(Bet you can’t tell this over is a recent print…)
Hello, Spongey here.
Yes, it’s already time for another Horrorland review. I am trying to go slightly faster on these, because we’re so close to down with Arc 1. Plus, it gives me time to kill before my next few projects.
With all that said, there is once again not much to say here. It’s the final book before the two part finale thing. This one is completely original, with nothing to compare it to. Other books do have kids getting powers, but not in the same way and the story is the most original of the first arc.
Will that make for a good story? Well, let’s see!
This is, Help! We Have Strange Powers!
Great title, by the way.
The book opens with our protagonist, Jillian talking about what life is like with a twin. It’s mostly a bunch of witty observations and exposition about her brother Jackson. Yes, even she thinks the names Jackson and Jillian are dumb.
“Mom says I think too much”
Does that mean we’re going to have logic again?!
At one point she says she and Jackson once went to Comic-Con, then says it’s “a whole other story”. As told in the sequel, “Help, We STILL have Strange Powers!”.
Our true opening scene has the twins going to see an antipcied Superhero sequel. …There are so many jokes I can make.
The film in question is Buttkicker 2. Yes.
“He started out as a member of the mighty mutant club, but he was kicked out for being too tough! How cool is that?”
Not very. Also, does he know The Masked Mutant in this case? Also, doesn’t this sound more like a villain than a hero?
Their hearts sink once they spy two kids they named Nina and Artie. In short, they are twins that always hang around them because their parents force them too. They are weird and gross and annoying.
I’ll skip the specific descriptions, but they do a fine job of making them seem annoying, although they are somewhat tolerable compared to someone like that guy in Monster Blood for Breakfast.
“What is this dumb film anyway?”
If you know nothing and it’s so dumb, why are you even seeing it? They even say later that they don’t care for Superhero movies anyway!
“Is it like Batman or what?”
“ButtKicker could eat Batman for breakfast”
Eh, Batman v Butt kicker doesn’t have the same ring to it.
Eventually, Artie accidentally ruins Jackson’s sweater and does minor things that are so bad it warrants Jackson trying to fight him. So it’s honestly his fault for pretty much picking a fight over something stupid.
Not surprisingly, they are kicked out of the theater. All of them, even though Nina and Jillian technically did nothing. Don’t worry kids, the film was likely irrationally hated by the internet anyway.
They walk around for two hours until they spot a fortune teller machine called Madame Doom. This thing actually appeared in an Enter Horrorland segment prior to this book so it’s kind of interesting.
Also, she’s apparently important enough to put on the cover, I guess.
They pay the machine and try to get the card that comes out but get their hands shocked out of nowhere. This is kind of important. And what does the card say?
“Welcome to HorrorLand”
…A bit early in the book for that.
They just shrug it off and move on. That..technically has a point, don’t worry.
The next morning, the title comes true as strange things happen. Jillian knows what’s for breakfast before she sees it and she magically moves syrup into her hand. They don’t catch on yet, but we now know they have strange powers.
The powers seem to based around telepathy and the like, which is pretty cool. It happening quickly works fine too since things did happen beforehand this time.
At school, she starts hearing voices from various people, and Jackson levitates a chair with no one reacting at all aside from a few small bits. Because of course no one cares.
Jacksons seems to figure out his powers quickly as he takes advantage right away, stopping the clock in class so the teacher doesn’t know it’s close to time the bell to ring. I’m sure this couldn’t fly like this in real life but whatever.
They talk after class and Jackson doesn’t seem to care that he randomly has powers and just started using them willy nilly. Jillian cares a bit more, and wonders if they have become Superheroes and freaks.
Well, this already has better pacing then some Superhero films I’ve seen out there.
We cut to Gym as taught by Coach B. Any relation to Coach z? They play Soccer and Artie messes up a lot by accident which again sets Jackson off enough to try to mentally hit him with a ball, which thankfully misses.
This kid has some serious anger issues, to say the least.
Some other day, they have to go to Nina and Artie’s house to pick something Jillian lent them. Why she lent them anything is anyone’s guess. Although Jackson’s excuse of wanting to play with their Wii holds up since he’s a dumb kid.
“Uhh Uhh Uhh. My brother was really into it”
Artie bumps Jackson by accident, and it turns out Nina dropped the notebook that was lent in a puddle. Which means Jackon gets angry and “Asks” Jillian to help him teach them a lesson. Seriously, they are annoying but they are all just dumb accidents.
