I LOVE the Five Nights at Freddy’s (FNAF) franchise. I am a massive fan. I have spent hours upon days playing the games, watching YouTuber’s play the games and doing a load of research to try to piece together the intricate and absorbing lore of the story along with thousands of others.
So naturally I was so excited to find out there was a novel out!
The plot of this story is set after all of the events from the games, (1995 for those who might not know). After the tragedy that happens at Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza (no, not the bite of ’87. No, not the bite of ’83 either!) the survivors come back to the town where it happened 10 years later for a memorial and realise that not all is as it should be and the pull of the truth is too tempting to keep them away from Freddy’s.
Now, this story has been confirmed by Scott Cawthon (FNAF creator and co-writer of this book) as both canon and not canon. How? Well, when it comes to the lore The Silver Eyes should be considered as an alternate universe, rather than directly related to the lore in the games. So I had to resign myself to the fact that reading this wouldn’t necessarily fit lore puzzle pieces together – if at all – and that time lines might not sync up. But having said that there did seem to be some parts that aligned with the lore in the games, such as the presence of Afton (from Sister Location) in The Silver Eyes.
“The whole town was like this, a mix of old and new, familiar and not. The things that had changed seemed out of place, and the things that had remained the same made Charlie feel out of place.”
Would I have preferred a truly canon FNAF novel? Sure, of course I would have. But I can also appreciate that a different medium might require different ways of telling a story and the only way to add to a franchise might be to have a different timeline. Apparently the second book (oh yes, there’s going to be more of these!) will carry on directly after the events of this book, so it makes an alternate universe easier to accept. The upcoming FNAF film might recreate the game lore or create its own storyline, but I think the novels are being used for their own encapsulated story line that won’t merge or be shared with any other medium.
One thing that bothered me about this book is that the back cover states “NOT SUITABLE FOR YOUNGER READERS” and apart from saying “obviously” in a rather sarcastic tone in my head my reaction was “GOOD! Come on book, scare the crap out of me like the games do!” – but unfortunately this didn’t happen. The warning might as well have not been there. Now I know that I’m a grown up and what isn’t scary to me might be bed-wettingly frightening to a 10 year old, but with this in mind I really think the ‘horror’ could have been pushed much further than what it was considering the reputation FNAF has.
“When it gets dark, they will awaken; the children’s spirits will rise. They will kill you. I’ll just walk out in the morning, stepping over your corpses, one by one.”
Yes, the games mostly rely on jumpscares and this can’t be achieved in a book, but the games also build up a palpable atmosphere of tension that can be cut with a knife and anxiety that puts your heart into samba mode. In the games the player is constantly on edge but this was missing in the book and it could have been achieved if the writing was of a better quality (more on this shortly). I appreciate that the franchise has a cult following and some members are younger but I just wish they had pushed for the older reader a little more.
I guess one of the biggest questions for this book would be “could someone who knows nothing about FNAF read this?” and the answer is; yeah, I guess so. It is an alternate universe after all, but I wouldn’t fully recommend reading this if you’re not already a FNAF fan to some degree. This is mostly because the lore is what makes FNAF so much fun and keeps people coming back to a game that has the same basic set up throughout each addition and there are a couple of ‘nudge-nudge wink-wink’ references throughout the book that might fly over the heads of newcomers.
But the main reason why I wouldn’t fully recommend this to newcomers to FNAF is because of the writing. Let’s be perfectly honest here: this is not a shining beacon of literature. There are questionable uses of grammar, the pace is a little erratic and there is definitely a repetitive feeling to the descriptions. But, as this is mostly for the fans, this can be overlooked as a fun but glorified fan-fiction style story. But if you’re new, buckle up because it’s not a smooth ride!
“And what makes you think they won’t kill you?”
The writing was definitely the weakest part of this book – not the story, but its execution. For example, the main characters were written in a way that made them completely flat. The characters were supposed to give a ‘human’ element to a story mostly concerned with animatronics – but none of them really stood out. None of them had their own personality beyond a quick cliché description. Even Charlie, our main character, is a little meh.
The frustrating this is I don’t think this is Cawthon’s fault based on the imagination he has to create the FNAF lore in the first place (which is incredibly intense and elaborate) but rather that of the co-writer, Kira Breed-Wrisley. I don’t think she’s skilled enough to handle the nuances that a story like this would require to add any tension or oomph for more mature and experienced readers. This would make an excellent online fan-fiction in a forum somewhere, but it’s extremely lacking for a mass production paperback.
I, like many, fell in love with the animatronic characters from the games and we all have our favourites (Mangle is mine) and I wish we had spent much, much more time with these characters rather than the humans. In the games there is only one human character – you, the player. There are 6 in The Silver Eyes and at times it feels a little ‘Scooby-Doo’ and the humans aren’t the fun part of any FNAF story. This is no exception. I mean, a romance in a FNAF story?! Completely unnecessary.
But it’s not all negative! The comedy moments are funny in a cringe inducing way, and if you go into this with the right attitude (think campy B-movie horror film) then you’ll probably have a great time with this book!
“Animatronic therapy! Recommended by six out of seven crazy people.”
All in all, The Silver Eyes is easy to follow if you’re new to the FNAF world, I just don’t think you’ll enjoy it as much as a fan would and you definitely won’t get the Easter Eggs.
This is absolutely the definition of a ‘for-the-fans, guilty pleasure, cheese-fest with a side of cliché’ book and I can unashamedly say, as a massive fan of FNAF, that I am looking forward to the next book in the series, The Twisted Ones. (Even though Breed-Wrisley is ‘helping’ to write this one too.)
“To her he was still mythic, still larger than life, still the man who could deactivate monsters. He was also the man who made them.”
[PLEASE NOTE]: I was not paid or sponsored to write this review – all the opinions are honest and my own.