Son of Slappy (Goosebumps Most Wanted #2)
Slappy is my all-time favorite character in the Goosebumps series. Anything he is significantly in, I seek it out. This is such a complex character and every book tends to add on something new about the character. That being said, now to review this one.
I've not read a Goosebumps book since "Slappy's Nightmare," which was a little strange but still very delightful. However, I have to say "Son of Slappy" is currently (as of this post) my least favorite of the Slappy books. This book felt somewhat strange and out of place from the very beginning. I'm not sure what it was, but it just didn't feel...right. Slappy just felt very different and out of character. He was barely even in the story, said very little, was actually rather annoying, acquired a new adverb (tinny. Stine, what's up with that?), and his motivation was out of left field. I mean, at least in "Bride of the Living Dummy" he had a misconstrued motive. I'm not even sure what Slappy was hoping to achieve in this one. It felt like it just wasn't part of the canon. We learned rather little about his character. It just wasn't...SLAPPY. He just didn't make sense and it seems so weird for him to practically be an entirely different character altogether. I just didn't get it and this was, as of the time of this post, the weakest storyline of the Slappy books.
HOWEVER, all of that being said, it's not a terrible book. I would say that "Son of Slappy" is a good read for someone who has never read the other Slappy books. It feels like a stand-alone story and not part of an ongoing venture of one character. If anything, Slappy (after reading NotLD 1-3, Bride of the Living Dummy, and Slappy's Nightmare) is just not the same character and it's the first in the Slappy books I've read where very little is added on to his complex character aside from a new voice. Granted, we can argue the differences in Slappy's character is the up-in-the-air notion that this is not the same Slappy, but a copy (after all, the words are supposed to bring pretty much ANY dummy to life, if we are to believe the previous books).
To be honest, even the main character felt strange. Jackson is not a terrible character. If anything, he's actually really nicely written and you can't help but really feel sorry for him once Slappy comes along. Rachel is actually a very annoying character, though I think that was somewhat the point. It just felt like there was less story and this book was a collection of whining characters and a Slappy that was just like "I'm too old for this crap." Okay, seriously, if Slappy had actually said that in the book, that would have made this whole thing totally awesome. Just that one line would have made this book awesome.
But, please, let me clarify that the book, on its own, is a good book. It just kinda has its own little thing going on that just feels really different from other Goosebumps books, and especially the Slappy books. It's just very...different. If it was a stand-alone book, it would have probably gotten a higher rating from me. As it stands though, since it is part of an ongoing character arc of sorts (Slappy books, to this point, seemed to build off of each other to make Slappy a more and more real character, while this one felt like it made him a lot LESS of a real character. And his insults were just...really really lame. Granted, he was always kinda cheesy on his insults, but, this was just...groaners galore), it just didn't feel as strong as the others and Slappy was just not as good of a character.
Is there anything (from a major Slappy fan) that really stands out as good? Yes. The ending. And I don't mean that in a sarcastic way. The ending was actually rather satisfying. It still had the open-endedness that Stine is known for in his Goosebumps books, and while that can work or not work in each book, depending on the preference of the reader, the ending of this one did offer me a little something I needed. I just needed SOMETHING to redeem Slappy for me, and that was the ending. I won't give it away, but when I read it, I just felt a little bit of ease, as I felt like I had gotten a little bit of something I had been wanting out of the character for years. It's not HUGE on its own, but to me, it stuck out and made me rather happy, even if it was just so little. It was just the RIGHT thing to do with Slappy in this book and it is very much appreciated. It made him feel a little more real in a story where he just felt otherwise.
So, long story short: It's an okay book. Good read on its own. As another book in the SERIES of Slappy books, this is the weakest one.