Hardly anything worth getting THAT worked up over, if you ask me.
So they user their mind powers to freeze them today. What amazing revenge, that’ll show them what for. As punishment for doing something that dumb, they can’t get the twins unstuck.
This is pretty suspenseful for the like 4 pages they keep it, as they unfreeze just as their parents get home. How…convenient.
Because of this scare, the kids decide they must practice their powers. I’m kidding of this idea so far. It’s a fun idea to explore for Goosebumps, with plenty of potential. They’ve even odne some good things with it already. Let’s see if the pay off is lame.
That night, they head out for some Hero practice and find out they can’t fly or lift things. Suddenly they are approached by …Xavier asking them to join his school!
Nah, although that would be amazing. Instead, it’s an old guy with Benjamin Button Syndrome, pretty much.
He says he works for “The Institute” and he came to find them because they pick up the twins “Vibrations”. He wants to take them to see “The Inspector”. Seriously, we are one step closer to an X-Men Scenario here.
They refuse but Finney here uses his own powers to teleport right to the Institute to meet The Inspector. I don’t think we are told exactly where this place is, by the way. His actual name is Inspector Cranium and he seems pretty nice for now.
He goes into a speech about how powers can be a good thing or bad thing. You know, I can think of many times a Goosebumps character has special powers of some kind that he could have gone after. Where was he then exactly? (Especially with the How I Learned to Fly kid).
The kids don’t trust him so they lie about not having powers as he tries to do some tests on them. They manage to trick them simply by thinking hard…about how much they hate Nina and Artie.
Yep, mindless hatred saves the day. Goosebumps only delivers the best morals.
Cranimum apologizes for the mistake and has Finney drive him home. The fact that it only takes them 20 minutes raises more locations about the location of The Institute.
When they get home, they look up this stuff and find nothing. To add to the spooky-ness, the card they were given says “You didn’t fool me”.
Clearly they did if you let them go instead of calling them out.
The next day, the kids plan to tell their parents since it’s very easy to prove that they have powers. But somehow they forget what they wanted to say just as they try to say it. Almost like there’s some weird mental block going on.
It actually doesn’t take them long to figure that Cranium is to blame, as he said he can send his own vibrations. Now that’s creepy, given how far away he is.
A few days later, they got to Nina and Artie’s birthday party as a place for our climax. It actually goes fairly well, but not too long after everyone leaves, Cranium crashes their party.
Conveniently after Mom left to do a thing too!
He shouts about he was not fooled and makes me wonder why he didn’t attack sooner. However, he attacks…Nina and Artie. It seems he has been mistaken and thinks they have the crazy and powers and their brain must be drained.
I guess there’s somehow no way to get rid of powers without gettign rid of the whole brain. Although I suppose it depends if they were born with them or not.
“As an Inspector for the Thought Police, I have to do this for the good of the world”
The Thought Police. That’s another name that’s both dumb and amazing.
“You drain people’s brains for the good of the world?”
“We can’t allow normal people to have powers. Normal people are too weak, too foolsh,,,Only the thought police can have that power! We keep order. Don’t you ever wonder why you never meet any real Superheroes? It’s because we got to them first”
First off, then explain Skipper.
And 2nd…that’s’ actually a pretty interesting concept for a Goosebumps books. This guy thinks most people can’t handle powers and is the reason Superheroes aren’t running around for real.
That’s really interesting and kind of creepy. It raises some questions since he seems to think only his kind deserve powers. It raises dumb questions too since I don’t know what qualifies for a normal person, but whatever.
I’m kind of surprised a concept like this got into a modern Goosebumps book. It’s interesting and while it is watered down it is used kind of well. Anyway, onto the brain draining
They try to stop Inspector Cranium but of course have a bit of trouble with that. But suddenly, Nina makes him float to the ceiling.
Yep, that have powers after all. What a twist!
She ex plans that she was born with the powers, meaning she wasn’t a normal person at birth, bringing us back to my question. They try to hide their powers due to the Thought Police , and act like weirdos to hide the truth.
Wait, so they had to act like outcasts just to keep them out of trouble. That’s…kind of tragic and interesting. Dang. Also, this twist actually makes sense given what we know about them. Especially with how they got unfrozen just as the parents got home.
It was actually foreshadowing done right! This book just keeps getting better!
