Hello, Spongey here.
Well, it’s Horrorland time again. From here on out, the rest of the Horrorland books are not sequels or anything like that. Well, book 8 is kind of close, but we’ll get to that one.
Now, these books have to be good on their own instead of compared to others. So Stine went back to the well he’s visited a few times before: Mummies.
I like a good Mummy story, but Stine has an odd way of doing them. The Curse of the mummy’s tomb mostly had Gave dicking around and while the book was fine, a mummy was not the center piece of the story, and it hurt the pacing.
Return of the mummy was an improvement, by having more mummy in the plot but it wasn’t a true Mummy story as the mummy was not the villain. Then in Series 2000, we had the mummy walks which would be the same if you took out the mummy. It’s that weird.
My point is, Stine mummy books rarely have the mummy as the bad guy, or focus on the mummy. So that was my first thought going into this. Is it any different? Yes…and no.
What do I mean? Let’s find out.
This, is Who’s your Mummy?
…Lame title., I know. Also, this was the first “New” GB book to come out in 2009, thus changing my 2008 TECH joke.
The book opens with our main character, a chick named Abby with her brother Peter, having a water gun fight. They live with their Grandma Vee, which is are for a GB book. You know, to have the hero living full time with a grandparent instead of a normal Mom/Dad.
They keep up their battle until Grandma Vee shows up. Also, Abby says her hair is her best feature. This is actually important for later. But what’s more important is Peter is a typical GB brother only he’s not as dick-ish.
Abby tells us about their looks and stuff, but I’ll stick to the better part. Vee calls them over to talk.She’s leaning on her cane more than usual, and her skin looks pale and tight.
“I haven’t been feeling well. I’m going to check into the hospital for some tests”
Whoa, this is actually heavy. Their grandma has the best case of PCD I’ve read in this series. She feels actually weak due to both age and sickness. Abby even says she has been living with Vee since they were little.
“If anything ever happened to her..”
This is a bit darker than a a normal case of PCD. It’s kind of sweet actually. But….what happened to their real parents to start with?
Well, anyway, they will be living their Unlce Jonathan while she’s in the hospital. They’ve never met him before, but he lives in a tiny village in Vermont. Hey, a GB book that tells us what State it takes place in. That’s rare.
Actually, they say they are in Boston right now. Yes, a GB book where the kids live in a major city. I think the only other time was in How I learned to fly.
“Why are you sending us to a faraway village? Shouldn’t peter and I stay close?”
Good question…Vee does not answer it. She just assures them Jaonathan is cool and they will be safe with him.
“I’m sure it’ll be fine”
Spoilers: It’s not.
With that, we cut to them arriving by train to that tiny village. John isn’t there yet, but they do a take a look around. It looks like an old timey village, right down to putting an E at the end of shop for some reason.
Then some weird woman with a tattoo of a bird on her neck approaches the kids. She just says hi and the kids point her to the house their uncle lives.
‘Oh no, you don’t want to go up there!”
Ah, it’s the “seemingly crazy person tells idiots to stay away from evil place” cliché. Only it’s their uncle’s place, so it may be more unfounded. But it’s Goosebumps….
“I live up there too. Very close by. Do you think I don’t hear the strange moans at night?”
…Maybe he has a girlfriend?
A bit after that, the crazy lady runs away having told them about “that strange man”. Well, I can tell this uncle will be a great uncle.
Right on cue, he shows up. He has a black mustache which means he’s EVIL. He seems friendly enough, and they chat it up. Abby tells him about the crazy woman.
“Thats Crazy Annie”
Ah, now it’s the “crazy person who is actually right” cliché. I just say this in Deadtime stories recently. Only that guy was an old croquet player who got possessed by a ghost knight.
“Too late. We’re here. Your my prisoners now”
One chapter break later…
“Hey, I was joking”
They go into his house, and it’s very much dressed up like an old Egyptian place. This is the subtle villain ever.
He shows off his collection and knowledge of Egypt stuff. And yes, he says he has a mummy and Peter may see one before the end of his visit.
I’d question how a seemingly normal guy can be trusted with a freaking mummy, but whatever.
Then we are introduced to Sonjja, the housekeeper lady. She’s quite dramatic and also she’s very subtle.
“What beautiful long black hair”
I think Dr Shreek has a new girlfriend.
By the way, Sonja shows them a door leading to John’s private quarters. She says to not go on there. Well, they’re going in there soon.
Abby thinks she hears moans in there, but shrugs it off. I won’t make a sex joke this time. Abby later goes to her room, which is also very Egypt
But then Peter shows up for a water guy fight, as he brought his own squirt gun. But as it turns out Abby brought her’s to…but it’s not loaded.
“I think I’d put a loaded water gun in my suitcase?”
