Five Nights At Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes

five-nights-at-freddys-the-silver-eyes

Five Nights At Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes was written by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisley and first published in 2015. It’s a horror story set in an abandoned family restaurant and is loosely based around the video game franchise of the same name. The novel stands alone and at the time of writing no sequel has been announced.

Charlie didn’t have a happy childhood. Her mother left, her father committed suicide and, most horrifying of all, one of her closest friends disappeared without a trace. Michael was believed to have been snatched while eating at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza – a popular local restaurant – yet no trace of him was ever found.

Ten years later, Charlie and her friends return to the town of Hurricane for a memorial service for Michael. Reminiscing about the past, the group of teens decide to take a look for the old pizzeria. When they arrive, they’re disappointed to find that a mall has been built in its place and immediately abandoned. Yet as they explore, they make a shocking discovery. Freddy’s is still there, bricked into the wall of the mall but still entirely as they remember it. Even the animatronic mascots that it was known for seem to be in full working order.

The group return on subsequent nights to explore the abandoned restaurant, but as they do so things start to grow increasingly weird. Electronics malfunction, pictures seem to move and the robots begin to behave erratically. When one of the teens disappears, apparently dragged away by a mascot, the rest search frantically for him. What they discover sheds light on what happened to Michael all those years before…

In case you’ve never heard of this series before, a brief introduction. Five Nights At Freddy’s was released in 2014 and is a point-and-click survival game for Windows, Android and iOS. The basic premise of the game is that you play as a night watchman who has to survive five nights of employ, using dwindling power supplies to man monitors, lights and security doors in order to protect yourself from four malevolent restaurant mascots – Freddy Fazbear, Bonnie the Rabbit, Chica the Chicken and Foxy the Pirate Fox – who will kill you on sight if they possibly can. The game was well received by horror fans for its tension, originality and jump-scares and spawned a run of equally popular sequels.

I don’t generally review tie-in novels on this blog, I decided to make an exception for this one. While I have played the games, the novel is actually designed to stand alone and be fully enjoyed by someone who knows nothing about the franchise. And, to be fair, it does largely succeed in this. The book is pretty easy to follow and contains a cast of human characters who are entirely original. Even the things that would be familiar to a fan are described in full, allowing a new reader to be able to imagine what each of the robots and the interior of the restaurant looks like without having seen them.

However, it is still clearly a book that’s been written with fans of the game in mind. The story is filled with Easter eggs that would go straight over the head of a newcomer. They’re never anything too jarring, just simply tiny nods to the source material that would completely pass over a non-fan’s head. For example, when the robots do finally start to wander, Bonnie is the first to leave the stage. This is a reference to his modus operandi in game (something that a fan will know only too well), but not knowing this does not impede the enjoyment of a casual reader.

Yet, weirdly, I think that fans of the games may find the novel somewhat unsatisfying. It falls into a kind of grey area between pleasing old fans and attracting potential new ones. You see, the novel is set in a parallel continuity to the games and so events play out quite differently. For example, the Bite of 87 never seems to have occurred (or, at least, is never mentioned) and the fate of the child killer (known to fans of the games as “The Purple Guy”) only has some passing similarities. If you picked up this novel hoping that it would resolve some of the game’s many ambiguities, you will be disappointed. To enjoy The Silver Eyes, you need to detach yourself from its source material.

The story itself is the literary equivalent of a bad horror movie. While it is coherently and genuinely quite creepy in places, it doesn’t make one lick of sense. I mean, let’s look at its setting for a moment. Why would you brick up an abandoned restaurant inside the walls of a mall, entirely intact and apparently still with electricity and water ten years after it was shut down? Surely, the sensible thing to do would be to demolish it. You see, even on the most basic level, the premise of this book is utterly ludicrous. It’s best to leave your common sense behind and utterly suspend disbelief before you start reading it.

The writing itself is also average at best. While I have read far worse (and talked about it at length on this blog), the quality of the prose is simple and over-descriptive, taking far too much time to ensure that the reader knows exactly what each character is wearing at all times. It’s clear that the writers also don’t excel in penning fast paced sequences. While some of the encounters with the mascots are very tense (my personal favourite was the sequence when Bonnie manages to corner Charlie in the bathroom), some of the more frenetic ones (such as any showdown with Foxy) seems muddled and a little confusing.

Much like the games, the book is vague in its resolution. The games have always left a lot of their lore open to the player’s interpretation and this book is no different. It’s really unclear what actually happened to the missing children. While the novel does hint as to their fate, this comes via the raving of a concussed character and so nothing is ever truly revealed. Even the significance silver-eyed skeleton referred to in the title is left to the imagination of the reader. While this seemed vaguely supernatural at the start of the story, nothing was ever really made of it and I’m not 100% sure what the authors were trying to convey through its inclusion.

I also found the ending to be rather disappointing. Ultimately, the day is saved by a deus ex machina which flew in the face of things that the villain claimed earlier in the novel. While it’s possible that the bad guy was simply wrong, this seemed somewhat unsatisfying. It felt as though that authors had written themselves into a corner and could think of no other way that the suvivors could escape from the pizzeria.

Finally, let’s talk about the characters. These were a particularly weak point in the novel as most of the primary characters just felt like extras in a horror movie. They were flat and virtually interchangeable, many of them even having similar sounding names to make it even harder to tell them apart. The only ones that really stood out where Charlie and Carlton. Carlton was your typical funny character (even in the face of death) and I must admit that I did find him to be genuinely entertaining on occasion. Charlie, as the protagonist, was the only person with anything resembling character development, yet at the end of the story I still don’t feel she learned much. The events at Freddy’s forced her to confront parts of her past she didn’t like to think about, yet she learned little about her family or how the robots functioned. Ultimately, she seemed to be the same person at the end of the novel that she was at the beginning.

This review is dragging on so I guess I’ll wrap it up. Speaking as a fan of both the games and bad horror movies in general, I did ultimately enjoy this novel. However, I’d definitely call it a guilty pleasure. The book is easy to read but filled with flat characters and weak plotting. I would probably recommend it to horror fans who are looking for something a little different, but it’s far from being called a good book.

Five Nights At Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes can be purchased as a Paperback and eBook from Amazon.co.uk

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7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Sarthak
    Jan 23, 2017 @ 16:17:17

    good review very true I enjoyed it
    Im a fan so I agree very much with you

    Reply

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