Thursday, October 24, 2013

Goosebumps Review: Let's Get Invisible!

Now you see him.
Now you don't!

Let's get Invisible! is my favorite Goosebumps book I've read so far. This is actually funny because this was the first book I was dreading going into. I was not fond of this book as a child and barely remember anything from it whatsoever. It took me quite a bit longer to read this than I would have liked, and all throughout the process I was fighting myself to get through it, not knowing it would be as good as it turned out to be.

This is actually quite a good book, easily the best of the six I've read so far. It's also easily the scariest. This one gave me a chill down my spine with this line, "I had the strangest sensation that the mirror was pulling me, tugging me toward it, holding me down." Something about this line and what subsequently occurs is actually quite creepy. Maybe it also helps that this has been an October full of mirror horror movies- for some reason. Not sure why. I certainly didn't go out of my way to plan these reviews all that far in advance. I just kind of grabbed random horror movies and this is what came for me to review. It might be that all of those mirror-based horror movies were getting to me a little bit as I read this. Or maybe this book does deliver the scares just a little bit better than the other five so far.

The book starts out with Max, our main character, having a birthday party and eventually finding a hidden room in his attic containing an old mirror with a light switch on it. He pulls the switch and goes invisible. So, we're talking another relatively simple premise. Max has some friends (and his younger brother) who are also involved, but they're there much more for window dressing than being actual characters. Max and the mirror are the main pieces of the story when you come right down to it.

And the mirror is basically an SCP.

Oh no, you might say, he's going on about SCPs again! Let's all hide forever!

Wait! Don't do that! It'll only be a second! Look, it's a mirror that makes one invisible by pulling the light string attached to the mirror. Nothing else is explained except that in becoming invisible it allows the reflections in the mirror to come alive. Kind of. They come alive when the person first gets invisible, but they can only do anything when the person stays invisible for a long period of time. That right there, that I like. It's about a slow burn of horror rather than a stick in the eye of horror. It doesn't happen instantaneously, and actually takes a while to actually happen. Even Max, the careful one of the group, still goes invisible on his own despite having misgivings. The mirror is so awesome! And what could go wrong, right? WHAT COULD GO WRONG, RIGHT?

SCP, that's what, you idiot.

And that's why this book is so good. It holds onto the horror with an element of mystery. Even the point-of-view character has no real idea whether he should be afraid, nonchalant, or adventurous. His fighting spirit is the only thing that saves him in the end, but so much of this book isn't even about the ultimate ending. It's about fooling around with something dangerous, exciting, and ultimately unknown. It grabs the attention by having an actual mystery to it, a mystery that is never solved, as well as showing how kids (and adults in their stead) would act around a mirror that would make one invisible. I think it's very effective. It works really well for me.

Max finally being pulled into the mirror and facing off against his reflection is an idea I really like. The execution is well done, and the fear is there as well. The inexorable pull towards the mirror while invisible makes one feel both powerless and unreasonably claustrophobic. I truly liked it.

There isn't anything else to really talk about. The story is solid, if simple. The characters are the for set dressing except for Max. And the mirror is literally the most important thing there. I mean, if anything this book would be based on some kind of body snatcher story rather than anything to do with either mirrors or invisibility since neither of those aspects of the story really feature in the main plot of the story. Other than that-

I did not like this story as a kid. I don't remember much from it, and that's actually a huge shame. This is a really good and really effective book. It's kind of creepy, and that's more than I can say for the earlier five books. I hope by this point in the series R. L. Stine finally realized that perfect spot to scare kids and adults alike. Because that's what I want: horror, even if it is horror for the very young.