That’s…smart. I have no joke here.
After that, they call Vee to see how she is doing. She is a tad surprised when they mention his egypt obsession, but she shrugs it off and tells them to hang in there for 2 more weeks.
Yeah, part of the twist with John is obvious. The other part? Not so much. So after that, Abby takes a nap but is woken up by a strange creature springing on her.
A creature known as a..
Yep, it’s John’s cat, named Cleopatra SUBTLE.
‘By my faith,. I’m sorry she scared you”
Sonja shows up to say that, and says the cat is old.
“She doesn’t like change”
She’s a yotuube commenter?
“Such beautiful hair. By my soul, it will not go to waste”
Okay, we have the female Dr Shreek.
At dinner, John tells a story about how he was trapped on the nile river, and got attacked by Eels.
“And what happened?”
“They chewed off my legs and I died”
I love a happy ending.
John knows how to cap off a good meal: by taking his niece and nephew to look at a recreation of an ancient temple!
He also shows them the mummy of Ka-run-tut. They look at awe at the former boy king. But then Abby hears a dry whisper…
“Who’s your mummy?”
Spoilers, it’s peter. After that mummy visit, we cut to that night as Abby is trying to sleep. But she can’t, so she just peeks outside her window. She sees a bunch of bats.
The bats are terrorizing some dude. A tall dude who is “evil looking” and wearing a black overcoat. Of course, Abby thinks he’s evil and the bats are trying to fend him off from doing evil things.
Okay, what they do thing is a bit less obvious than John’s thing.
The bats start to tear him up but he runs away. Abby is scared by this, by John, having heard her screams, just tells here the bats are simply protecting the house from evil.
Any house that needs protecting from evil is not a good one.
So she goes to sleep again, but keeps hearing odd moans from the other side of the wall.
“I want to die..”
Come on, this book isn’t THAT bad so far.
That next day,John apologies for that crazy shit that happened on her first night. He explains that he keeps a bat cave under the house.
And in his bat cave, he dresses up like a bat to fight cri-wait wrong bat cave. He says his house is a target for thieves, cuz it has those old ancient thingys….Makes sense.
Anyway, Peter moans about how this village has no tech-y stuff. John then says he ordersall his good stuff from real mail.
“Snail mail? That’s lame”
I hate you right now.
So Abby goes to brush her hair….but sees that a small chunk of it is gone. Please tell me they aren’t gonna do what I think they are…
Before she can react, Cleo the cat shows up. So as revenge, Abby shoots her with her water gun. Then of course-
“The cat didn’t move….pieces of the cat dropped to the floor. The tail crumbled to dust. The eyes rolled out. The head crumpled and fell off the body….The cat had disintergrated into a dry mound of ashes at my feet”
That…is really freaking dark for this series! AWESOME!
“This is wrong. This is HORRIBLY wrong!”
Abby runs to peter and yells that they have to get out of here. She tells him what happened.
“You mean you KILLED her?!”
Well ,when you put it like that, this book becomes really damn dark!
And so they run off, fully planning to hope on the train back home. They say they’ll call John later and say they had family stuff to deal with. To be fair, if I killed a cat, I’d be acting dumb too.
Oh wait, they want to tell John now. I’m sure he’ll let you leave for no reason. So they look around for him, but somehow he can’t be found.
So they go into his banned quarters…and it’s full of mummy cases. They look and see that mummies in there are….very much alive and moaning.
Oh, so that’s why she heard moaning. Thank god. The alternative….was not good.
Then she sees another door in the room that is slightly open. They peek and see John who somehow didn’t hear them come in.
He is looking at a mummy on the table.
‘Then he dug his hands into the mummy’s belly”
“And then I watched him raise the disgusting wet mummy guts to his mouth…and start toeat them!”
That…I…what?! You are seriously that the uncle eats…mummy guys. He’s….a canibal.
YOU KNOW-FOR KIDS!
Christ, I thought this new series turned own the dark stuff so it can be more fast paced. Creep from the deep had a hint of this but….damn this is….FREAKING AWESOME!
I love that twist. It’s so creepy and dark! I haven’t felt like this while reading Goosebumps in awhile!
It’s a great dark turn that is really nice. But wait….how do the mummies have guts? They’ll explain that in a bit.
They describe in a bit of detail, that’s really freaky.
“He was eating a DEAD PERSON!”
Peter, you really do know how to remind us how dark this book is.
So now they know John is evil. Wait, what’s with the pacing? I feel like we just got here, and nothing gigantic huge happens before this is revealed. We are 54 pages in now and while I can expect a 87 page main story to do that, I don’t expect it to have so little happen before rushing to this point.
A few pages later, they run out and end up back at the train station. Once there, the “evil looking” dude shows up again.
