Book Review

R.L. Stine Retrospective – Part 2: One Last Kiss

I’m back and I’m ready for another bitchfest about this “R.L. Stine” series! If you haven’t read part 1, please do! It’s longwinded, but if you enjoy rants, I think it’ll be worth your while.

Continuing on my nostalgia-fest, I re-read One Last Kiss, back before I realized it wasn’t written by R.L. Stine. If you haven’t gone back to part 1 yet (what are you doing!? Read this stuff in order, man!), you should do that now, because I want you to its where I discovered some of my childhood favorites were written by a lie. While a slightly less painful journey than The Sign of Fear, this is another book that’s been struck from my nostalgic re-reads list forever.

Fear Street Sagas #14: One Last Kiss by R.L. Stine Brandon Alexander (idk who this guy is)
My Edition: Paperback – 199 pages – 1998 – Gold Key – ISBN: 030248038

Eleanor’s mother is dead and she lives with her overbearing, overprotective and slightly crazed father, thus making her eligible to be a Disney princess. Eleanor, like the heroine of any YA story, just wants to be a “normal” girl, but it turns out the vampires her father is always going on about actually exist! They’re totally real and they totally want to drink her tasty, beautiful blood!

Side Note: The first page of the book is apparently summarizing how the Fier family curse came to be and references Benjamin Fier accusing Susannah Good of witchcraft and having her burned in 1692. Yet, as we discovered in my last post, the Fier family curse originated with Fieran, the man they all got their last name from, in the year 50! This stupid series can’t even maintain continuity in the lore it created! UGH.

Our story begins in Shadow Glen, Virginia in 1730. Eleanor is sixteen and even though her mother died when she was very young, she constantly thinks about her murder. She also doesn’t know what her mother looks like because as her mother was killed, her blood splattered the only portrait of her and when her father tried to wash off the blood he washed off the paint. This shouldn’t be comical…and yet, I chuckle.

We learn Eleanor and her father move around a lot to avoid the vampires (that Eleanor doesn’t believe in yet) and that Eleanor finally has a friend, Annie. Also that she was invited to a party by the local rich peeps, the Fier family (DUN DUN DUNNN), but can’t go because her father won’t let her out at night.

Eleanor overhears her father talking to a stranger late at night. They’re discussing vampires and his desire to kill them all. The stranger basically tells the father he’s an idiot and gives him a diary to read that might prove helpful. Eleanor sneaks out to spy and the stranger sees her as he’s leaving and they both find each other beautiful so you know they’re destined to be together. We learn this is Trevor Fier and when Eleanor’s father tells her to stay away from Trevor because he’s dangerous, we know for sure she’ll do the opposite, like any true teenager would.

In her rebellion, Eleanor steals the diary Trevor brought over. It’s set in 1624 and written by a man, Richard, who was turned into a vampire. We learn that he’s the “good kind” who hates what he is and only feeds on animals and doesn’t want to associate with the other cool, sexy, powerful vamps.

Eleanor’s dad is having Trevor over for dinner in order to learn more about hunting and killing vamps. Even though he told Eleanor she has to stay away from Trevor, she has to cook and eat dinner with him first. When she’s out getting turkey, she runs into her friend Annie. Her personality is: red-haired indentured servant who believes in vampires because a large bat chased her once and she thought she saw a tall, pale man after.

Dinner with Trevor is awkward. Eleanor is breathless at his pale, dark-haired handsomosity. Her father just demands to know how he can kill all vampires. Trevor offers no hope and tells the father that he can’t help him. He suggests that the two leave town before the vampires kill Eleanor. One can assume this is because she’s beautiful. So basically he came over to not eat the food Eleanor cooked (DUN DUN DUNNN) and piss off her father. Daddio kicks Trevor out of the house and sends Eleanor to her room, but, being the rebel she is, she runs off after Trevor instead.

Only, she’s Our Heroine, so she must be placed in Peril. Therefore, she quickly gets lost after leaving the house and is soon grabbed by someone strong, who also puts his hand over her mouth to keep her from screaming. Ordinarily, this would be assault, but it turns out the man is Trevor, so it’s ok! She tells him he scared her and rather than apologize or respect her, he tips her chin up to better see her face and says it’s dangerous at night.

