Friday, October 1, 2010

♥♥♥♥♥♥: Eye of the Fortuneteller by R.L. Stine

I remember in elementary school when we had weekly trips to the library, we'd always look at the shelf that held all of R.L. Stine's classics. The Goosebumps series—gosh, they caused a ruckus! We little first graders would all be standing in a lopsided line, waiting for the librarian to check our books out for us, and while the long wait, we'd glance by the "horror" bookshelf. I don't think they were much too popular, so they were located on a bottom shelf; however, at three-and-a-half feet standing, they were right at eye level for us. Perfect.

"You know what the scariest thing ever is?" one boy taunted me. "Reading one of these books. They will haunt you forever."

"So?" I said. The covers looked pretty scary, but being a book freak even then, I found it hard to believe that a book could actually scare you.

"In the dark," he continued. "These books are scary if you read them in the dark."

I was not impressed. First of all, everyone knew that you couldn't read a book in the dark unless it had glow-in-the-dark text. Second of all, the dark never really had adverse effects on me as a child, so to me, reading the book in the dark would have been the same as reading one on the sun.

Nevertheless, the fact that the horror novels could supposedly haunt me forever was not a very appealing idea. I never picked up one of the books, and never had thought about it, until I was given the opportunity to review Eye of the Fortuneteller by R.L. Stine. It isn't Goosebumps, but it comes pretty darn close...
Eye of the Fortuneteller (Ghosts of Fear Street #6)
R.L. Stine

Page Count: 105
Release Date: 1 March, 1996
Publisher: Aladdin (Simon & Schuster)
Source: Complimentary copy provided by LibraryThing Member Giveaways in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you!)

Who's afraid of the ghosts of Fear Street?

Not Kelsey Moore. She's lived on Fear Street all her life, and she's not afraid of anything.
Until she meets Madame Valda—a strange old woman who says she can see into the future. She tells Kelsey that only fools are fearless. Kelsey just laughs.

But she isn't laughing when she climbs into bed—and finds it full of disgusting sand crabs. Or when she goes for a swim—and finds the ocean swarming with giant jellyfish! All of Kelsey's worst fears are coming to life!

Has Madame Valda doomed Kelsey to live in fear forever?

The only plausible way this book can be considered a horror novel takes me back to first grade, when even all the boys were afraid to read R.L. Stine. The only plausible way this book would eternally terrify a person, is if they were six years old.

The plot is simple:
  1. Kelsey and her cousin, Drew encounter a creepy gypsy.
  2. Kelsey and her cousin, Drew anger the creepy gypsy.
  3. Kelsey and her cousin, Drew are cursed by the creepy gypsy; they get lost and chased by a rabid dog.
  4. Kelsey has hallucinations about the only things in the world she is afraid of: sand crabs.
  5. Kelsey has hallucinations about the only OTHER things in the world she is afraid of: horseflies and jellyfish.
That's really the "scary" element of the story; but for someone like me who cannot imagine a sand crab being scary, it was hard to associate.

Being a children's novel, it did end happily (SPOILER: Kelsey's curse is lifted by some gypsies who aren't quite as evil as the first one she encountered), but I totally saw it coming. Children's stories never end tragically, but that factor probably also made the story less horrific too.

Eye of the Fortuneteller was a quick, I-should-be-doing-something-productive-but-instead-I-am-entertaining-myself read. I read it in about twenty minutes, as the there are only 105 pages and the font size is about 16.

I enjoyed taking a break from the really dramatic genre that makes you think too much (we're studying Dickens in class right now... ugh), but having already graduated from elementary school, this book wasn't really for me. 

Radical Rating: 6 hearts: Satisfying for a first read, but I'm not going back. ♥♥♥♥♥♥