They run away and he gives chase. Thankfully, Crazy Annie pops up with her car, and the kids get in a car with a crazy stranger. Smart kids.
She drives them up the hill, cuz she lives there too. I don’t care if you live there too, it’s close to the CANNIBAL UNCLE
..And she takes the kids right to them.
“Good work, Annie. I told you we needed someone in the village. Someone they trusted. Just in case they tried to escape”
Awesome twist aside, I have questions. If you wanted them to trust someone, why have her almost give you away and tell them to get away from her? If you guys both shut up then there’s a better chance they will trust her!
No, they don’t explain WHY Annie is with him as she is not like him at all.
So John takes them back to his quarters.
“I want your hair”
“I need your hair. The first time I saw it in a photograph, I knew it would be right”
“Cleopatra was an ancient cat. She was my cat for 2000 years. And you saw her crumble. You saw too much”
Dude, it’s not exactly their fault The cat is the one who got in a room with someone that has her WEAKNESS!
“Sonja, Annie, and I don’t come from your time”
Oh, that explains Annie.
“We are ancient Egyptians. We have found the secret to immortal life. We know how to stay alive forever”
Oh, is a foutain of yhouth? A potion? Some machine?
“We stay alive by eating the inside of mummies”
Okay, that adds another layer of awesome….but also more questions. Is this caused by something supernatural, or is Stine trying to pass this off as legit? Cuz I’m sure if I ate mummy guts, I would just throw up all over the place.
”You can’t eat their insides!”
Even she knows this is bullshit.
“I found the secret to keep these mummies alive! I kept them alive all these years. Kept them allive so their organs could stay fresh!”
Now, the stomach, liver, and heart were usually kept in the mummy so this almost makes sense. But there are only so many mummies out there and while you seem to have a lot, I do have questions.
Mostly this one: What happens when you run out? No matter who good this remedy is, it can’t make MORE guts! People only have so many guts after death and in 2000 years, you have likely eaten them all.
So does this remedy take the bits of guts that are left and make more or what? I get making dead organs fresh but how do you make more?
“Yes, you guessed it, I need special protein from the hair of certain people”
“It has to be jet black hair with a special protein”
Okay, when I first read this back when it came out…i hated this part. For some reason, this was bad enough for me to claim it to be the first bad GBH book since Revenge. Now? Not so much.
Looking back, it is dumb but not the worst thing ever. It adds to some creepy stuff as our heroes have to stay here and feed mummies.
But…it also makes no sense at all. How the hell does any kind of hair keep organs fresh! Especially dead organs!
I googled it and found nothing of value, not even this book. They don’t imply anything supernatural here. This is saying hair somehow keeps organs fresh and makes more somehow.
…OF COURSE DON’T YOU KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT SCIENCE?!
It just baffles me how little sense this makes. Now, they properly foreshadow it, but I still don’t get it. He doesn’t explain more and just assumes we think it makes sense. It does not!
Unlike the last GBH twist we saw, I can see why Stine wouldn’t go on as this doesn’t need much explaining. But it does need logic. Maybe if it was ENCHANTED hair or something supernatural, it would make sense.
But it’s not, and that bugs me. Also ,WHY just this type of hair? I don’t get that.
“You’re going to grow hair for me, Abby.. Beautiful hair to keep Annie,, Sonja and me alive. I’m going to keep you and peter here a long time”
Hey, maybe he kills and mummifies people himself to get more guts. …Just a thought.
So the mummies chant HAIR over and over again. Creepy….not.
This isn’t a huge threat. Oh no, you’re gonna lose your hair. How tragic. Granted, it’s to keep a cannibal alive but…well actually, I get it.
Also, don’t they have hair growth formulas to get you more hair easily? Just saying.
The kids try to run but bump into the scary dude again.
“Who ARE you?”
“I’m your uncle Johnathan”
NO ,THAT’S IMPOSSIBLE-oh wait that makes perfect sense.
Fake!John explains this. His name is actually Tuttan-Rha.
“I saw your uncle in the village a few weeks ago. He was showing off pictures of you…I saw your long black hair in the pictures. I almost started to drool”
- Who the hell shows pictures of their neice and nephew to a stranger?!!! That’s just begging to get them kidnapped!
On the day the kids showed up, he had Sonja distract him him the evil dude picked them up. John was 20 minutes later cuz of this and missed the kids.
“The village has no police”
It’s a small town, but it still makes no sense. Why does the real John live in a crap town. Though it explains how no one knows of Tuttan’s evil stuff.
So that’s why he went up to the house, to get the kids. Why he didn’t do this in the day while John is busy or something and there are no bats, is anyone’s guess.
They all run and Abby figures that squirt gun may kill Tuttan and Sonja like it did the Cat. They to the room and grab the guns but Tuttan-Rha pops up.
