Dread X Book Club: The Silver Eyes is Weird
I shouldn’t be allowed to make decisions. A few weeks ago I was talking to fellow writer Sam G about video game novelizations. I have quite a bit of experience in that area. Sam suggested I read all the Five Nights at Freddy’s books. There are roughly one billion of them unofficially. As far as official, narrative novels go, there are only three. Over the next few weeks, I’ll be talking at you about them, and how I feel about them. Today it’s all about Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes.
Five Night’s at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes, is the first novel in a trilogy. Written by Scott Cawthon and Kira Breed-Wrisely, these novels were monstrously popular at release. Never mind recent news about Cawthon, these books are low-key bangers. I mean, they’re not going up in the pantheon of excellent horror fiction, but they’re an okay Sunday afternoon read. The Silver Eyes is a simple but baffling premise. A group of teens returns to their hometown and end up confronting a mysterious event that happened in their past. Spooky stuff.
SPOILERS BELOW! The rest of this piece is just me spoiling the entirety of Five Nights at Freddy’s: The Silver Eyes
Scott Cawthon has gone on record saying the books are in a separate canon from the games. That really means that these novels act as kind of a Marvels What If… of Five Nights at Freddy’s lore. Let me set the scene for you. It’s 1995, in Hurricane, Utah. Charlotte is returning to the town for the launch of a scholarship in her old friend Michael Brooks’ name. You’re not really told going in how Michael died in the beginning. It’s kept shadowy and mysterious to keep you turning those pages. Charlotte goes by “Charlie” in the book, and that’s what I’ll be calling her here as well.
Charlie’s father Henry was the man behind the sick animatronics at Freddy’s. When Michael went missing mysteriously, along with a few other kids, the blame is placed on Henry. He kills himself. It doesn’t go much deeper than that until the later books, and we’ll be discussing those.
Charlie meets up with some friends that didn’t die in 1985: Carlton, John, and Jessica. They all meet up to eat, and after vaguely referring to the events that may have happened at a certain pizzeria, they decide to go back to the scene of the crime, as it were. One thing to note is that these characters are all 17. The book can’t decide what age they are. Passages like this, “She was loath to share a room with Jessica, who now seemed like a stranger. Jessica had become the kind of girl who intimidated her: polished and immaculate, speaking as though she had everything in life figured out“.
The book does this often. It jumps between “oh woe is me we’re just dumb kids” and “I can’t believe I don’t have my life planned out at 17”. It’s jarring. The book cannot decide if it’s about kids or adults. Either way, the gang heads to the location of Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza. They let out a sigh of relief when they find a mall has been built in its place. They enter the mall under construction because….? Maybe they go in because they wanna do crimes? I’m not sure. Once inside, they’re chased by a security guard and inadvertently run into *gasp* Freddy Fazbear’s Pizza! The mall has been built around it. It’s walled-off, but they get in and see that it’s been preserved exactly as it was when they were kids. This part of The Silver Eyes bothers me. I know it’s explained later, but it’s a weird setup.
They start goofing around and Charlie runs into Foxy the pirate, an animatronic that scared her as a child. She suffers a flashback to her dad’s original restaurant, Fredbear’s Family Diner. The original diner had yellow, early versions of the animatronics Bonnie the rabbit and Freddy the bear. An investigation is undertaken where it’s revealed that Charlie’s twin brother Sammy had been kidnapped by someone in a yellow Bonnie costume. The group heads back to Freddy’s in the mall to continue their investigation. They enlist the help of the security guard they ran from before. His name is Dave. It will only be Dave for a couple of chapters.
It turns out that Dave is the secret co-founder of the Freddy’s restaurants. He was murdering kids, aided by a spring-locked bonnie suit. He kidnaps Carlton and gets the police involved. When he is eventually captured he lets the truth out. It’s probably the weirdest twist in a book I’ve ever seen. The animatronics are chock-full of the souls of dead children. They (the kids’ souls) are indiscriminate killers and chase the gang around the restaurant. Eventually, the yellow Freddy suit from Fredbear’s Family Diner shows up. It is inhabited by the soul of Michael, the missing kid that kicked off this whole series. The other animatronics respect the yellow Freddy? I’m not sure how that works. I’m actually not sure how any of it works. I’ve read all the books and I still don’t get a lot of it.
With the animatronics neutralized, the police chief (Carlton’s dad, for the curious) busts through the wall of the pizzeria with a sledgehammer. Before the teens can escape, Michael Afton attacks Charlie. She engages the spring locks on the Bonnie suit he’s wearing, brutally killing him. The animatronics then drag his dead body away. What? The stories only get weirder from here folks. Next week we’ll be looking at the sequel, The Twisted Ones. Until then, keep an eye out for suspicious animatronics. If you want to read this bonkers series yourself, you can find it HERE.