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18 Mar 2014

Book Review: A Midsummer Night's Scream by R.L Stine

Oh, what fools these actors be!

it was a horror movie that turned into real horror: Three young actors lost their lives while the cameras rolled. Production stopped, and people proclaimed the movie was cursed.

Now, sixty years later, new actors are venturing onto the haunted set. In a desperate attempt to revive their failing studio, Claire's dad has green-lit a remake of Mayhem Manor, and Claire and her friends are dying to be involved.

At first, Claire laughs at Jake's talk of ghosts and curses. He's been too busy crushing on her best friend, Delia, or making out with that slut, Annalee, to notice that she's practically been throwing herself at him. What does he know anyway? This is her big chance to be a star!

But then, Claire runs into a creepy little man named Benny Puckerman, and gets her hands on a real love potion! Unfortunately, the course of true love never did run smooth...

Get ready for laughter to turn into screams as the Grandmaster of Horror, R.L. Stine, takes on the Master of Theater in this modern re-imagining of Shakespeare's classic romantic comedy, A Midsummer Night's Dream.

Goosebumps were my childhood.  I read a few Fear Street books when I reached my teens and tried out Stine's YA stories but Goosebumps was always my favourite and overall Stine was one of my favourite horror writers.  I couldn't wait for my next trip into town and buy another of his ghastly tales to add to my collection.  Stine is the reason I will never have a ventriloquist dummy in my house.  EVER. 

But A Midsummer Night's Scream was definitely not Stine's best work. For a YA the book read like MG with 2D characters, most of them you don't really care for. So when they are the target of history repeating I simply don't care that they could be next on the list.  Well rounded YA characters fill the shelves nowadays.  They're layered, full of flaws and virtues, interests, dislikes, their own voice... and Stine didn't really give me any of those characters.  There was nothing to them.  They were shallow and bitchy.

It's like RL Stine had two ideas. One was a slasher and one was a retelling of A Midsummer Night's Dream. Unable to decide which one to work on they somehow ended up merging and spawning a rather confused book where the links to AMD were simply thrown in references rather than re-imagining of the play and the slasher aspect had a villain who was OTT mad and ridiculous.  

Completely disappointing.

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