We’re almost to the end of the published Fazbear Frights books. The last two books have been a lot more interesting, enjoyable, and horrifying (and potentially upsetting for some) than most of the series. That might be recency bias, but it does feel like they’ve got into the groove of how this anthology works. It also helps that this volume has a great cover. But are the stories inside truly worthy of it? Let’s see.
Section 1: “Gumdrop Angel.”
As far as I know, this is the first time we’ve had cannibalism in the books. It’s got a lot of steps before that happens, but that’s ultimately the scare factor. The real appeal is the wild and gruesome implications associated with that cannibalism and, though you’d never expect it, the romantic subplot. Fazbear Frights rarely features romance, but in this story, it’s oddly charming—until, you know, it becomes sinister.
Section 2: “Sergio’s Lucky Day.”
I don’t know where to begin with this oddball tale. It’s a little like if “To Be Beautiful” and “In the Flesh” combined into a story of a man coming undone. This is the first time Balloon Boy has shown up and his style of horror is different from the other animatronics. The only thing slightly close is the Minireenas from “Room for One More.” It’s also notable for having a lot of adult-oriented plot lines—and not only in featuring a fair bit of dating scenes. The main character is an architect, and his job (and finances) plays a huge role. I don’t know if I like the Fazbear Fright stories where the main character is unlikeable and continues to become more deplorable as the plot moves—but his ending is so gruesome that it sticks in my head. Of the “character slowly mentally collapsing” plots, this one is slightly more organic in how it builds than, say, “Hide and Seek.” That also holds true for the next story—if you consider how much extreme sleep deprivation is implied.
Section 3: “What We Found.”
This one is maybe too dense with details. Characters have complicated backstories, and the plot moves all over the place. Everything concerning the grandma is weird and breaks the flow—stopping us from getting to the good part. The good part is that this is the first story to deal with a devolving reality. Time and space and logic collapse and we get a nightmare of hallucinations and self-destruction. Characters have mental breakdowns all the time in Fazbear Frights, but this is the first one where it’s completely unmooring. I don’t know if the suitably dark ending makes much sense even in a story like this—it’s rife for speculation—but it’s at least thematically interesting. I do have to warn readers, though: this story deals with heavy topics. Parental abuse, self-harm, and mental illness come up as plot points—so maybe skip this one if those topics really bother you. It’s a good story, but not one worth a negative emotional reaction.
And that’s Gumdrop Angel. I’m pleased with it and would’ve accepted it as the last book. But we have a few more—one in publication—and I’ve discovered that The Puppet Carver is the most disgusting body horror nightmare in the whole series. So, for people still following this review saga, come back soon for my take on it.
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