The enduring franchise relaunches with yet another No.1.
Fear Street was never quite the brand Goosebumps was; grittier and bloodier than the latter’s Twilight Zone–esque stories. This offering hopes to leverage that grit, and it leans heavily on terror tropes of old, particularly evoking Stephen King. Of course, this is what Stine (Mary McScary, 2017, etc.) has always been best at: tossing current trends, personal fears, and literary legacies into a blender and delighting in the result. Readers will delight too. Ruth-Ann and Rebecca Fear are two affluent sisters in the 1920s, squabbling for love and control of their futures. In the present, Harmony and Marissa Fear are fighting similar psychological warfare with mixed results. Witchcraft rears its head, and the Fear family curse spans time itself and locks these two pairs of white siblings in a peculiar, terrifying dance. The excitement is in the execution, and Stine hasn’t lost his ability to pull strings and make readers squirm, flipping pages as fast as possible in anticipation for the next bloodcurdling sight. The book’s ending is a bit muddled: The resolution is creatively exciting but doesn’t make much sense when considered for internal logic. But then, Stine’s work has never been about substantive thought. Stine is about mood, tingles, and blood. This title has got plenty of that.
A very good Fear Street book, with all that that implies. (Horror. 12-16)