Things That Go Bump

Re-Reading RL Stine's Bizarrely Beloved Goosebumps Series

Book the Eighteenth: Monster Blood II 03/17/2012

Filed under: Goosebumps — Christy Admiraal @ 5:23 pm
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Tagline: “He’s one hungry hamster!” (Guys! I love this tagline! It doesn’t make any sense if you don’t know the content of the book, thus making it absolutely terrific.)

Premise: Evan and Andy are back, and so is Monster Blood, the incredible substance that grows on its very own and causes living beings to do the same when ingested. Evan’s not at his happiest when he first meets up with Andy, who’s recently moved to his hometown. No one in his school believes him about his Monster Blood mishaps (who would’ve thought?), his science teacher Mr. Murphy is forever making him clean class hamster Cuddles’ cage, and a truly heinous bully nicknamed Conan the Barbarian won’t stop pestering him. So–and this is a perfectly logical decision, in my opinion–decides they should feed Cuddles Monster Blood. Good idea, right? Of course not! Cuddles grows to epic proportions, topping ten feet tall, and Evan is forced to eat some Monster Blood and wrestle him (!). That doesn’t seem to be working, as Cuddles is clearly stronger than Evan (yes, that’s correct), but very suddenly during their tussle, they’re back to normal size. Andy laughs uproariously when she realizes the Monster Blood’s expiration date is that very day and all is well. Then Mr. Murphy gives Evan Cuddles as a gift (I don’t know, either), Andy’s parents send her some Monster Blood they found on their trip around the world, and Cuddles may or may not have eaten some. THE END.

Creepiness factor: Conceptually, Monster Blood isn’t really that scary, even when witches are involved. And here, they aren’t. The appeal of the Monster Blood books comes entirely from their inherent goofiness, and honestly, after Why I’m Afraid of Bees, this is a welcome shift.

Signature Stine moment: Oh, so many! Andy always wears horrible neon clothing, there are similes galore, and then THIS happens:

“‘We won’t need it,’ Evan told her firmly. ‘We won’t.”

He was very, very wrong.”

If that’s not gold, I don’t know what is.

Accuracy of title: Spot on. It’s the second Goosebumps book about Monster Blood. Pretty open and shut case here.

Moral of the story: Monster Blood does have an expiration date, so, you know, go crazy.

Overall rating: 7/10. This was a fun one, better than the first in the Monster Blood series, and it involved an adolescent boy wrestling a giant hamster. There are a staggering four Monster Blood books total, the last of which is the sixty-second and final book in the Goosebumps series. So now we truly have something to look forward to! Next up: Deep Trouble. If there are no sharks in Deep Trouble, I’m going to be very upset.

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Book the Third: Monster Blood 01/06/2012

Filed under: Goosebumps — Christy Admiraal @ 1:21 pm
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Premise: Extremely forgettable protagonist Evan is forced to stay with his great aunt Kathryn while his parents search for a new house. Upon moving in, Evan meets a much less forgettable girl named Andy, who introduces him to a vintage toy store in town. There, they procure a can of Monster Blood, a gooey, sticky green substance that inexplicably begins to grow, such that it can fill entire tubs and aluminum trash cans. And how is this happening? Why, because the cat living in Kathryn’s house is actually a witch, of course! But don’t worry. Once the Monster Blood consumes the cat/witch person (it can do that, too), the spells are broken, and everything is OK again.

Creepiness factor: Quite low. The twist was glaringly obvious, what with the cat’s human-like traits and inherent air of evilness. Didn’t see the “Kathryn is deaf because of the cat/witch person” bit coming, but even so, a glob of green goop that makes dogs grow and sucks up neighborhood bullies just doesn’t seem that plausible or threatening.

Signature Stine moment: An extremely detailed description of Andy’s appearance: “Andy braked her bike and dropped both feet to the ground. She was wearing bright pink shorts and a yellow sleeveless undershirt top. Her face was red, her forehead beaded with perspiration from pedaling so hard.” This is a definite Stine trope: giving the reader an exact picture of what a character is wearing. Usually he’d say how long her shirt was, but I’ll excuse it.

Accuracy of title: Very accurate. Very catchy. And much cleverer than the book’s sequel’s name (apparently this one earns a sequel), Monster Blood II.

Overall rating: 5.5/10. Not terrible, not great, pretty par for the course when it comes to middling Goosebumps titles. I probably should’ve just reread Stay Out of the Basement. But worry not! Say Cheese and Die! is next, and I’m looking forward to that one (though not nearly as much as Night of the Living Dummy).