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5.0 

The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack

By Steve Rasnic Tem
The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack by Steve Rasnic Tem digital book - Fable

Publisher Description

Fall is Laura's favorite time of year, but this autumn, things are different. She's a teenager now, and the season brings new changes and challenges. Laura's decided she's too old for trick-or-treating and wants a more grown-up Halloween experience with her friends. Unfortunately for Laura, her parents tell her she has to take her little brother, Trevor, out trick-or-treating first. When they go shopping for Halloween costumes, they stumble upon a very strange shop and its even stranger proprietor. When Trevor tries on the wrong mask, the consequences are exciting...and dangerous.

Written by Bram Stoker-, International Horror Guild-, World Fantasy-, British Fantasy Award-winner, Steve Rasnic Tem.

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1 Review

5.0
“Our heroine is a girl named Lauren. She's twelve years old and too mature for trick or treating. She could give some of the kids in my neighborhood a lecture here. Maybe she should. Err... well if she existed anyway. At any rate, she's got a problem. Her parents want her to take her little brother Trevor out trick or treating and she's kind of stuck. The first part of the story deals with mainly this issue. It's not until after she accepts it and heads off to the Mask Shop to get costumes for both herself and her brother that things really get started, but once they do... The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack really gets going when Trevor's mask gets stuck to his face. And I don't mean stuck as in "pour some hot water in to dissolve the glue." I mean stuck as in "this thing is magical and isn't coming off until Halloween and then only if you're lucky." The even bigger problem is that Halloween isn't for a couple of days and she has to keep the world from discovering the problem. It's a lot of fun. I won't go too far into Lauren's character arc except to say that it's pretty amazeballs. She does a lot of maturing over the course of a single novel and it makes sense in the context of the story. It builds slowly but it's nice to see. I grew up in an era where a lot of children's books (there was no such thing as a YA genre in the long ago era of the Eighties) dealt with minor problems and the protagonists didn't change much. Tem puts his heroine through a situation that not every adult would be equipped to deal with and she takes it head on. If things don't always go as planned, well, that's life. She finds a way through and that's what's impressive. There is one specific issue that I don't seem to agree with her on, but she makes her own decision and at twelve, that's pretty impressive. Lauren shows more leadership than a lot of the adults I've known too. There are times when she has to take the blame for things she didn't do. There are times when she has to deal with problems she has no way to anticipate. There are times when she has to keep Trevor encouraged. She can't take credit for any of it or the secret of the stuck mask will be out. None of it would be easy, but she does what needs to be done and doesn't complain about it. This is a young lady with chutzpah. Trevor, for his part, is a little trooper too. There are times when I'd expect a child that age (like my daughter) to break down and cry. The fact of the matter is that he does whine a bit but in his case, so would I and I'm a grown man. He gets through things though, even when they're not easy. I like this kid. The thing that makes The Mask Shop of Doctor Blaack work so well is that everyone else acts the way you would expect them to if everything was normal. Tem has built his world so well that it's almost seamless with our own. There's just that one tiny little exception about weird masks that stick on faces and do crazy stuff and nobody knows about that. It's close enough to be familiar and just far out enough to be weird. It works perfectly”

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