Tag Archive | r.l. stine

Review: A Night in Terror Tower

A Night in Terror Tower
A Night in Terror Tower by R.L. Stine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goosebumps lovers will surely love this one…

American tourists Sue and her younger brother, Eddie, spend an average day exploring London when Eddie takes an interest on Terror Tower. Both of them join a small group of tourists with a guide leading them from room to room, explaining and narrating the tragic story of Prince Edward and Princess Susannah of York. However, before Sue can actually listen to the end of the story, Eddie distracts her by breaking her camera. When the commotion finally comes to a halt, they realize that the group has left them behind. And yet, they have to realize so many unusual things ahead.

They realize that they are completely alone in that tower, with a mysterious man in black spying on them earlier attempts to capture and kill them. They realize that the suite where their parents are supposed to wait for them is empty and no registration has been made for the room. They realize that their pocket money is worthless. They realize that they cannot remember even their last names. They realize that there’s something wrong with their memories or there’s something wrong with their surroundings. They realize that the three white stones in Eddie’s possession are not mere stones. Now, they realize that they must do something to escape from their terrible fate…

I definitely love the time-travel idea and the happy ending. Goosebumps series rarely have happy ending. Normally, when you think it is a happy ending, there will be a twist on the last paragraph or sentence that ruins the happy ending and practically turns it to a bad ending. Something to be reflected on this story: What does it feel to listen to your own story being told by somebody else to captivated audiences?
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Review: My Hairiest Adventure

My Hairiest Adventure
My Hairiest Adventure by R.L. Stine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What harm an expired tanning lotion could really do?

That’s what one of Larry’s friend says about a bottle of tanning lotion labelled INSTA-TAN, RUB ON A DARK SUNTAN IN MINUTES that Larry finds in a neighbor’s dumpster. As everybody else in his band consisting of four people including him, Larry applies the tanning lotion supposed to be expired several years ago.

At first, there’s no harm and change whatsoever. Until Larry notices a patch of thick, bristly, oily hair growing on his palms. Then on his knees and legs. And on his face. And no matter how hard he shaves it off his body, the hair keeps growing back more and more…

Still you dare to think that an expired tanning lotion will not do any harm?

This is what Goosebumps is supposed to be…

I really like the suspense in this story. At first, I wonder whether Hairy Larry gets the hair from the misuse of an expired lotion or the regular shot given to him by his pediatrician. My suspicion grows when the doctor warns Larry not to overexert himself since Larry does not have sweat glands. What kind of disease and abnormality is that? I know that dogs and cats do not have sweat glands. This is the first time I read a human does not have sweat glands. But my conclusion is quite different from the ending. When Larry notices that the number of stray dogs in his neighbourhood increases and some of them have similar appearance (hair and eyes colour) to his missing friends, I think that it’s about an experiment done by the pediatrician to turn human being into stray dog. I never think that the truth is actually the opposite. Bravo for tricking me about that part.

In the end, the expired tanning lotion has been proven harmless. However, it’s worthy to note to self: Do not take anything from your neighbourhood dumpster and do not use anything expired on your body.
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Review: Attack of the Mutant

Attack of the Mutant
Attack of the Mutant by R.L. Stine

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Skipper Matthews is a collector and maniac of comic books. Yet, he reads only one, The Mutant Mask, which is a story of supervillain with similar name. One day, on his way to the dentist on a bus, he meets a girl named Libby who has the same interest on comic books. He is so preoccupied with their conversations about comic books that he misses his stop. However, he spots something familiar in the unfamiliar area he is forced to get off the bus. How could he not recognize a building he always sees – reads, actually – in his favorite comic book? What happened? Has he read too much his comic book? Is it only a coincidence that the building is totally similar to the secret headquarters of the Mutant? Or does the Mutant actually live nearby?

I’m trying not to be so subjective about this one to no avail. Personally, I have distaste for all things related to superhero and supervillain theme and reading this book gives me an impression of reading a Marvel book – and maybe R.L. Stine gets inspired by one of Marvel when writing this book, or does the Mutant Mask belong to Marvel? I want Goosebumps, not Marvel. So, there it goes my fifth star.

