Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chain Letter and The Ancient Evil by Christopher Pike




Chain Letter
When Alison first read the chain letter signed "Your Caretaker," she thought it was some terrible sick joke. Someone, somewhere knew about that awful night when she and six other friends committed an unthinkable crime in the desolate California desert. And now that person was determined to make them pay for it.One by one, the chain letter was coming to each of them ... demanding dangerous, impossible deeds... threatening violence if the demands were not met. No one out of the seven wanted to believe that this nightmare was really happening to them. Until the accidents started happening -- and the dying...

The Ancient Evil
After receiving a chain letter, a group of teens decides it must be a joke--after all, the perpetrator of the original chain letter is dead and buried. But when Fran refuses to perform her "deed", she is almost immediately killed, and the group realizes that the power behind the letters is still alive.
Source for images and synopses:

Overall Review:

    These books weren’t really my cup of tea. I read Chain Letter before I watched “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” but now that I’ve both read this book and watched the movie, I’d be surprised if Chain Letter wasn’t based on “I Know What You Did Last Summer” at least a little bit. To me, the characters weren’t likeable, the plot didn’t really draw me in, and overall, I thought that the whole book was kind of impersonal. It didn’t really make me feel anything, and a book that doesn’t make me feel anything is, to me, an ineffective book. Chain Letter did have a little bit of a creep factor, I admit. But I couldn’t bring myself to really care about the characters, and I couldn’t really tell if they even cared about each other that much.
    The Ancient Evil was even worse. No offense, Christopher Pike, but seriously? The ending was just ridiculous and totally out of the blue, and the characters, though some darker stuff happened to them, were just as unlikeable and impersonal. It sounds horrible, but I almost felt like I didn’t care whether or not they died--I kind of just got that feeling that I would get if a stranger died. You know, that “Oh, that must be so awful for their family” feeling? It’s not like the events in The Ancient Evil had absolutely no impact on me, but it’s not like I was incredible affected by it, either. I couldn’t bring myself to care about the characters, and that, to me, was the main problem with this book.

Read on for a more detailed review of the book. WARNING: *SPOILER ALERT!*

The Plot

    There were a few things that I liked about the plot in Chain Letter. I thought it lacked originality due to its uncanny resemblance to “I Know What You Did Last Summer,” but the perpetrator of the chain letter was surprising, yet not so ridiculous that it was hard to believe. However, in The Ancient Evil, I thought that the plot was just unnecessary and sort of out of the blue. Pike could have--in fact, he should have--just ended the story with the conclusion to Chain Letter, but noooo, he had to add another book! The whole storyline of The Ancient Evil was kind of hard to believe and really unnecessary, to be honest. I realize that Pike was trying to make the story more intriguing by actually killing off characters and adding a sort of supernatural element to the story, but really? If you want to write a paranormal story, write a paranormal story. But don’t add a supernatural element at the very end of the second book! That just doesn’t make sense. All in all, Chain Letter managed to slightly spike my interest, while The Ancient Evil completely lost me. Together, I would give the plots of the two books a 6 out of 10.

The Characters:

    The characters were unlikeable and unrelatable. I thought Fran was okay, since she kind of seemed like this innocent, nervous, frail character for whom you couldn’t help but feel bad. I sort of liked her. Alison didn’t make a huge impression on me, though she did seem nice, but there didn’t seem to be too much dimension to her character; only one side of her was portrayed. It was the same for some of the other characters: Tony was the nice guy, while Kipp was the goofball. And honestly, Brenda seemed kind of selfish, though I could kind of see that she cared about her friends. Joan was actually a pretty dynamic character. She seemed like a total jerk in the beginning, shallow, selfish, and, quite frankly, mean. But she turned out to be a decent person in the end, and I thought that showed pretty good dimension. And, of course, Neil turned out to have another side to him as well, though I did end up feeling kind of bad for him, too, in the end. Overall, the characters were kind of one-dimensional and didn’t make a huge impression on me, which is why I’m giving the characters about a 5 out of 10.

The Conclusion

    Chain Letter’s conclusion was decent. I was surprised by it, anyway, and it was a fairly exciting wrap-up to the story. Still, I found myself feeling kind of detached, and although there was lots of action going on, I couldn’t really bring myself to care about what would happen to the characters. And--I know I’ve said it a million times, but I’ll say it again--The Ancient Evil’s ending was just ridiculous. I mean, a cult? Really? When was that ever mentioned in the rest of the book. Seriously, I get that Pike was trying to make it shocking and surprising, but it just seemed totally irrelevant to the story and left me with a kind of “What just happened?” feeling more than a “Wow, that was an amazing story” feeling. The conclusion of Chain Letter wasn’t awful, but the conclusion to The Ancient Evil didn’t really make sense to me. I would give the conclusion a 4.5 out of 10.

Overall Rating: 5.17 out of 10

Hope this was helpful,
JC <3

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