Five Nights at Freddy’s, for the two or three people who are probably living under a rock, is the indie sensation sweeping the nation. What started as a STEAM game where in you attempt to survive a week at the most horrifying Chuck E. Cheese’s knockoff ever, has ballooned outward into a tangled mess of a story who’s continuity is all over the god damn place.
For those out of the loop, I’ll tell you right here and right now: nonlinear story telling is one of my greatest pet pieves. It’s second place on my top five most hated tropes, clichés, and overall storytelling techniques, just inches behind the FRIangle (FRI = forced romantic interest). Seriously, bro, get over yourself. You’re not deep, you’re not artistic, and you’re not creative. At absolute best, you’re fucking annoying.
“Dude,” you’re probably saying, “you totally did the nonlinear thing in Gael, you faggot-ass hypocrite.”
I disagree. I believe Gael was plenty linear. True, there were a couple flashbacks, but the story was very straight forward despite it. I didn’t start at the end, flash back to three weeks earlier, flash forward to a week AFTER the beginning that’s actually the end, flash back to the second point to tell a little more of that part of the story, only to flash back EVEN FUCKING FURTHER… By which point I’m already lost. It’s why I fucking hate Pulp Fiction, it’s the most annoying aspect of Highlander 1 (and keep in mind that Highlander 1 is the GOOD Highlander), and it’s why I couldn’t see my way past season 1 of Orange is the New Black. That, and the fact the whole “I miss the misery, and am legitimately fucking stupid enough to go back to the very person who causes me misery on a consistent basis despite everybody and my fiancé who I’m MARRYING telling me it’s a bad idea” angle they were working with for Chapman fucking pisses me off more than you can possibly imagine. Nikki was fun, though. Red was pretty cool too. Come to think of it, literally every character EXCEPT Chapman was fascinating.
I’m pretty sure I was talking about something else a minute ago. Stream of conscious is a bitch.
Oh yeah, Five Nights at Freddy’s.
I’m afraid I have to confess that I’ve never played any of the games. At best, I watched Markiplier play them on YouTube. Partly due to the fact this looks like the kind of game I’d struggle with due to my crap eye sight, but mostly because I’m a console gamer at heart, and every PC I’ve ever owned has never been able to handle anything more complicated than the You Don’t Know Jack games. I blame my screen reader software.
After months of hearing about the book, it finally became available on Audible.com. And considering FNAF: Sister Location just recently came out as of this writing, I can’t help but think that was on purpose.
The book is a joint effort by Scott Cawthon: creater of the games, and Kira Breed-Wrisley. I have no idea who Breed-Wrisley is, but I’m guessing she did anywhere between fifty and ninety-nine percent of the writing. I’m not saying for sure Scott Cawthon just gave her permission to publish her fan fiction, then slapped his name on it because he owns the copyright, but really liked the story and wanted to see it get published… Although I seem to be thinking it pretty loudly. Whatever the situation may be, it’s a joint effort.
The audio book is read by Suzanne Elise Freeman. Honestly, I’ve heard worse performances than hers. She’s a woman of about two or three voices at best, and the worst thing I can say about her performance is that all her voices for the male characters sound exactly the same as each other. But hey, not everybody can be Luke Daniels, after all.
And as for the story… Whew boy, this story.
I’ll tell you right now, it’s not the WORST story I’ve ever read. At the same time, though, it’s a really bad idea to go into this and expect writing on par with Clyve Barker or Stephen King. Shit, maybe even R.L. Stine might be a bit much. From a writing perspective, this is definitely one of those books that makes me feel better about my own writing. Although it’s still better written than Twilight.
Oh yes: four or five years after that series stopped being relevant, I’m still throwing jabs. Because I’m still super pissed about the fact a talentless hack like Stepheny Meyer can get published, but a talentless hack like ME has to slum around the fucking indies.
But suppose you don’t care. You already knew going in this wasn’t going to be William Faulkner. How does the story pan out? And how does it tie in with the other FNAF material?
Well, first of all, I’m FAR from the person to talk to about theories, and how stuff from a video game series all ties together. Man, I got too much on my plate as it is with Gael consuming most of my free time. So yeah, I’ll leave that much up to you.
In terms of just being a story… It’s okay. It wasn’t as bad as the internet hyped it up to be, but it really didn’t light my world on fire. Nor was I expecting it to. It killed some time, it gave me an FNAF fix (though at this point, I wouldn’t say I’m much of a FNAF addict anymore), and I was content with what I had. I don’t feel bad about spending money on this book. At the same time, though, I don’t see myself picking it up and reading through it again anytime soon.
It does go out of its way to accommodate the people who haven’t played the games, or seen let’s players play them on YouTube (more likely the latter), and I’m sure a lot of people appreciate that. However, I have a hard time recommending it to nonfans. Hell, even if you LIKE FNAF, I can’t say I’m in a huge hurry to recommend it. If Matpat is anything to go by, I’m probably one of, like, three people who actually saw the story all the way to the end.
In the longrun, all I can really say is if you’re curious, give it a look. If not, you can afford to skip it over. This is pretty much the ultimate definition of a 2.5/5 review I can think of, but that’s pretty much where I stand.