Sunday, October 21, 2018

13 Days of Halloween: Campfire by Shawn Sarles

Jimmy Patterson; 296 pages; Amazon
Does you remember the Point Horror young adult books that were published in the late 1980s and throughout the early 1990s?

Well, I stumbled upon the Point Horror book shortly after I started reading the Goosebumps franchise in 1992! While a few of the books got lost over the years, I still have a pretty decent size collection. Once in awhile, I will find a Point Horror title at a thrift store and add it to my collection.

The young adult horror novel Campfire by Shawn Sarles was released during the summer through Jimmy Patterson (Little, Brown, and Company). Let me just say this book was a difficult for me to find. I looked at three Walmart stores and a Barnes & Noble store and none of them had the book in stock. I ended up ordering it!

I can't put my finger on it, but Campfire's art cover looks very familiar. I could of sworn I've seen a similar cover on an old Point Horror novel. Does anyone else agree with me?

Campfire is a fictional slasher tale with three separate short stories included in it - "Beware When The Fair Comes To Town," "Red Raven," and "The Mountain People." No, the book isn't an  anthology.

The plot centers around sixteen-year-old Maddie Daveport, her family, her best friend Chelsea, and a few friends going on a camping trip in the mountains. To kill off the time during the nights, they gather around the campfire and tell scary stories (the three stories I have already mentioned about).

"They say that stories told under a full moon come true," Caleb said.

To make a long story short, let's just say one of the stories becomes real. Now Maddie, her family, and friends are being hunted down one by one, and they must find a way to survive.

Campfire is definitely a throwback to the Point Horror books and the 1980s slasher flicks. Reading this book stirred up some nostalgic feelings for me. I did like reading the book, but there were several things that bothered me too much from loving it. For starters, it's not written very well; the narration is all over the place. The first several chapters are extremely boring. These chapters have the typical teenage cliches that keep appearing in the horror books and movies. For me, these scenes are really dumb and should have been edited out. All the characters are very bland, but so were the ones in the Point Horror books, so I probably shouldn't complain too much.While the three short stores are intriguing, two of them are completely pointless and could have been edited out as well.

Overall, I was slightly disappointed with Campfire. Considering this is a "James Patterson Presents" title, so I expected something else entirely. I know Campfire is Shawn Sarles' first novel, but it just isn't written very well. Despite being under 300 pages, it feels way too long. With a little editing, Campfire could have been trimmed down to under 200 pages and the story's pacing problems could have been fixed. Maybe I should have edited this book myself!!!

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