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Valley of the Screaming Statues

Series: Nightmares! #4
Author: Wulffson, Don
Illustrator: Domingo, Dominick
Release Date: 1995
ISBN: 0843138637 / 9780843138634
Length:126 pages
Number of Endings:21
LC Cataloging in Publication Summary: The reader chooses the outcome of a teenage boy's nightmare in which he searches a Malaysian jungle for his missing brother and anthropologist father.
Demian's Thoughts: Like other books in the series, this one suffers from redundant introductory material, and the fact that the reader knows from the start that it's all just a dream trivializes the whole storyline. The adventure at least deserves some points for being (like the rest of this series) considerably more genuinely horrific than the more popular but distressingly light-weight Give Yourself Goosebumps books, but this isn't really very strong praise -- although the book tosses around words like "mucuslike" and occasionally features situations that might be considered genuinely frightening, its horror isn't very clever and its text isn't particularly well-written. The plot is aimless and random (in keeping with the "it's only a dream" theme), and the characters are incredibly shallow, only barely showing off the personality quirks attributed to them in the character list at the start of the book. The basic premise of the book appeals to me (a mysterious valley filled with screaming statues located deep in the jungle) and the adventure hook (searching for lost relatives) seems workable, but the book totally fails to live up to its potential in execution -- if the geography of the jungle were more consistently developed and the story were more mission-oriented, this could have been a memorable story leading up to a satisfying conclusion. Alas, in reality it is far from satisfying or memorable, and despite a few moments of mild creepiness, I can't really recommend it.

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