This is the first book in a Fear Street miniseries, and I am excited because I have never read a single book from this offshoot series before. This book is about how the Fear family continued after they all supposedly were killed in the terrible fire at the end of the third book in the original Fear Street Saga trilogy. That trilogy is arguably one of R.L. Stine’s greatest works, so check out that blog if you haven’t already. (Confessions Of A Bookaholic: Guilty Pleasure Edition #10 – The Fear Street Saga – Where The Terror Began)
“Fear Street Sagas #1 – A New Fear”
Fear Street Scale: 4.5 out of 5 Fears
The dark power of the Fear family consumes all who those connected with it. The Fears. Those they love – and hate. The entire town of Shadyside. All tainted forever by the evil of the family’s curse. No one can escape. Nora Goode and Daniel Fear hoped to end the curse of the Fear family. But on their wedding day, a horrible fire swept through the Fear mansion, taking the life of every member of the doomed family. Except one. A new Fear. The child of Nora and Daniel. Will he be able to live his life untouched by the evil of his family? Or will the dark forces claim yet another Fear for their own?
I have to say that I was really looking forward to this book. I mean the original trilogy, The Fear Street Saga, was such a big deal, and a wonderful origin story about the Fear family, their curse and how it seeped into Fear Street – what a tough act to follow. I went back and forth on what I felt was the “right” rating for this book. On the one hand it continued a story that begged for some sort of continuation, but on the other hand there were so many letdowns when it came to the pace, how things happened, what things happened and the characters from original trilogy that were also featured in this book. And at the same time, there was some wonderful original storytelling like the original trilogy and a few twists and turns that made me appreciate this book as its own story, instead of just some sort of sequel. So there was a lot of back and forth.
Nora Goode survived the terrible fire at the Fear Mansion that claimed the lives of the remaining Fears (Simon, Angelica, and her beloved husband Daniel). She tries to warn people about developing Fear land and tells them about the curse and the ancient feud between the Fears and the Goodes that has caused so much horror over the centuries. But of course, people just think she’s crazy and she gets locked up in an insane asylum. I know this sort of thing probably happened for real back in the early 1900’s but I just kept thinking, “Why is she being locked up, when she isn’t a danger to anyone or herself?” But women, hysteria – back then society was not as understanding as they are today. Anyway… she has given birth to a son Nicholas, which means she and Daniel must have worked fast, seeing how he died on their wedding night.
Nora has the Fear family amulet and the first part of this book is all about her escape from the asylum and trying to start over with Nicholas. I liked the fast pace, but sometimes it bordered on a rushed pace. And I didn’t like the portrayals of Nora or Daniel. Nora was such a strong woman and she was one of two people who stood up and broke (or did they?) the curse that was put on the Fear family by Nora’s ancestor, William Goode. But Nora seems frail and frightened more than anything else, and I hated this meek portrayal of her, especially when I was accustomed to someone entirely different. And Daniel, who was the epitome of good and had no interest in his family’s unsavory activities returns to Nora, through the power of the amulet and does some terrible things. After a crazy series of events Nora throws the amulet into the ocean. Good riddance.
Fast forward eighteen years, and Nora dies in the lamest way possible, and has apparently aged badly and always seemed to carry on as a shell of her former self, which I found to be one of the saddest things about this book. But then Daniel appears to Nicholas urging him to go to Shadyside to learn more about his family. And you know nothing good is waiting for Nicholas there. So it’s like Daniel is leading his son into ruin. Nicholas is determined to find out about his family and his father, in hopes that there is some sort of legacy (and money) that has been left behind for him. Money only matters to him because he is in love with a girl named Rosalyn and her father refuses to let any man court his daughter unless they are wealthy. Nicholas and Rosalyn have been seeing each other in secret and before he departs, Rosalyn gives him her favorite necklace that she believes is good luck. She found it several years ago on the beach. It is the Fear family amulet (though neither of them knows that).
When Nicholas arrives in Shadyside he is instantly drawn to a burned out mansion (you know which one it is!) and there he is mistaken for his father. Soon her learns about all of the terrible stories about the Fear family and that there is no fortune for him to inherit beyond back taxes. So, he tries to make something of himself, determined to buy back his family’s land and build Fear Street, which was started but quickly abandoned due to people’s superstitions, fear and several unexplained accidents.
But soon it becomes apparent that someone doesn’t want Nicholas in Shadyside. And something else – bad luck seems to be following him as the people he has befriended begin to get seriously hurt, or worse, many of them die horrible deaths. And soon everything spirals and it seems the Fear family curse is alive and well, and I’m not sure how that sits with me.
There were a few things that bothered me about this book/continuation. The first is that the Fear family curse has not been broken. But the entire origin of that curse was due to a feud between the Goode and Fear families. The thing that could break it (in theory) was the union of a Goode and a Fear, and that happened. Nora Goode and Daniel Fear loved each other, were secretly married, and even if Daniel didn’t live long after they exchanged vows, Nicholas is a product of their love. So why the hell is the curse still kicking?
And that leads me to the next thing. Nicholas was confronted by a few angry Goodes, but even when he told them his mother was a Goode they didn’t believe him. But Shadyside at the time was relatively small; it maybe had a few hundred people. So I would think Nicholas would just have to tell people who his mother was. Surely they would remember her – it was only nineteen years ago!
And the final thing that I have yet to voice was how Nicholas spiraled and gave into his family’s ways: Power though Evil. He was built up to be such a caring and noble person, and yet a single situation caused a switch to flip and he was thinking and acting like a Fear was expected to. And when faced with a terrible yet preventable situation, he didn’t step up. And when he suffered the most devastating of losses, it didn’t seem to faze him. And this really bothered me.
Still, this book is essential to any fan, but seriously read the original trilogy first, if you haven’t already. This was a good book overall, and it is quite possible that if the original trilogy wasn’t as awesome as it was, I would have been much more favorable overall with this book. But even with a hard standard to meet – this book was a pretty terror-ific read. 😉
And that concludes the first book in this Fear Street miniseries. I’m still doing three Fear Street books per post, with the exception of this series because all of the books are stories of the past on various members of the Fear family, so they deserve independent posts. I can’t wait to read the next one! 🙂