Humano Morphs

Review: Four Scares in One

From: http://www.reviewstream.com/reviews/?p=57275

Shivers was a series of books written by the writer M.D. Spencer. In fact, I think they came out around the same time that the other series of books, Goosebumps, which were written by the writer R.L. Stine came out in the nineties. When I read a few books from the Shivers series, I noticed that the writing style and techniques were similar to the Goosebumps books. However, what I found to be the difference between the two was that while I found that I could easily outgrow the Goosebumps novels, it was harder with the Shivers novels. In other words, while M.D. Spencer obviously wrote the Shivers novels for children, I had no problem reading and enjoying the books when approaching adulthood. On the other hand, it was different for Goosebumps. I find myself unable to pick up a Goosebumps novel and enjoy it now, as only the writing style alone seems too immature for me to follow.

One of the first Shivers books that was bought for me was “Shivers: Four Scares in One Volume One”. I was about ten years old, and did not expect to enjoy what seemed like at the time, an imitation brand of Goosebumps. However, I quickly realized how wrong I was when I began reading it, as I had found it much more enjoyable than many Goosebumps books I had read.

The book is a collection of four Shivers novels. They are “The Enchanted Attic”, “A Ghastly Shade of Green”, “The Locked Room” and “The Awful Apple Orchard”.

In “The Enchanted Attic” an eleven year old girl named Nicole and her family moved from their house in Virginia to a new one in Boston Massachusetts, because her father had gotten a better job there. However, at nights when she lies in bed in her old room she hears strange noises coming from the attic. At first she blames it on her paranoia and fear of being in a new house, but later on in the novel she discovers that the sound is actually coming from evil enchanted dolls in her attic. The plot in this one might seem a little silly to many people. However, I still enjoyed it a few years ago when I read it.

The second novel contained in the collection is “A Ghastly Shade of Green”. Unlike the title suggests the plot is neither about little green men, green monsters, green ooze or any other cliché and immature terrors that might be associated with the color green. Instead I found the novel to be a little like the recent horror movie “The Ruins”. This is because like in the movie, the plants were trying to kill the characters and take over.

The novel is about a young boy Jason who spends his well looked forward to summer vacation with his mother, pet beagle and little brother in marshlands because of his mother’s love for nature and her research on plant life. However, later on Jason finds out that there is something wrong with the area, and that the plants are trying to seek revenge on him, his family and other human beings.

The third novel in the collection is “The Locked Room”. This one also is about a young girl Brittany and her family who moves to a new house. The new house is much bigger and older than the other one that she and her family lived in. In this story though, she and her younger brother find a locked room which hold the house’s secrets and ghosts. They also find a family graveyard not too far from the house. In a sense, the plot of this novel reminded me of a certain Goosebumps episode I had watched not too long ago on Cartoon Network with a similar plot.

The fourth and last novel in the collection was “The Awful Apple Orchard”. I thought that this novel might have been the best Shivers novel I had ever read. Once again, the plot revolves around children on their summer vacation. However, this time, the children Daniel and Sara discover that a certain old cider mill near to the cabin that they would be staying at is haunted. I can remember reading the novel again a few years ago and actually being scared a little by the story. I thought it was written much better than many adult novels I had read.

I would recommend this book to both former and present Goosebumps fans. I think the writing skills and techniques in this book is much more advanced. The fact that it is more developed also makes it able for people in a wider range of ages to enjoy. I think if the Shivers novels were promoted better in the nineties when they were published, they might have had a bigger readership.