It's been a while since my last review. I might as well get back into the swing of things with a sequel to one of the most popular Goosebumps books ever.
The Scream of the Haunted Mask (review)
(This is a review, not a synopsis. For a recap, check out this page.)
Prepare yourself for some really shocking news...
I really liked this book.
This is the first Goosebumps HorrorLand book that I'd feel confident saying that I loved. Carly Beth Caldwell, to me, is a very likable character. She doesn't seem ridiculously exaggerated like some characters in the franchise. Some characters, like Kermit Majors, are completely one dimensional caricatures.
The atmosphere of this book is so much fun. This book seems to add a lot of details about the setting but not too much detail. I dare say that some of the descriptions are downright immersive. The Scream of the Haunted Mask has a fairly somber tone. Often times, it is harder for a reader to suspend disbelief when the story is too crazy. The story in this book is pretty simple, but I'd say it's pretty enjoyable.
As for critiques, I don't have many for this book. If I had to think of one conceptual flaw, I'd say that I'm a little sad that this book is a retcon. This book takes place on the same Halloween as The Haunted Mask II, which means that The Haunted Mask II just didn't happen. It bothers me that this huge continuity error just slipped by.
I honestly didn't expect the twist regarding who the ghost was! The twist felt genuinely surprising.
I like how the book builds up the reader's expectation to think that the ghost is one character only to pull the rug out from under them and reveal that it was actually another character all along. I hate it when the ending twist seems "unfair" and random, but in this book it feels thought out.
The real tear-jerker
I forgot about something in my initial review. It is a small detail, but I can't leave out.
“[Sara] went to the mall to buy a birthday present for her mother, and she got her nose pierced, [...] She’s not going to say anything. Sara says no one ever pays any attention to her. She’s going to wait and see if anyone in her family notices.”
This short piece of dialogue... Is probably the saddest thing I've ever read in a Goosebumps book. The character Sara was mentioned once in the entire book, and it was in this scene. Sabrina Mason mentions Sara so casually. When I first heard this dialogue, I had to stop reading for a few moments. Why is something this sad just hidden in the background of the story?
Rating & Explanation
Probably the first book in the Goosebumps HorrorLand series that I full-heartedly recommend. I enjoyed it, and I think you will too. This book is easily the best in this series so far.