We’ve arrived at the final Fazbear Frights book. This digital-only (at least at the time of writing) novella ends our little odyssey into the series, with only the police bonus stuff to explore. But does this book bring anything new to the table? Well, let’s see.
Section 1: “Felix the Shark”
“Felix the Shark” has the worst qualities of the Fazbear Frights series: predictable twists, formulaic storytelling, and an absurdly long windup to any genuine horror. Even the death is routine. It’s another tale of someone’s overblown fringe obsession leading them to do something rash and dangerous. The entire story could’ve been done in, like, five pages. The too-large friend group, the subplot with the book and its author, all of it screams tacked on. Even the titular Felix feels odd. A semi-anatomically correct animatronic shark is already out of step with the established iconography, but the limits of what a Freddy Fazbear Pizzeria can put in a restaurant go out the window. The “realism” had already degraded from book to book, with stuff like “Hide and Seek” and “Find Player 2!” having strange add-ons, but an underwater tube system children swim in violates so many safety codes it’s absurd. “Felix the Shark” was disappointing after the considerable wait. Fortunately, it’s not the only story in the book.
Section 2: “The Scoop”
While I was hoping for this to be a Sister Location story about the scooper, this was a solid little horror tale. Reading more like a children’s paranormal mystery novel, it had a strong character arc and a satisfying ending. Again, the series tackles grief and trauma in a surprisingly deep way. It’s not on the level of “Coming Home” and “The Real Jake,” but it’s still affecting. Including the long-term effects of grief and how different people process it made for a stronger narrative. It also confronts the very ’90s plot point of overworked parents and neglected children—but mixes it with bullying and self-esteem issues. These themes bolster each other, making for a cohesive and dense tale of the challenges of growing up while still maintaining an air of horror. My only complaint about “The Scoop” is that the story seems preoccupied with its fandom. It makes sense in the narrative and plays nice with the other themes, but the meta-textual aspects feel tacky. This story doesn’t need Freddy’s world to work or make sense. You could put it in almost any franchise, and it would still be a good story.
Section 3: “You’re the Band”
The in medias res opening leads into an interesting possession story with a few solid moments of fear. A child suddenly talking and acting opposite to their usual personality seems like something any parent would find concerning. “You’re the Band” combines this with other supernatural and suburban threats to create a solid feeling of panic and dread. The scenes at the parent’s house are especially harrowing, pulling heavily from child-abduction symbolism. The tale frays a little towards the end, though, as the whims of deep lore take over. It’s a resolution for a superfan, and I was a little lost. Still, finishing the series on a story full of Easter Eggs and genuinely scary moments is the best we could ask for from Fazbear Frights.
And we’re basically done. It feels anticlimactic for Felix the Shark to be a mixed bag of decent concepts with varying successful executions, but that’s the danger of the anthology format. Fazbear Frights has been, from the beginning, a loose collection of horror ideas tied mostly together by iconography. It’s opened my eyes to what—apparently—the modern child reader is allowed to experience and made me wonder what else YA horror is getting away with. Fazbear Frights is a series that’s disappointed me, scared me, grossed me out, and occasionally delighted me. It’s not for everyone, not even every fan of the games, but it had a few golden prizes tucked in its many blood-soaked pages.
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