Secondly, I notice that Skipper is quite obsessed with his comic books and I know that feeling very well. If I meet a total stranger whose similar hobby, I might immerse myself in a conversation about the said hobby with him or her. If I miss my stop and get off the bus to find one of the buildings in my favorite book stands proudly there in front of me, I WILL go there, appointment or not appointment, everything else be damned. Instead, Skipper chooses to go to the dentist and checks on the building next day. He’s fine with that? Well, he actually thinks that the building is the secret headquarter of the Mutant Mask? Shouldn’t he ever consider that there must be someone else who loves the book and maybe that building is a building of a fan base? Or maybe it is a store dedicated to sell products of the Mutant Mask? Why don’t take a little more time to make sure what exactly the building is to, at least, kill his curiosity at that moment, if he has any, which he should have considering he reads and loves the book? Just a little peek, and once you know what it is, you can consider returning the next time you have free time. No. He just ‘almost’ goes inside the building, go to his dentist instead, and return the next day to find the building is not there anymore. Cliche. So predictable. There it goes my fourth star.

It turns out that Skipper is a part of the story, the only one who can save the superhero of the book who is held hostage by the supervillain. Cliche. Predictable. Again. No Goosebumps at all. There are so many stories where the hero or heroine becomes the most important character in the story, the only one to save the world, and eventually they manage to save the world or fulfill their role. A plain, ordinary, unpopular individual in the beginning and the most important being in the end. Such stories are so mainstream nowadays. Yet, each story has different features that make it special and interesting. Sadly, I found none in this one. The story gets more ridiculous when it reveals the cowardice of the superhero, leaving Skipper to play the role of superhero himself. There it goes my third and second star.

Well, I’m just being totally subjective on this review.
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Review: Phantom of the Auditorium

Phantom of the Auditorium
Phantom of the Auditorium by R.L. Stine

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Brooke and Zeke have nerves of steel. Nothing can scare them. So when their school decides to perform an old horror play that hasn’t been played anymore since 72 years ago, both of them are chosen to play the main characters. However, The Phantom has its own reason to not be performed anymore for such a long time. It’s because 72 years ago the boy who played the Phantom had been lost mysteriously and it is said that the ghost lurks in the auditorium since then.

Now that the play is going to be performed again, many terrible things happen. Everyone begins to accuse Zeke and Brooke as the brain behind those terrible things. Is it really them? Or is it just cruel jokes set by other parties who envy them for getting the main roles? Or is it true that the Phantom exists and gets annoyed with the re-open of the trapdoor in the auditorium, the one used for this play only?

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Review: Return of the Mummy

Return of the Mummy
Return of the Mummy by R.L. Stine

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

“There’s no way that moldy old mummified prince is going to come back to life just because I recite 6 words I don’t even know the meaning of.”

It’s another adventure Gabe has with his Uncle Ben and Cousin Sari in archaeological world. Today, they make a great discovery, the tomb of the ancient prince from 4 thousand years ago witnessed by a reporter named Nila. But the discovery leads to something else when the reporter demands to know the six ancient words and speak them out loud five times…

This story is much better than the preceding one.

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Review: Ghost Beach

Ghost Beach
Ghost Beach by R.L. Stine

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Jerry and his sister, Terry, visit their relatives, Brad and Agatha, who live in a cottage near a beach and a cave. The cave often shows suspicious flicking lights from inside, and their trio friends claim that a ghost lives inside. The trip even ask them to help sealing the cave in order to trap the ghost inside forever. However, accidentally Jerry and Terry meet the old ghost. But the old ghost claims that the actual ghosts are their trio friends, and he has investigated the area for so long to trap the trio inside. Who’s saying the truth?

I can’t stop thinking that this one is almost similar to the first book, though this time the enemies are ghosts instead of zombies. It is similar in the way they find out the anomaly by reading the names of their friends and their relatives on the cemetery. That’s why the ending doesn’t surprise me at all.

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Review: Go Eat Worms!

Go Eat Worms!
Go Eat Worms! by R.L. Stine

My rating: 1 of 5 stars

Todd is very obsessed with worms. He collect many worms for many things: science project, hobby, and even joke. However, after he slices in front of the other worms and his sister, Regina and friend, Beth, everything changes. Now the worms are very obsessed with him…

Well, just because I give it only one of five stars does not mean it is a bad book at all. In fact, the suspense is really good and keeps me wondering what will happen next, what really happens and why and how and blah blah blah. However, I have several personal reasons that make me hesitant to add another star. First, I absolutely loathe worms, and this book is definitely about worms, so… you can guess yourself. Second, I know Goosebumps often uses out-of-the-world phenomena and ideas, and so far I think this one is the weirdest and the most unacceptable of all. And third, well, I guess it because of my hatred after all…

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