My rating: 1 of 5 stars
And you thought movies of games were bad…
Okay. It hurts me inside to say this. But it must be sad.
No. Just no. 100% no.
I enjoyed the FNAF games; not so much for the gameplay, but the story and implications behind it, and for the presentation, the subtlety and possibility that lay behind each seemingly-inconsequential image. You would think that this might provide an excellent mine for the written medium, for leaving readers guessing, for dragging out those mysteries one by one.
Well, you’d think so, and maybe it’s so, but for whatever reason, it just didn’t happen here. Some folks are upset because The Silver Eyes supposedly is an alternate universe and not necessarily 100% “canon” with the games, but honestly, that’s not that big of a deal. The games may not be “real,” anyway.
The problems begin on the technical level. Constant shifts of P.O.V. No warning or indication of those shifts (except for three of them in the next-to-last chapter, where they’re at least spaced out, but that kindness inexplicably stops again three pages later). Typos galore (I know I tie my hair with a rubber bang!) and the formatting is inconsistent. Adverbs and adjectives abound, and usually of the ridiculous and unnecessary sort.
But sometimes I can overlook technical aspects if there’s a good story to be told… Unfortunately, there isn’t one, here.
The elements that work (dead kids, possessed animatronics) work. On their own, at least. But we knew that, already, otherwise there wouldn’t be four games, an upcoming movie, and thousands of YouTubers out to discover “the truth.” The elements conjured for the story (Charlie’s brother, the forced awkward romance interludes between John and Charlie or Lamar and Marla – and really, did their names have to be anagrams? – dad’s mysterious partner who lost a hundred pounds and mysteriously appears to have actually gotten younger with no apparent supernatural explanation subbing for the games’ mysterious Purple Guy, just for a couple of examples) feel forced and shoved in like a checklist for bad horror novels.
The sad thing is there actually are good parts buried in here. Charlie’s childhood home, the abduction of Michael, the scene regarding Charlie’s father’s fate and the setup for the final confrontation are all well done, appropriately tense, and fit the mood of FNAF. Then they blow it, either resolving them quickly via deus ex machina or never referencing them again. No additional light is ever really shed on the central mysteries of the franchise, alternate universe or not.
On the whole it feels fractured and incomplete, both on a story and technical level. It hurts to say it, but the whole thing seems like fanfiction that got an extra polish job.
I’m not sorry I bought it; I think Cawthon and his creations are quite impressive, and supporting him so he can keep going is a worthy cause. But at the same time… I think he – and FNAF – deserve better, and rewarding him (or the author or whatever megalithic entity lies behind them) for such a substandard effort just feels wrong.
But that’s just my two cents.