled by a rabid wolf. There is a v sad funeral, everyone is traumatized but are still fighting about the money. Roxie finally gives Eddie and Emmy the briefcase and tells them she wants nothing to do with it, or them. Eddie reburies the case in the cemetery.

Great Aunt Marta comes. She is very old and mysterious, talking of the magic of the old country. She wakes Emmy up out of a wolf dream to tell her she’d been bitten by an immortal wolf creature in Prague and now she is wolfen. Emmy realizes she killed Riley.

Part Four

Emmy wakes Sophie up to ask her what happened at Riley’s. Apparently Emmy made Sophie drop her off and told her to leave, Sophie started to go home but then came back, and at that point the cops were already there. Emmy runs out into the night, where she is joined by wild dogs. They freak out when she stops though and turn on her. It’s Sophie who runs out and shoos the dogs away, saving them.

Great Aunt Marta leaves after a day. She literally just came to wake Emmy up in the middle of the night to tell her she’s a werewolf, with zero advice or anything. Great Aunt Marta sucks. She could have sent a letter. Or, like, a text. (Guess what, u r a flesh-eating werewolf, lol). That is the amount of useful she is.

After school, a man is waiting for Emmy and Eddie at her car, knows who she is and she figures he’s the robber. They take him to the pet cemetery. Eddie pulls his gun on the man, who asks him if that’s the gun he used to hold up the armored truck. Oh noes, looks like Eddie’s stepdad was very naughty and used his cop knowledge to knock off the truck. The man who took them to the cemetery by gunpoint is in fact a federal agent looking into the robbery. They dig up briefcase, but it is full of newsprint. Oops. They go to confront stepdad, because that’s how things are done officially in Fear Street, and he confesses and is arrested. The federal agent lets them know that the sentence will be reduced if the money is found, so the kids try to find it.

They figure it is the owner of the pet cemetery who has it. Sophie comes with Emmy and Eddie on this adventure. They search his apartment attached to the office at the cemetery, and find the money. Unfortunately, he surprises them. At gunpoint he forces them into a disgusting pit, filled with animal corpses. The guy had been taking people’s money, then just throwing the carcasses of their beloved pets into a pit behind his apartment. Gross, but also why did he hire Eddie to dig the graves then? Doesn’t make tons of sense.

Sophie turns into a wolf then. She leaps out of the pit and mauls the pet cemetery owner. She tells Emmy that she was the one bitten all those years ago, but started changing a few months ago. She’s the one who makes Emmy have weird dreams and blacks out sometimes. She basically blames Emmy for everything wrong with her life. Oh, yah, and she killed Riley because he knew her secret. Wha? That’s a little lot random. When did this come up? Why would he not have said anything? Anyway, Sophie runs away, and soon after Emmy and Eddie are rescued by some confused cops.

In the end, Mac survives the attack (will he be a werewolf now? This doesn’t come up at all), the money is returned and Eddie’s stepdad gets a lesser sentence. Emmy and Eddie get a $5000 reward, which just goes to show you that trying to steal lots of money really does pay, just less than you expect.

Emmy gets home exhausted, never expecting to see her sister helping to make dinner as always. Sophie says she doesn’t want to live in the woods forever (if I had been her, I would have taken all the money for myself and lived in the Bahamas forever, but whatever, I’m not a 15-year-old werewolf). Sophie approaches Emmy very intensely and asks her if she can keep a secret.


My issue with this book, besides the fact that RL seemed like he could not be finished quickly enough and threw in some random explanations at the end to just get out of it, is what I mentioned before, that it was kind of two unrelated books shoehorned in together. I would have loved to have something that focused entirely on the werewolf thing. I mean, Bad Moonlight was cheesy, but it was fun and loads better than this. I give this five gaping plot holes out of twelve.

3 comments:

Chad Walters said...

I had the exact same reaction to this book as you. In fact, I thought the werewolf stuff was a fake out at first because he laid it on SO THICK at the beginning and then it didn't go anywhere. The whole thing's weird. It's almost like he started writing a werewolf book, got off on a different plot altogether, then remembered he was supposed to be writing a werewolf book and tried to work it on real quick at the end.

Disappointing.

Harper said...

The pet pit was absolutely disgusting. I'm pretty sure it is burned in my brain for life. I also agree that the two plots didn't sync together, not even at the end. It appears he is using two plots to make the books longer yet not blending them appropriately. Rather unfortunate. Hopefully he gets the hang of it soon. Two more books left from the reboot correct? Or is he going to write more after the sixth?

Justin Duhe said...

The whole book should have been about the werewolf, Prague and Aunty Marta. Maybe a vacation/quick trip to Prague for further investigation into said werewolf business. Not have Aunty Marta come to Shadyside for one night, wake ol girl up, tell her she's a werewolf then bounce (for reals?) Forget about the money/robber, the caretaker/gross pet cemetery and animal carcass pit.