Superstitious by R. L. Stine

A review of the contemporary horror novel Superstitious by R. L. Stine.

Superstitious is the debut adult novel written by the well-known children’s author R. L. Stine. You can kind of tell it’s his first one; it’s not great. The book follows Sara as she enters a relationship with her professor, Liam. He’s a superstitious chap but she doesn’t mind. They fall in love and get married. People with a connection to Liam keep turning up dead and Sara begins to think that he may be the killer.

Spoilers ahead!

He isn’t the killer. He reveals that the demons of superstition themselves live within him, and pop out from time to time and kill people. Sara is a scapegoat of sorts; the demons will leave Liam and enter Sara’s child. This means that Liam can finally be free to live a normal life with his sister, who is actually his real wife. It doesn’t exactly go to plan when Sara smashes a mirror, freeing the demons one last time. They kill Liam, and Sara winds up in hospital where the doctors tell her that she is pregnant.

I have several issues with the plot. It’s an interesting idea but it wasn’t particularly well thought out. The sister/wife seemed really tacked on to add a ‘surprise’ moment at the end. The ending twist of Sara being pregnant and Liam’s sacrificial death being meaningless was broadcast as soon as the main plot was revealed at the end. On the topic of Liam’s sacrificial death, I think we’re meant to feel sorry for him at this point for all he’s had to endure. But he used and manipulated Sara to free himself of this curse and live with the woman he actually loved. He was willing to bestow this curse onto their child. Or any child he would have had for that matter. He could have just not had kids and the superstition demons would have died with him when he died of old age. So, no, I didn’t feel sorry for him when he died.

All in all, it’s an okay book. Stine wrote it because his agent offered him a truck load of money to enter into the adult fiction world. It was written quickly and for the cash. At least that’s how it seems. The book reads like Stine put little effort into it. It feels rushed. I wouldn’t recommend it, but I wouldn’t say it was terrible either.

Cassidy grew up in Thanet and lives here with her family.

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