Reviews for A Midsummer Night's Scream, by R.L. Stine
This book felt like a good old R.L. Stine Goosebumps book. Campy, dramatic, and over the top. A good brainless read, though I'm happy I only paid $6 for it.
(originally posted on the blog)
What could possibly be better than a familiar author from your childhood writing a book inspired by one of your favorite classical authors? The promising combination of R.L. Stine, master of my favorite childhood horror series Goosebumps, and Shakespeare's work A Midsummer Night's Dream made me eager to read this.
Unfortunately, A Midsummer Night's Scream didn't exactly blow me away. The characters are forgettable and lack dimension. They act as you would expect characters in most horror movies do, scared but still determined to do stupid things like forging ahead to get what they want (and in this case, it's a completed remake of Mayhem Manor). You'd think that they would know better after the bad stuff starts happening, but it's fairly obvious they're either delusional or plain stupid. And yet, this is exactly what I'd expect from them because the novel wouldn't move forward or be as entertaining (in the way horror movies can be) otherwise.
The story, on the other hand, is fairly simple, and almost childlike in its telling. In fact, were it not for the teenage characters, the occasional mention of parties and physical attraction and the like, this book could probably be read by children.I didn't mind because this is pretty much what I was expecting to encounter. In fact, if I hadn't encountered this, I would have probably been really surprised. In spite of the simplicity, the story was still entertaining - as entertaining, in fact, as one of the awful horror movies that my friends and I often subject ourselves to.
What really disappointed me was the lack of Shakespeare's influence in the story. There are only slight nods to this particular play, such as the character of Puckerman (a reference to Puck) and the climax occurring on Midsummer's Eve. I suppose we could also consider the magical potions and the crazy paths of romance as inspired by the play, but it's a bit of a stretch. A part of me really wishes there had been more of a connection between the two, but it doesn't bother me to the point that it took away from my reading experience.
A Midsummer Night's Dream is basically a fluffy horror novel (and yes, I'm well aware of the strangeness of that statement). The novel is really fun, and still characterized with the horror and humor of Stine's other books. It was a purely entertaining read for me, bringing back memories of the days I'd hoard my Goosebumps novels. It's basically like watching those horror b-movies, the ones that are predictably silly and mostly gory, but still purely entertaining if only to scare you out of your wits. If that's the kind of read you're in the mood for, then this novel definitely fits the bill.
ugh, I love R.L Stine's young adult books, they got me through the angsty years of middle and high school. But...this main character, so forgeable i dont know her name, is hard to root for. I have never wanted a character to die so much before. R.L Stine did a great job of capturing an immature, unlikeable teenage brat, a great character creation, just someone that you just dont want to win. Someone seriously needs to teach her the consequences of using roofies on people.
Popsugar 2020 Reading Challenge - A book with a pun in the title
This book was short and a bit much at times. The characters are just there and do not have much character development, or even character to start with. The story line was fine and I did like it for what it was.
Well this was a disappointment. :(
Claire was really bleh to the end, a whiny spoiled little brat.
The deaths were just lame and comical (to be expected though).
The story felt a bit dragged, I sometimes just skimmed pages because nothing happened except for Claire and her whining.
Okay, don't get me wrong...I love R.L. Stine and loved reading Goosebumps and Fear Street but this was just awful.
Tbh, I only read this book so it would distract me from the emotional mess I was after reading this masterpiece; https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/33385229-they-both-die-at-the-end?ac=1&from_search=true
(I have a review up for this too!!)
Frankly, this book sucked. It's something that my sixth-grade self would've devoured and loved.
It's literally the recipe for a whole crap ton of cliches blended and mixed into a ridiculous horror book.
And yet I kinda liked it. This book is like when you're on a diet, and it's cheat day and you just eat something disgusting and sugary and full of things that'll probably clog up your arteries and give you diabetes but you eat it anyways. That what I felt when I was reading this book.
-Ah, of course. The 'plain' main character, with that fabulous, 'bangin' best friend who gets all the guys. What an original character. I could deal with Claire's whiny internal monologue, but one thing that completely got on my nerves was her and Delia continually calling Analee a slut. Like, please, no girl on girl hate because that's the last thing we need when a bunch of teenagers are dying.
Do I really need to explain. She's mysterious, angsty and beautiful. Of course, what more does a female character need?? Of course not a..*shocked gasp* p e r s o n a l i t y ??
Boy that everyone wants. So, so hot.
I'm not even gonna bother.
And now onto this mess of a love triangle; this was so obvious. And honestly the main plot of the story, what mostly kept it going. I would've given this book at least a 3 star if there was more horror involved. Sure there were the killings, but they were so plain, simple, no motive. It was just gore, and it left you wanting something more. There's no psychological element to this at all, but then again, it is probably a very juvenile and middle grades book, so I shouldn't have put up my expectations so high.
Also, Claire is stupid. Really, really stupid.
When I first saw this book, I was hours away from meeting R.L. Stine, whose books and writing I fell in love with when I was in fourth grade. I almost considered buying it because it looked interesting, and I pretty much love most of Stine's work. Now I'm very glad that I didn't. It makes me sad, though, because the author is a really sweet guy and I've never read anything that disappointed me as much. Even Dangerous Girls and Red Rain, which I didn't care a whole lot for, didn't disappoint me like this.
I appreciated that the characters were more modern. However, I didn't like or could connect with a single one of them. Some even annoyed me, including the main character. I just didn't care enough about this characters and whether they lived or died.
The premise itself was interesting in the beginning but ended up being way too predictable. Especially the Puck thing. It was a little amusing that Claire couldn't remember his role in the story despite having read the play a year before. I haven't read it in years yet I still remember his role.
I was also shocked by the slut shaming in this book. If you're reading this, R.L. Stine, please, please, please don't do this again. It was the most disappointing at all. A single comment would have been fine, but it seemed that several were made and I honestly couldn't tell if this was supposed to be a character trait, the author's opinion, or just an attempt to make things more modern--and that's the problem.
This was a quick read, as most of his books are, but I just couldn't get into it at all. I finished it, but would definitely never buy or re-read.
Any links to Shakespeare's sprite-filled play are minimal. In my mind, naming a character "Puckerman" does not make the book a "modern reimagining of Shakespeare's classic romantic comedy." And tossing in random potions does not make a story magical.
While the story started off corny and horror-movie cliched, it held promise. Unfortunately, when it moved from retelling of the original filming to modern-day, it also moved off a cliff. Maybe, just maybe if the potions had been put on the cutting room floor, the story would have held its own: cliched but a little scary. Instead, the potions pushed it into the realm of ridiculous - and I just never felt like I should be pulling for silly Claire to get blind Jake to notice her.
Skip this one. If it is fright you want, go for Ten by Gretchen McNeil.