The global phenomenon known as Goosebumps is a monster of a machine that has been rolling for almost 30 years and includes hundreds of Books in multiple series, TV shows, Movies, Video Games, Comics, and amazing amounts of merch.
It truly is a juggernaut!
But for some reason, as a kid, the books never really grabbed me.
So now, as I reach almost 30 myself, I’m taking a plunge into the series for the first time.
Will it stand up to the grizzled and cynical eyes of a grumpy old Doom or will it reignite some hidden youthfulness?
Let’s creep on in and find out.
As always, this your official ***SPOILER ALERT***
Now let me very clear about a couple of things upfront.
1. Yes, I understand this is a series of children’s “horror” novels, that wouldn’t and shouldn’t give it a pass for sucking.
Thankfully though, it doesn’t.
I judged this the same way I would any other novel or short story.
2. While this is the first Goosebumps book I have ever read, this is not my first experience with the franchise.
When I was little, love it or hate it, EVERYBODY watched the Goosebumps TV Series that aired on Fox kids in the mid-to-late 90s.
I remember absolutely loving it!
So I’m not quite sure why I never checked out the books.
3. Just so you know where I’m coming from with this review, for Halloween this year, I thought it might be fun to read some short horror books to celebrate the season and get in the mood.
With all of that out of the way, let’s dive in to the belly of this beast.
A magic obsessed kid named Tim spends his days trying to work out the kinks of his burgeoning act on anybody that will sit still long enough for him to attempt a trick.
During a trip to the local magic store, he’s given tickets to see his idol Amaz-O perform for the first, and possibly only, time ever!
So he sneaks out of the house one night with his bratty karate chopping sister, Ginny, in tow for a show that will change his life forever.
The first thing I would say is that this story specifically feels a bit mislabeled as horror.
To me, it feels like more like a thriller that has a dash of morality tale thrown in for good measure.
The tension doesn’t have that typical type of tension I associate with horror, it’s more of a “damn, this kid was wronged and got in too deep. I hope he doesn’t get in too much trouble” type of tension.
That is by no means a complaint, it’s just something that stuck out.
Now, something that I would consider a bit of a mild complaint (and actually something we just talked about in regard to Ash Vs Evil Dead) would be that it leaves you wanting more.
The “Just the facts, ma’am” style and break neck pace Stine seems to employ here does just that.
While it may be a limitation of the format/target audience (short attention spans), I want to see this dude unchained and able to tell a story with depth and some breathing room cause he’s definitely got the skill to weave a compelling and interesting story.
I get the feeling this may end up being the big “problem” I’ll have with any of these that I read, I just want more.
I want the chance to get to know this world where magic can transfigure you into other critters better.
As for the morality angle I mentioned earlier, it’s a pretty good Monkey’s Paw situation of “be careful what you wish for”.
Tim, due to his sister’s brattiness, keeps threatening to turn her into a rabbit.
When it eventually does happen, it comes back to bite him in the ass in a big way.
While that does change, the point lands hard.
Overall, this is pretty damn fun and well written, kid’s book or not.
Though it feels like a short story that could easily be turned into a full length novel, it’s pretty satisfying as is.
The characters each have a distinct voice of their own, which can sometimes be an issue with books aimed at younger audiences.
I’m definitely interested in reading more!
Let us know what you think of this review in the comments below or share this post on Twitter with the Hashtag #TNBBookReview, and keep an eye out for my other Halloween themed reviews in the coming weeks.
Special thanks to @ACFerrell1976 for her continued editorial assistance.