Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Book Review: R. L. Stine's Fear Street Sagas: The Hidden Evil. By Wendy Haley

Remember back in the late 80's - early 90's when the Fear Street books were all the rage among tweens and young teens? I wasn't one of those, I am afraid, as I am a little too young to have been the right age at the right time. But I did discover R. L. Stine and Fear Street about a decade ago (my own novel, Beware The Night, was partly inspired by them), and, I have to admit, I found many of the books enjoyable, light, and occasionally very silly reads. But there's a reason why Stine is one of the most successful authors of all time, and that is his formula for an unputdownable book: Short sentences, short paragraphs, short chapters, cliffhangers at the end of each chapter, and plots that don't tax the  reader's brain. The Fear Street books are brain-candy at its most fun.

Among the many off-shoots and spin-offs of Fear Street published were the "Fear Street Sagas", which recounted the adventures of the original Fear (or Fier) family. Most of these were written by other authors, and The Hidden Evil was written by Wendy Haley.

The Hidden Evil is unlike any other Fear Street book I've read, with the story being a cross between the darker Fear Street books and Henry James' The Turn of The Screw. This is an entertaining Gothic Ghost Story set in 19th century Boston, about a young governess (who has a terrible secret of her own) who takes charge of two young boys, one of which seems to be a homicidal maniac who hears his recently dead mother talking to him at night. What ensues is a slight tale, of murder, ghosts, and secrets, with an effective twist ending.

This isn't literature, folks, but it sure is one entertaining, little book, that is perfect for those nights when you feel like reading something, but don't feel up to reading something heavy. After all, that's what all of R. L. Stine's books are made for. To pass the time.

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