Eleanor begs Trevor to tell her what the hell is going on, but Trevor insists that would only place her in more danger (because ignorance is bliss, or whatever) and that he needs to take her home. They talk a little about the diary and Trevor says Richard is a distant relative. Eleanor thinks Richard is crazy, but Trevor insists he really was a vampire. They both agree Richard was lonely. Trevor and Eleanor both understand loneliness, so they kiss! ROMANCE.

This takes place in front of her house, by the way. Immediately after they kiss, Trevor looks at Eleanor with regret and runs off into the foggy night. Eleanor tells the empty night air that she liked the kiss before heading inside to find her father’s been MURDERED. Someone straight-up staked him through the heart – savage! Eleanor asks who killed him and with his dying breath he mutters “Trevor.”

Readers know this is unlikely, since Trevor was just assaulting romancing Eleanor, walking her home and then smooching her. It’s not likely her father would have survived a stake through the heart long enough for Eleanor to go through all that and come back and find him. Conveniently, Trevor randomly shows up back at the house so Eleanor can accuse him of murdering her dad. While it’s unlikely he did the murder, his reappearance is shady as fuck. Eleanor calls him out on that and Trevor claims he heard her father’s cry and came running – I’m not sure if I’m supposed to know that’s complete bullshit. Eleanor didn’t hear her father’s cry, so how could Trevor have? Anyway, Trevor blames vampires.

Trevor wants to send Eleanor away to be safe but she has nowhere else to go and now she wants to avenge her father’s death. He threatens her with death by vampires but she says it doesn’t matter, because no one would care if she dies. Trevor “thunders” that he would. TRUE LOVE. He puts her to bed and says he’ll guard her through the night and take care of the bloody mess that is her father.

Eleanor wakes the next day to find her father’s body gone and the local Reverend telling her the funeral service will be that afternoon, paid for courtesy of Trevor Fier. At the funeral, Eleanor hallucinates that her father’s coffin pops open revealing he’s a vampire and while doing so, she actually falls into his grave. (Is this a theme in the Fear Street Sagas?) Afterwards, this happens:

“She ran her fingers over the nails in the top. The lid hadn’t opened. She imagined it. Imagined it all.

‘Ellie!’ Annie cried.

Eleanor glanced up. Annie stared at her, her eyes wide.

‘What happened?’ Annie asked.

‘I…I fell,’ Eleanor stammered. She could not admit that she’d imagined her father to be a vampire.”

No shit, you fell, Eleanor. I don’t think that’s what Annie meant. And if that is what Annie meant, then she’s a dumb bitch.

Later that night, Priscilla Fier lets herself into Eleanor’s house, which isn’t rude or creepy in any way, and graces Eleanor with her extreme beauty and some free food. Oh, also she says Eleanor can come live in Fier mansion with her and Trevor, because that’s also not creepy or weird in any way. Eleanor does as she’s told, packs up a few belongings and heads off to live with total strangers.

When she wakes up the next afternoon, she doesn’t find it weird that neither Priscilla nor Trevor will see her. Despite being told that Trevor is in his study and not to be disturbed, Eleanor sneaks into his study anyway. No sign of Trevor, but as she’s browsing his books she just so happens to pick the one that opens a secret passage. The passage leads her through a tunnel to a coffin with none other than Trevor in it. She thinks he’s dead because she can’t connect the dots. But when he wakes up and reveals his fangs, she finally sees the light (no pun intended) and accuses him of being a vampire, just like Richard. Trevor’s response is “I am Richard Fier!”

Eleanor flees but is obviously caught by Trevor, who pins her to a wall and taunts her with becoming a vampire, going so far as to scratch her neck with his fangs. ROMANTIC. He asks if she wants to become a vampire and she rightly says no. He backs off after that and claims he’d never hurt her. When she asks why he attacked her, he says:

“I wasn’t attacking you. [Yes, you were.] You panicked. I was trying to stop you from hurting yourself. [Oh, by running your fangs along her neck?] And in a strange sort of way I wanted to prove that I could hurt you…but that I never would. [In a strange, aggressive and blatantly obvious way, you wanted to destroy her trust in you.]”

