Monster Blood II
Series number: 18
Number of pages: 121
Release date: April 1994
Tagline: He’s one hungry hamster!
Did I Read It as a Child?: No
The Story On the Back
Evan Ross can’t stop thinking about Monster Blood and what happened last summer. It was so horrible. So terrifying. Too bad Evan’s science teacher doesn’t believe him. Now he’s stuck cleaning out the hamster’s cage as punishment for making up stories. Then Evan’s friend Andy comes to town, and things go from bad to worse. Because Andy’s got a present for Evan. It’s green and slimy and it’s starting to grow…
The Story On the Pages
I’ve already covered Monster Blood III & IV so I assume you already except the worse out of this mini-series within the bigger Goosebumps series, right? Alright good. Because the second book of the quadrilogy is terrible as well!
Let’s just go ahead and get this over with, shall we?
This story takes place in Evan’s new school where he’s a social outcast. Why is he a social outcast? Because he was an idiot and told everyone about his experiences with Monster Blood during the summer. Of course no one believes him. Now Evan has no friends, is picking fights with teachers because of his frustrations, and is this close* to shooting up the place. I mean, that’s not said in the narrative, but he fits the profile.
Enter Andy, who Evan befriended in the first book and has coincidental been around since, and who is the only other witness to the Monster Blood fiasco. She’s staying in Atlanta for a year because her parents are overseas. Like everything else about Andy, she’s coincidentally brought the empty can of Monster Blood from their first experience with the stuff.
When Evan opens it to… relive the horrors of the first book, I guess, he discovers it’s half full because there must have been a speck left over from last time. Here’s the thing about last time, the goop was cursed with magic to grow. When the curser bit the dust, so did the magic. The Monster Blood should be worthless slime now.
But it’s not. Goody. Let the pranks begin. Because of course that’s what Andy wants to do! That teacher that Evan picks fights with? He makes Evan stay after school each day to clean out Cuddles’ science room hamster cage. Andy suggests they feed some Monster Blood to the hamster to make it grow. Evan says no, but Andy does it anyways.
For the last bit of the book (because so little happens I just summarized 85% of the story above) Cuddles the hamster gets big, starts getting aggressive, and Evan is forced to also eat some Monster Blood so he’ll grow and he can wrestle the hamster into submission.
This is America. Why they didn’t just shoot the fucking thing in the face I’ll never know.
But Evan eats some slime, gets big, and they wrestle. Just as it looks like Cuddles is going to bite Evan’s head off, they both shrink back to normal size. Why? The Monster Blood expired right that very day. And unlike the expiration on dairy products, apparently it was spot on down to the hour for Monster Blood!
Monster Blood II ends with Andy receiving some German Monster Blood in the mail from her parents and Evan being given Cuddles as a thank you for stopping his rampage. Well guess what happens? Cuddles ends up eating some of the fresh Monster Blood. The story thankfully ends before we find out if he got big again. And we all know that Cuddles is never mentioned again because the next two books in this mini-series have already been dealt with.
So there, dear readers, is a small mercy for you.
Rolling over from the first Monster Blood, and then through the last two Monster Blood books, are Evan and Andy, the two twelve year olds who first meet when Evan was sent to stay with a great aunt and Andy happened to live nearby. In the first book, we learned Evan had red hair and Andy was a girl who loved bright colours. We don’t even get the hair colour reveal in this sequel. Did Andy dye her hair bright blue since we last met? We’ll never know! So I guess Stine wants you to read the first book to know what Evan and Andy look like at all.
That raises the question of why the continuity of the Monster Blood itself is wrong if Stine wants a direct sequel, but I digress.
Between the two of them, both know how dangerous Monster Blood can be but neither applies their discretion when dealing with it now. Evan wants to get rid of the Monster Blood by burying it in a poorly dug hole but Andy wants to feed it to a hamster. That goes in exactly the direction you’d expect it to. But it does prove that twelve year olds are the worst.
Now, speaking of that hamster. It belongs to the science teacher Mister Murphy. And this teacher? Way too into his hamster. Ridiculously into his hamster. Isn’t this how those rumours about Richard Gere started? Anyways, Mister Murphy is the teacher who Evan picks fights with and his punishment is to clean Cuddles’ cage.
There’s about as much to Murphy and Cuddles as there is to Evan and Andy. Until Cuddles eats some Monster Blood and grows to be big enough to pose a threat to people. Then this book really takes out the stops and really develops Evan’s character in this life or death situation.
Except not really. That’s a lie. Evan makes another terrible decision and eats some Monster Blood to wrestle the hamster. Then they both shrink. Then it ends until Monster Blood III where he’ll make all the same terrible decisions again. But this time without a hamster.
Take that as you will.
Spooks and Scares
The very obvious pattern with the sequels within the original Goosebumps series is that they’re awful. And not just awful in the sense that the first Monster Blood didn’t do it for me either so I’m being overtly cruel to the sequels. No, reading these books is an exercise in futility! The characters are the same, the enemy is the same, and continuity from the first book doesn’t even follow us to this one!
See, in the first Monster Blood the titular substance was just some store brand crazy slime that had been cursed by a witch to become an ever expanding blob of doom. At the end of the story, the witch is defeated and the novelty toy goes back to being just that. But here in Monster Blood II the slime just seems to have magical properties of growth all on its own.
Because that’s what was “scary” about the first book? Or is it because the publisher wanted a new Goosebumps book every three weeks so Stine had to pull some of these out of his ass without giving them the due attention that stories like The Headless Ghost or Werewolf Skin got? That’s it, yeah? The first one was sort of entertaining so Stine ignored his own universe to bring it back.
And what comes back is not scary. The tensest part of this book was the scene where Andy and Evan break into someone’s house and nearly get caught. Shouldn’t the suspense of this story come from something the Monster Blood is doing? Shouldn’t the Monster Blood do a single goddamn thing?!
Oh, forgive me. The Monster Blood does do something. It gets fed to Cuddles the hamster and he grows to a monster hamster. Which isn’t that impressive. A monster hamster is like, a capybara in real life. Those things aren’t scary, why would a giant Cuddles the hamster be scary?
Could we have gotten perhaps a kaiju hamster monster? Something big enough to take down buildings and terrorize the people of Japan? You ain’t shit as a giant, mutated animal until you can terrorize the people of Japan!