Fire, Power, and Witch Hunts REVIEWING Fear Street Saga #1: The Betrayal

Welcome to The Real World According To Sam!! This is the second Halloween 2020 post. All month long, every day, I will be reviewing or showcasing different books that may be good for the Halloween season. 

 Fear Street Saga #1: The Betrayal

Author: R. L. Stine
Genre: YA Horror
Year: 1993

Fear Street Saga: The Betrayal


The Secret is Out!

Why do so many horrifying things happen on Fear Street? Nora knows. 

She knows how the terror began. She knows about the young girl who burned at the stake -- and the bloody feud between two families that caused the unspeakable horror that has lasted 300 years!

She knows, and she wants to tell.

Are you sure you want to hear it? 


I'm a fan of R. L. Stine. So far, he has consistently been my favorite horror writer for several years now. Granted, I don't read a lot of horror regularly. However, I know his books tend to have an interesting twist or will at least be entertaining for a few hours. I have yet to find a book of his that I have completely hated. However, I haven't read many of the Fear Street books (just one so far), so I decided to give these a try. 

The Betrayal is the first book in The Fear Street Saga trilogy, which tells the origin of Fear Street. Fear Street is a road in a town called Shadyside, where strange things tend to happen. This book and its sequels explain the history of the road, which in reality is the story of the Fier family. This is a YA book, so it is a step up from the Goosebumps books. 

We begin the story in 1900, with a fire. We are introduced to Nora Goode who is writing down her family history, starting from 1692. Immediately we are thrown into the world of witch hunts. Later on we shift over to Pennsylvania in 1710, and eventually return back to 1900 with Nora Goode taking a pause in the writing of the story. Why? Because you can't tell the whole history in just this one book. You need three books to tell the entire story.

As far as characters go, we meet quite a few. The main groupings consist of the Fiers and the Goodes. These families turn into rivals with their destinies tied together throughout time, due to circumstances and choices made by various family members over time. This book tells the story of the first and second generations of both families, where it all began. While the characters are generally interesting, they are not very complex. There is very little depth to them. This may be a bit of a bummer, but we're really here to know why Fear Street is Fear Street. We aren't here to necessarily root for either family. We are here to observe the happenings that led to future horror filled events. The girls in this book seem especially unimportant in certain regards, because they just kind of...exist. At this point, the men in the families are calling all the shots, while everyone else is around to be affected. The motivations are rather generic and everything really just starts off a long cycle of revenge.

This book is rather short and quick to read. It moves fast and we can easily see how the choices made by one family affect the other, and ultimately lead to the demise of both in different eras in time. I really enjoyed the historic elements and the jumps in time in this book. This is not merely the story of one family doing something wrong. This is a series of really bad decisions adding up to ruin everybody descended from them for over a hundred years. There isn't anything crazy special about it, but it is definitely an entertaining, light read. I had fun with it, and I think I might revisit this one during other Fall seasons or Halloween times. It isn't a top favorite, but the tone and mood of it feel right for the season.

Ultimately, The Betrayal really does feel like a starting point for a bigger story. This is the introductory section and it keeps things pretty straightforward. We get to spend a majority of the story with the same characters as they age within the first two generations. The basis for the main conflicts is well-established and easy to understand, but we definitely need the sequels to fully comprehend how this turned into Fear Street. I give The Betrayal a Lone Star rating of ✯✯✯. This is a good start, but it isn't the full story and it really reads that way. The characters are not deep, but the story is interesting.

This concludes another review here at The Real World According To Sam, where I bring the books straight to your screen and even provide my own two cents about them. See you tomorrow!