Saturday, October 8, 2022

REVIEW: Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes (book) by Scott Cathorn and Kira Breed-Wrisley

Five Nights at Freddy's: The Silver Eyes is the first book in a horror mystery series that I believe is aimed at a younger YA audience. I bought it brand new, as part of a trilogy boxed set.


It's been 10 years since Charlie left Hurricane, Utah, the site of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza, her father's restaurant. Now 17, Charlie has returned for a dedication ceremony arranged in honor of Michael, a friend of hers who was kidnapped and likely killed all those years ago. The visit will reunite her with her former best friends: Marla, Jessica, Lamar, Carlton, and John. Although Michael wasn't the only child to go missing, his disappearance was the one that hit Charlie and her group of friends the hardest.

While Charlie's there, she decides to explore some of the forgotten recesses of her childhood, visiting the nearly undisturbed remains of her and her father's home, as well as what's left of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza. Charlie and her friends initially think the restaurant has been torn down, but then they discover that it was simply walled up. What's more, it's still accessible, as long as they're willing to take the risk of being discovered by the local security guard. 

My primary exposure to the Five Nights at Freddy's franchise is watching a Let's Play of the first two or three nights of the first game. A newly hired security guard monitors the restaurant and its animatronics via several security cameras. The animatronics have been programmed to freely move around the restaurant at night in order to keep their servomotors from locking up. Unfortunately, if they make it to the security guard's office, they'll kill him. His only defense is two doors with lights he can control that can keep the animatronics at bay, but any time spent looking at one of the doors and working the lights provides the animatronics with an opportunity to sneak up on the player via the other door.

I was expecting this to be a fun, creepy, and fast-paced book about murderous animatronics. Instead, it was largely a slow-paced exploration of Charlie's forgotten childhood memories and how they were connected to the kidnappings that occurred 10 years ago. It boggled my mind how much Charlie had forgotten about her own life and somehow never previously wondered about, and the way she was written, her life from age 8 to 16 might as well not have existed - all we learned about those years was that she kept more in touch with Marla than any of her other friends.

Certain aspects of the story were kept secret for longer than made sense - for example, the details about what happened to Charlie's father. And the design of the restaurant animatronics was just...dumb. Charlie's father would have had to be both a moron and a monster to design the animatronics to function the way they did, because it would have been cheaper, safer, and easier to just create two versions of each character, one an animatronic and one a suit that was wearable by humans. 

I was never able to take the setup, a bunch of 17-year-olds reminiscing about the days when they were all around 7 years old, seriously. I think it would have worked better as a bunch of 20-somethings reminiscing about their teen years. I'm guessing the ages were chosen to be more relatable for teen readers, but I can't imagine the book's style would have been very appealing to that audience.

I'm not looking forward to reading the other two books in the trilogy. My only hope is that they'll be a little more tightly written.

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