“Don’t get your hopes up, kid. You’re never leaving this house”
“Don’t get YOUR hopes out!”
Once he says that, John shoots…but nothing comes out. It ran out. Damn, that could have been a YEAAAAH moment!
The two men have the wimpiest Immortal/Human fight ever. But then Tuttan knocks him out quickly. While this happened, Abby went to the bathroom. Hey, danger doesn’t mean you can keep your pee tank full.
“Were you too afraid to watch me defeat your uncle”
“I emptied my mouth. I’d filled it up in the bathroom sink”
She spews a mouth full of water at home. Then in really epically dark detail, he disintegrates. Okay, eating mummy guts to staying alive makes it so even small water kills you?
Worst. Life Remedy. Ever.
Still, that was badass. They walk around to find that Annie and Sonja died too.
“All three of them must have been connect somehow. They shared a life force or something”
That’s a good way to get around having to actually explain it.
Even better: The mummies are all dead too. Hey wait, if the cat they’ve owned for so long can die this way too, then that means their life force was connected. So why didn’t they all die earlier?
“Their life force must have been connected to Tuttan-Rha’s too. After 200 years, these anicent mummies can finally stay at rest”
So once again, the mummies are not the villain. It’s someone else…who is the best mummy book villain ever.
One mummy that was left grabs Abby and..
…Damn. That’s actually kind of depressing to think about. These guys were denied death for years so some guy could eat their guys and feed them hair. But now they finally have permission to die.
That’s pretty cool. I love how the mummies are always the VICITIM. It was great in Return in the mummy, and it’s nicely done here.
We cut to the next day, as John apologizes for being an idiot but it’ all good. They have to leave…cuz …i don’t know. Evil uncle doesn’t mean they can’t stay for their scheduled time.
Vee doesn’t notice cuz she reacts fine when they show up later.
“Well, I guess I can’t hide the truth from you. I’m not dong well. Not doing well at all”
In my experience, that means she may very well die soon. A KID’S BOOK.
Abby says she has something to help. She takes out some…type of liver.
“Just eat a nice chunk. It will do you a world of good!”
“But what is it?”
“I’ll tell you after you eat a piece. I promise grandma vee, You’re gonna be around for a LONG time!”
Yes, they imply Abby feed here a mummy gut to keep here alive. Part of thinks is sweet and funny….but my brain reminds me that SHE’S TURNING HER GRANDMA INTO A CANNIBAL.
So the moral is: It’s okay to be a cannibal l if it keeps your alive. Sure, doing this makes you as bas the evil guy but who cares?
And she only has like a couple. That won’t keep her alive, it will just prolong the inevitable. But if she just plans to make Vee a bit better so she can be fixed easily by doctors…that’s cool.
But why do something that’s just as bad as what Tuttan did? But wait, there’s more: In the horrorland section, we cut to 4 months later, as Vee is actually strong now.
So it worked. Eh, I suppose it implies it kept here strong so that doctors could fix her problems, as I said. Either way, the book is over.
Overall, this one was pretty decent. If anything, it’s the scariest of the main horrorland books. The atmosphere is very well done.
It really fells like you are in this Egyptian inspired place. And it’s actually written with a sense of tension. Every small thing actually becomes creepy thanks to it being given the gravitas it deserves.
The dark moments are very well done and I enjoyed a lot of it. The ideas can be good at times, and some parts are even depressing. Sadly, parts of the plot hold it back.
I can deal with the pacing and how little happens before the end. That’s in a 87 page story , after all. It does bug me but not too much. What does bug me though is the twist.
I don’t hate it as much and I very much like the basic it, but it’s not fleshed out enough. It makes no sense that hair keeps them alive and all that jazz.
The amount of questions drag the book down, as well as the ending. But oddly enough, I can suspended belief, unlike in our last tale. The hair actually isn’t too silly…it just makes no sense.
This is one of the darker Horrorland entries as there is actual atmosphere, even in the crazy parts. This feels like a classic Goosebumps story in places. I have to praise stine for that.
This was a surprisingly decent enough entry after the weirdness of Dr Maniac. I want to like this a lot cuz it’s well written in area,s and has a great heavy atmosphere.
But of course the twist dumbs it down for me. So what do I give it? Well, In the end the good stuff is more evident than the bad stuff. At least in my opinion.
So I’ll give it a very good grade. Is it the best mummy book? At it’s best, yes. At it’s worst…it’s as good as Return of the mummy in it’s main moments.
6 down, 6 more to go! We’re already HALFWAY THERE!
SPONGEBOB: Halfway there! Halfway there! Halfway there!
Or, if you want to be a smartass, we have 4 to go before the 2 part finale.