Cranium, who has politely been quiet this whole time now starts shouting about wanting their brains and such. He attacks but Nina and Artie hold their own for a bit. Eventually they just turn him into a Baby.
Huh, so these kids are somehow more powerful then this pretty dangerous guy who can control minds from far away. Eh, we don’t know the full rules so maybe this makes sense, somehow.
Either way, he flies away. He might be able to change back but that’s a sequel’s problem.
“Yes, we’re amazing. But we’re also in trouble. Do you really think we can ever be safe from The Thought Police?”
…What a dreary thought.
We cut to sometime later as the Lerner twins seem to have vanished with their house now being empty.
“Guess they have to move around a lot”
Dang, a Goosebumps book with a bit of a Downer ending without being all dark about it. That;’s impressive. But do their parents know about the powers in this case? We saw them in one bit so we know they exist.
Jackson and Jillian spot the Madame Doom machine again. Oh yeah she gave them the powers. That was not explain the best. They try it again for some reason and just get a dumb joke. But something is on the back of the card this time.
“Welcome to Horrorland”
It…said that already, so it’s not as shocking. Why was it put at the start? Whatever, this is the end. A fine ending and it even has a slight cliffhanger, as there’s a chance the powers will be explained in the Horrorland section since Doom has connections to Horrorland.
I can’t recall the explanation, but we’ll get there.
This one was surprisingly good. The concept is really solid and they explore it well with some fun scenes of them messing the powers. We also have a solid villain who gives us really interesting and creepy ideas, capped with a solid twist and even some slightly sad parts.
As far as flaws go, there are some parts, Jackson is bit too angry and some things could have been explained better. But by Goosebumps standards, the good stuff is so good I can forgive those things.
And it holds up on it’s own without needing something to come before it. This was quite the pleasant surprised and it’s one that comes recommended. This was a really solid way to end the normal books in Arc.
The grade seems a bit high but remember I grade these by Goosebumps Standards.
And with that, we’re in the home stretch with a 2 part finale to go. But there’s something to tackle first. Remember those Horrorland sections I can mentioning?
It’s finally to do them. I thought it would be clunky to tackle them in each review, so I’m doing them all together. I’ve never read them all in a row before so this will be a lot of fun.
But before we go, may as well rank the 10 books in Arc 1. The last two are all in Horrorland so don’t count as normal stories like the others, so here we go.
10. Revenge of the Living Dummy: No shock here. I like the ideas in a way but the terrible writing makes this one really annoying, and nothing makes any sense. Very disappointing.
9. Dr Maniac Vs Robby Schwartz: There are some interesting ideas, but nothing makes any sense by the ending and the ending is a real cop out. However, it’s also a blast because it’s so weird and the villains are amazing. It’s a mixed bag.
8. Monster Blood for Breakfast: An easy improvement on the other Monster Blood books, this has some fun moments but the plot is a bit messy and it’s nothing that special. Still enjoyable thought.
7. Welcome to Camp Slither: The most adequate book ever. There’s nothing wrong with, but nothing sticks out here. It does everything…in an okay way. It’s enjoyable but nothing raises it above “Fine”. It’s only above MBFB because the plot is a bit better written.
6. Who’s your Mummy: Parts of the twist make no sense, but it’s pretty disturbing at times and is quite creepy and enjoyable. It’s almost great, It just held back by quite a few writing problems.
5. My Friends Call me Monster: Obviously it may belong in the next slot since it has good humor and good ideas, but it’s not quite special in some areas. With that said, it is a lot of fun with what it does, even if it’s not the most original.
4. Creep from the Deep: The writing isn’t the best, but it makes up for it with a lot of energy and some truly awesome scenes. Nothing really gets in the way of my enjoyment, which puts it above a few others.
3. Say Cheese and Die Screaming: It takes the basic premise of the previous books with the premise and it improves upon it with tons of LOGIC! The heroine is proactive and the suspense is high for that very reason. I wouldn’t call it great but it’s very solid in it’s writing.
2. Scream of the Haunted Mask: The Haunted Mask sequel we needed. It plays with the concept some more and is very enjoyable with some really sweet stuff. It can argued for being the most solid story but it does have to lean back on a previous book, which is why my favorite would be..
- Help! We Have Strange Powers!: I explained it up there but it truly is quite good with it’s concept, pacing and ideas. It’s a very solid entry and doesn’t have as many flaws as the previous few have, which is hwy it’s the best.
With that we can move on to closing Arc 1. We’ll see how that goes.