Things That Go Bump

Re-Reading RL Stine's Bizarrely Beloved Goosebumps Series

Book the Twenty-Third: Return of the Mummy 04/22/2012

Filed under: Goosebumps — Christy Admiraal @ 5:29 pm
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Tagline: “He’s back…from the dead!”

Premise: Gabe, Sari, and Uncle Ben are back in the second Goosebumps book about archaeological exploration in Egypt. This time around, Uncle Ben and his research team are uncovering the tomb of Prince Khor-Ru, a tomb that’s potentially even more exciting than King Tut’s. (It’s never clarified why that is, but we’ll run with it.) They’re joined by Gabe, his cousin Sari, and a foxy reporter for the Cairo Sun named Nila. Uncle Ben’s research partner Dr. Fielding warns them against opening the tomb since there’s potential of getting cursed, but the team disregards this, and the tomb is indeed filled to the brim with jewels and all manner of generic tomb-filling curios. (I used that word correctly, right?) Gabe attempts to scare Sari by reciting the words that will supposedly bring Khor-Ru back to life, and immediately after, the two of them see Dr. Fielding drag Uncle Ben into the pyramids. When Dr. Fielding reemerges alone, Gabe and Sari find Uncle Ben knocked out in Khor-Ru’s coffin. Turns out Foxy Reporter is actually an Egyptian princess who’s been attempting to bring her brother Khor-Ru back to life for centuries. Wow! Fortunately, Khor-Ru’s not happy to see her, and Gabe gets rid of Nila by smashing her amber pendant, the very pendant she was using as her life force. (Or something like that.) Oh, and Dr. Fielding’s a good guy after all.

Creepiness factor: Not very high, considering the fact that mummies simply aren’t scary. There’s some good tension building, though, with Uncle Ben’s near-death coffin-bound experience.

Signature Stine moment: Since Gabe is 13, he’s officially allowed to find others attractive, and that’s what happens when he over-describes Nila’s appearance.

“Wow. She’s really pretty, I thought. She had long, black hair, sleek and shiny. She had bangs cut straight across her forehead. Beneath the bangs were the most beautiful green eyes I’d ever seen.

She was dressed all in white. A white suit jacket and a white blouse over white slacks. She was short–only an inch or two taller than Sari.

She must be a movie star, I told myself. She’s so great-looking!”

Accuracy of title: It’s not accurate at all, given that this is a completely different mummy from last time. Bad form, Stine.

Moral of the story: When you discover that someone you know is actually a centuries-old Egyptian princess hellbent on killing people for no clear reason, it’s best to smash her jewelry.

Overall rating: 5.5/10. This is much weaker than The Curse of the Mummy’s Tomb, though it is fun to catch up with Gabe and his family again. Next up is one of my very favorites, The Phantom of the Auditorium.