Monday 13 December 2010


Fear edited by R.L Stine (Random House)
PB RRP $18.95
ISBN 978-1-7427-5046-0
Reviewed by Oliver Phommavanh

Fear is a collection of suspense and horror stories for older readers. It’s headed by a legend of the genre, R.L Stine. It’s not all vampires and angels. Some of the stories are planted in the real world, offering tense situations that reveal dastardly secrets. Jennifer Allison’s 'The Perfects' story begins in normal suburbia but ends up with a ‘delicious’ ending.

Every story is tight and concise. There’s no waffling here, just genuine scares. The authors’ distinct styles mean that no two stories feel the same, even though some scenarios overlap. But hey, babysitting kids is plain scary by itself. 

The better stories have a killer twist. A favourite of mine is 'Suckers' by Suzanne Weyn which has an ending that you won’t see coming and will force you to revisit earlier scenes. There are stories that warrant its own novel, such as Heather Brewer’s 'Shadow Children', who paints a fascinating world of deadly shadows in a few pages. 'Dragonfly Eyes' by Alane Ferguson is going to be expanded into its own book. When you read this short story of a girl who has crossed over into the afterlife, you’ll be begging for more. Ferguson’s imagery and description is simply mesmerising.R.L Stine shines with his contribution, 'Welcome to the Club'. It’s a simple story, spun around with his trademark wry humour and twists.

Readers will have their favourites but they will enjoy every story in this Fear anthology. It’s perfect for anyone who likes their scares in short bursts. It’s recommended for ages 15 and up.    

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