Friday, August 3, 2012

Review: Moonlight Secrets, Midnight Games and Darkest Dawn (Fear Street Nights)

They only come out at night.

Fear Street Nights (2005), by R.L. Stine, is a teen thriller miniseries that takes place in the famous fictional city of Shadyside. It has been the background for all of Stine's Fear Street novels since 1989. As someone who has read these books since the mid-1990s, I also believe this trilogy brings closure to the popular series.

Set in the present, a group of teenagers sneak into the Fear Street mansion and steal some possessions before demolition crews arrive at the site. When two teenagers almost fall to their deaths in an unmarked grave, they unleashed a terrible evil--Simon and Angelica Fear--who won't stop killing until they seek revenge for the loss of their possessions. Can the teenagers defeat the powerful couple before all of their friends become dead?

Altogether, the three books combine to 543 pages. Each book is also written in the first person from a different main character, and the writing is geared towards a teenage audience. I provide descriptions of each books below.

Book 1: Moonlight Secrets
It all started with Lewis and Jamie. They were sneaking out late at night to be together. Then their friends started joining in. First at the old burned-down Fear Mansion. Later at the local bar Nights.

They called themselves the Night People. And they carefully protected their secret world. No parents, no work, no stress. Just chilling with friends in their own private after-hours club.

But then the nights turned dark. Unexplainable accidents, evil pranks...and then, later, the killings. The Night People know they have to stop the horror all by themselves, or else they risk exposure -- not to mention their lives.

Book 2: Midnight Games
Dana Fear isn't thrilled about spending her senior year at Shadyside High. The Fear family history goes way back in this town, and she's not so into lugging around the baggage.

But then she gets in with the Night People. Shadyside's pretty cool when it's 3 A.M. and you're chilling at a bar called Nights with your new best friends.

Until the evil returns, and the Night People start mysteriously disappearing one by one. Dana swears she has nothing to do with it. But all fingers point in one direction. Because there is, after all, a new Fear in town....

Book 3: Darkest Dawn
The Night People are safe at last. After all the ugly pranks and vicious murders, things have finally started to return to normal. The friends who are left try to forget and move on, taking comfort by meeting up at their old hang out, Nights. It was the ancient spirit of Angelica Fear that caused all the trouble. And now she's been destroyed once and for all. Burned in a fire. But if it's true that the horror is dead, what did Angelica mean when her voice cried out from the flames?..."The Evil Lives!"?

R.L. Stine literally invented the teen horror genre with Fear Street, the bestselling teen horror series of all time. During the 1990s and early 2000s, it was a popular tradition for teens to gather together late at night (before cell phones and online chat rooms existed!) and tell horror stories and legends (think of the successful Nickelodeon series, Are You Afraid of the Dark?). Simultaneously, the horror television genre was also popular with late-night shows like Tales from the Crypt, Poltergeist: The Legacy, and The Outer Limits.

His first Fear Street book, The New Girl, was written in 1989, and you can have find reprints of his novels in bookstores and online marketplaces. I became hooked on these novels in elementary and middle schools. It was during this time that I became captivated by the supernatural and developed a passion for reading paranormal novels. By high school, I transitioned over to adult content by other authors which you can browse on my top books page.

Since 2005, R.L. Stine has not written any new Fear Street material. That is why I believe this miniseries comes across as the final tale in the popular teen thriller genre. With the greatest evil finally defeated, the people of Shadyside can finally have peace. If you haven't read a Fear Street novel, I highly recommend it!

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