All is forgiven in Eleanor’s book though, because she read Trevor/Richard’s journal and he has feeeelings so she must be a gooood guy. They declare their love for each other and Eleanor renews her determination to avenge the death of both her parents, now that Trevor swears he wasn’t the one who killed him. They smooch some more because Eleanor is clearly turned on by threats against her life.

They go back to his study where Priscilla finds them. She immediately notices Trevor and Eleanor are in love and declares they should marry. Priscilla says they can use the ball at the end of the week to celebrate and when Eleanor protests that it’s all a little soon and her father just died, Priscilla tells her to STFU. Even though Eleanor was questioning her love for Trevor like 5 minutes ago, she now decides she’s in love with a vampire and that’s ok. She’s taking this all remarkably well for someone who refused to believe in vampires 24 hours prior.

Fast forward to the big party. Trevor leaves Eleanor to her own devices, despite constantly talking about how she’s not safe. She ends up tripping over a dead body and falling all over it and even sticking her hand into the hole where the guy’s heart once was. Because Stine Alexander had to one-up his own grave scene by adding a ‘literally falling into a dead body’ scene.

The party is canceled and Eleanor sent to bed. Despite “loving” Trevor, she definitely thinks he’s the murderer and when she happens to glance out a window and see him roaming the grounds, decides she needs to follow him. She finds him drinking the blood of something with a “delicate throat” and “frantically kicking legs” that turns out to be a wood rat. I hope the unnecessary drama was a poor attempt to trick the reader into thinking Trevor was drinking human blood, because I’m not about to believe Eleanor could mistake a wood rat to be, in any way, human. Unless of course the wood rats in this book are R.O.U.S.’, but I don’t think they exist.

Trevor reminds Eleanor he would never hurt her, or another human, but he still needs blood. He goes off to hunt more animals and she goes back to her room. She finally decides while she loves Trevor, she needs to get the hell outta town. So the next day she goes to say goodbye to Annie, but discovers Annie is missing. She wanders around all day and just happens to find her friend frozen in a river in the woods. Trevor shows up and helps Eleanor break Annie out of the ice. They bring her to some random cabin nearby and Trevor leaves Eleanor with the corpse while he heads back to the mansion to send a carriage.

Predictably, Annie is a vamp now. She tries to eat Eleanor, but it happens to be daybreak, so when Eleanor falls into the curtains and accidentally rips them away, Annie burns up. Watching the skin melt off people also seems to be a theme in these books. This scene, at least, is plausible (versus jets of skin-melting pie juice.) Right after Annie burns to a crisp, the carriage driver shows up. Eleanor heads back to the mansion and I’m left wondering: if Annie hadn’t turned into a vampire, would they have just left her corpse in the cabin to rot?

The end is a hot mess, so here are the key points: Priscilla is (obviously) a vampire too. Trevor didn’t tell Eleanor and pulls the “for your safety” card again. Priscilla killed Annie and Eleanor’s father – she kills “every night.” Also, Priscilla is Eleanor’s mother, not Trevor’s cousin, hence why she wants to turn Eleanor. Trevor can fly. Eleanor pushes Priscilla off the roof and skewers her on a spire of the mansion. Priscilla stakes Trevor, but misses his heart. Conveniently, it’s daybreak again, so Trevor tackles Priscilla into the sun and they both burn. Before Trevor dies, Eleanor plants one last smooch on his frothing, blistered lips.

And so, as Trevor is put out of his misery, mine ends too – at least, for this book. Once again, the nostalgic love I held for a book from my childhood has faded and I won’t ever be picking up this trash again. I think this was like one iota less annoying than The Sign of Fear.

Hang in there for part three – a book that might actually have been written by Stine himself.

*bat image found here – mouth image found here – lady image found here

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8 thoughts on “R.L. Stine Retrospective – Part 2: One Last Kiss”

  1. Bwahahahahaaa…!! Lol! I was hoping there would be another. This was entertaining.
    I actually googled “wood rat” to see if that “delicate throat” description fits, smh.

    Like

    1. I don’t even think she’d be able to see the damn thing in his hands, and if she did it’d clearly be a stupid rat! I can’t even. Lol. The final part will be up Wednesday. 😈

      Like

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